Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
However, the Madera Management Company office Christmas party traveled to Fresno and we had a festive exchange outside the Saint Agnes Medical Center emergency room.
Sue did her very best to take out the electric service boxes that control the lights at the First and Herndon intersection. She got the first one good, but the second box was a little instransigent; It turned out to be on a concrete base. Sue's car smells like gunpowder now from the driver's side air bag deployment. The car also looks a little shorter today than it did yesterday. And a little dehydrated.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
A month ago Sue had scheduled a routine follow-up exam with Dr. Wolf for Friday, December 11. It turned out to not be routine. About a week ago Sue started experiencing pain in her lower back again. By Thursday night Sue was experiencing extreme pain in her lower back and increased neuropathy pain and weakness in all four extremities (feet and hands). She was discouraged, in a lot of pain, and emotionally wrought.
Until recently Sue had been doing very well, so I booked one of our favorite Christmas vacation spots, the Grand Hyatt at Union Square. Union Square at Christmas is usually festive. This weekend it was rainy and cold. While we managed to squeeze in a nice late dinner Thursday night with David Carico and his friend, Rhonda, at Zuni's Cafe on Market Street, Sue was uncomfortable the whole evening. Sue did not sleep much on Thursday night. She paced around and cried a lot. Some of the crying was from the pain, and some was from the emotional stuff, mostly unspoken and inferred by me: Why me? Why now? I was getting better. I was planning to go back to work in January and get back on with my life. I can't keep doing this. It isn't fair.
So on Friday she was also quite exhausted, both physically and emotionally. As we sat in the exam room at 500 Parnasus, waiting for Dr. Wolf, a young woman walked by with an older man. Normally the exam room doors are closed, but this time it was open. The young woman looked at Sue, stopped, backed up, approached the room and said, to Sue, "You're my oh my myeloma, aren't you?" My Oh My Myeloma is Sue's blog "handle." The young lady, I'll call her "SFL" for San Francisco Lady, had recognized Sue from her blog. SFL had been reading myeloma blogs because her father had been diagnosed with myeloma. SFL's father had a stem cell transplant at UCSF just after Sue had hers, and so Sue's blog (and mine) about her STC experience was of particular interest to SFL. SFL's father doesn't speak english, so she has been his primary assistant through all of his medical treatments.
Sue was delighted and encouraged by our brief encounter with SFL and her father. We had but the briefest hint of the struggles SFL was going through. She was in college at another UC campus, she'd said, and it was hard for her to concentrate on her studies. Further, she really didn't have anyone to talk to about her situation. SFL is from a private family and from a private culture where talking about such things is not usual. Just the day before she had decided to start a blog.
We have been extremely blessed by the many caring friends we've encountered on Sue's cancer journey. Our blogs have brought us in contact with many good people outside our normal circles. We've developed friends and prayer partners throughout the world. You blog readers have been a community for us.
Sometimes when you are knocked down you think thoughts like, "I'm broken. My life is over. What good am I?" There are times of experiencing sadness and loss. We had prayed for God to show us what good could come from Sue's cancer experience, that is, what good we could do.
We don't think our encounter with SFL was a chance encounter. We think it was an answer to our prayer. SFL's blog is titled: A Daughter's Perspective, and can be found at:
I invite you to read SFL's blog and then to join Sue and me in being in community with her. I specifically invite you to pray for SFL and her family.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
While she still has some healing to do, Sue's better now, and there's not much to write about on this blog. She's very much alive, and this blog is dead. I got hooked on blogging, though, so I'm starting a new blog called The Fisher's Line. And if you care to read it, it can be found here:
I thank you all for following this blog, and especially for your prayers and concern for Sue and our family. I've enjoyed getting to know some of you better through your comments and by following your blogs.
If you have been reading this blog because you have cancer, or because someone you know has cancer -- particularly multiple myeloma, and you want to know how all this ends -- or if you are concerned that Sue's cancer may kick up again -- in which case I'll probably start blogging about it here, you can either click the "Follow" button at the top of this page (if you are a member and if you are logged in), or the "Subscribe To" button at the bottom of this page, to be advised of any future posts. Remember, though, no news is good news on a cancer blog.
If you wish to dialogue with me about your cancer, or about our experience with Sue's cancer or her treatments, or any other subject of interest to you, please feel free to email me at:
For now, like Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby in their famous song (click the link for the song), I'm Gone Fishin'.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The 1947 broadway play, Finian’s Rainbow, is playing again on Broadway. The show features a song called Look To The Rainbow which features this chorus: “Look, look, look to the rainbow. Follow it over the hill and the stream. Look, look, look to the rainbow. Follow the fellow who follows a dream.” (I believe it's author, Edgar Harburg, also penned Somewhere Over The Rainbow.)
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Usually, though not always, there is another way. But what constitutes a better way? One that's less risky? Shorter? Easier? More scenic? More memorable? Usually the easier way is less risky, but also less scenic and less memorable. Sometimes you really don't know which way will be better, and once you pick one route over the other(and unless you later traverse the other route) you may never know whether the choice you made was the best choice.
People, like Sue, who are faced with life-threatening medical conditions are often faced with this question. Sue and I had to decide whether a stem cell transplant was the best way. There were alternative routes. But once we chose that STC trail, or at least once we were committed to it, there was no turning back.
It's been a hard trail -- especially for Sue. For a while there she was hecka sick, and majorly distraught and discouraged. But it's been a memorable trail (though there are parts of it that Sue doesn't remember). The big ups and downs, great victories, the high mountain passes, as well as the big valleys, the hardships and trials, tend to etch their circumstances into our memories. The hard trails are like that. The unusual trails are like that. And this has been the most unusual trail of our lives so far.
Did we choose the best route? Would Sue have been just as well off, or even better off, if we had not chosen the STC trail? We'll never know. All we know now is, this is the trail we chose; this is the trail we're on. So we're making the best of it.
Oh sure, like every hike we've been on, there's been pain and irritation. The pain of sore muscles, tired feet, blisters. The pesky mosquitoes and gnats that dog you on the trail. The tiredness at the end of the day, hoping the climb will end, hoping the day's campsite will appear so we can throw down our packs and rest. But we're waking up every day and giving thanks for another day on the trail. For another sunrise. For another scrambled egg and bacon burrito eaten over an open fire. For another breath of pure mountain air. For another beautiful vista. For the awe that fills us every time we are on the trail.
And we are thankful for our hiking companions. For each other, yes. And for each of you who have walked all or part of this trail with us.
Is there another way? Well, maybe there was. But not now.
Is there a better way? I don't think so.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
On Monday of last week I left Fresno at 6 a.m. to drive up to Huntington Lake to meet representatives from Southern California Edison and the U.S. Forest Service about taking down some hazard trees to which SCE has attached their power lines. When I hit the country roads north of Fresno with a good view of the mountains it was still dark in the valley, but a pale white light -- what we fisherman call "first light" --was creeping up behind the mountains to the east. The mountains were black, and the only thing ascertainable was the ridge line behind which, slowly, the white light began to illuminate the landscape; First giving gray form to mountains and trees previously hidden in darkness, then, by degrees, giving up details.
As I got up to Pine Ridge, about 4,500 feet in elevation, I had a good view of the foothills and valley below. Low-lying fog filled the areas between the foothills and spilled out in thin sheets across the valley. As the sun rose and the light intensified; it changed the hues of the fog from gray to white to pink to orange, giving the foggy landscape below a melancholy, soft-edged watercolor-painting look.
The temperature at Shaver Lake was 30F, and steam was rising off the surface of the water as if the lake was a huge simmering cauldron. By the time I got up to Tamarack Ridge the outside temperatures had dropped to 20F. There was a fair amount of ice on the road. Icy mountain roads can be dangerous. I slowed way down so as not to become a statistic.
Fog and cold are two things that can slow you down. And while they have the capacity to invigorate, fog and cold also have the capacity to lock you up in unmoving, frozen gridlock. Let's be dead-on honest -- fog and cold can depress you, and if you aren't careful, they can kill you.
Sue was diagnosed with her cancer around May 1, following four months of increasingly debilitating pain. She is now in her fifth month of grinding medical treatment, so this whole process of having cancer, being diagnosed and being treated is coming up on a year now. And while she has, for the most part, maintained an amazingly good attitude throughout the whole ordeal, there have been times when sadness has settled over her like a cold fog. It's understandable. It's almost inevitable, or anyway, it's common.
In Sue's case, the neuropathy has been a constant source of physical pain. At one of her recent appointments with the local oncology doctor, the doctor told Sue that her neuropathy should have resolved by now and, since it hasn't yet resolved, maybe it won't. My mom always told us kids that "honesty is the best policy," but I'm not sure that's always the case. After Sue had that appointment with her doctor, I thought I noticed more sadness than usual.
I've been depressed myself at times, and I was worried that depression may have set in on Sue. True depression is different than just being sad, and, unaddressed, it can be as dangerous as an icy mountain road. Sue denied being clinically depressed, but at my urging she did consult her doctor about it. The doctor thought her sadness was normal and didn't seem overly concerned. I don't know clinical depression from tropical depression. But I know a sad person when I see one.
People often misuse the phrase "I'm depressed" to mean they are sad about something. It's used kind of fliply. But no one wants to cop to really being depressed in the clinical sense. It seems that people are stigmatized by the idea of depression, like it is some kind of a bad thing that you have done or you are somehow defective if you get it. Recently (August 25, 2009) Scientific American ran an article titled "Depression's Evolutionary Roots" suggesting that depression is not a malfunction of the brain, but that it is actually a useful survival adaptation of the human species. The authors of the article cite research which indicates somewhere between 30 to 50 percent of people in the U.S. have at some time met the current definition of "major depressive disorder." The authors conclude: "When one considers all the evidence, depression seems less like a disorder where the brain is operating in a haphazard way, or malfunctioning. Instead, depression seems more like the vertebrate eye—an intricate, highly organized piece of machinery that performs a specific function."
On this sadness versus depression question as it pertains to Sue, and even to me, I am in a bit of a dark fog. I can see some outlines in black against the first light. And as the light is beginning to intensify, the hues of the fog we're in are changing from gray to white to pink to orange, giving the foggy situation a melancholy soft-edged watercolor-painting look.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
The days at Huntington Lake now are clear and cool, and overnight temperatures dip into the high twenties. But the big dining hall is heated and as cozy as a large community teepee. I can imagine women and girls of the long-ago tribes sitting together cross-legged in their community teepee with their leather or bead or craft projects on their laps, contentedly working and humming and carrying on the conversations of community in the native ways.
Jessica is there, too. She's almost finished a dress and is starting a new quilt. Jessica needed help putting a zipper in the dress. Sue did not have the oomph to get up and show her how to do it, so Dotty showed Jessica. That's part of the beauty of community -- the whole village chipping in to help each other, to show the way, to teach and learn, to share stories, share a laugh, share a meal, and to share each others' burdens. For Jessica they are all surrogate moms and sisters.
It will be a busy weekend, but measured. Women creating beautiful quilts, sharing lives, making memories. Tom Hunter's song "Weaving" puts it like this: "We are weaving, weaving, weaving the future from the fabric of our past." These ladies are weaving the fabric of community, and it's a crazy, durable, strong, beautiful fabric .
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We made a quick turn-around on Friday and then on Saturday morning we headed up to our small corner of heaven on earth at Huntington Lake. Sue felt pretty good all weekend and walked around a bit, visited a bit, napped a bit. Here she is inspecting the stump of one of the five trees we had professionally felled last week. This tree quite possibly will not be going to heaven. It literally has a black hole in it's heart. Maybe that's why the tree was weeping constantly. (Really, there was a constant stream of water weeping out of the tree.)
It's sad to lose a big tree like this. We're going to have it milled into lumber and, among other things, we'll be making picnic tables from the lumber to serve the guests of our cabins. You know, in some ways it's like this with people. Life sort of saws you off at the knees and you have to make adjustments to continue to be useful in some other way than you were before. It's either that or just give up and join the Harpers.
Postscript trivia: What is the difference between a "harper" and a "harpist?"
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The medication cutbacks have already resulted in Sue experiencing mild symptoms of pain (mostly the neuropathy in her lower legs and feet) and mild nausea. We are all relieved to know her confusion of late has been medication induced, and is probably not the result of a physiological problem. Our local team of caregivers will be in earnest conversation over the next weeks, together with Sue and her doctors, about setting medication levels that deal with Sue's symptoms while not sending her off on another magical mystery tour.
Meanwhile, the love is back at our house and we are all on our own Magic Bus. But that's a trip to describe another day.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
What I have discovered is that there are a lot of people who have gone through a similar situation where a loved one is in need of medical care (and medications) and the nuclear caregiver family members (plus extended family and caring friends) are in some disagreement about how the care should be done. This, coupled with an already stressed family group, various disfunctions of communication and relating and problem solving, etc., has led, in many cases, to personal pain and relationship strains.
Thank you to those who have shared some of your painful experiences with me, as well as your concerns and insights. My post was not a clarion call of distress. Actually, I read the post to both of my daughters prior to posting it. Do they agree with everything I said? No. Will they ever agree completely with me? No. Do they know that I love them and that I am proud of them both? I'm pretty sure they do. I tell that to them often and it's one of the things I say that they do agree with as reasonable on my part. Is everything hunky-dory? Not yet, but that's o.k.
Was my post intended as a public trashing of those who disagree with me? Not at all. It was intended as an honest yet somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at a real situation we faced --which apparently is similar to situations some of you have faced as well. Did I own my own shortcomings? Well, some I did. This is, after all, my blog.
By the way, we (Sue, Jessica and I) did consult the local oncology doctor this morning and she has prescribed a significant cut-back of medications. Now where did I put my own pain and sleep meds? Ciao.
This isn't to say that the food served at the UCSF medical center wasn't good. I enjoyed it tremendously. Unfortunately, Sue, the patient, could hardly eat any of it. Nausea is practically a given with patients who've had a heavy dose of Melphalan (or other toxic chemo drugs). Diarrhea is also quite common. You would think a big hospital like UCSF medical center would have a special diet specific to the STC/BMT ward. You know, something like the Cancer Brat Diet.
Anyway, Sue's eating better now that she's home. Additionally, our team of cooks is working at getting on the same sheet of music. Or is that the same cookie sheet? Talk about mixed metaphors! We're getting together in some kind of sheet.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Now if Sue were firing on all cylinders this would almost certainly not be an issue. But don't be fooled by the fact that she was discharged and is now at home; she's got a lot of recovering to do before she's firing on all cylinders. In fact we are all concerned about her mild state of confusion. What we are not in agreement about is what to do about it. (Note: We'll ask the local oncology doctor in a follow-up appointment tomorrow morning.)
The disagreements center principally around the administration of the multiple medications the various doctors have prescribed, and are exacerbated by our differences in communication styles. One of the daughters insists the meds be taken strictly according to the doctors' orders. Her take-charge approach has harkened me back to Al "I am in control here" Haig. The other daughter has inferred a sinister belief that my lack of strict adherence to the medication orders may be a subtle plan to off my wife, and/or that my failure to strictly document every medication administered by me may be a subtle plan to have my daughters off my wife by having them overmedicate her. The patient, herself, periodically wants to refuse some of the medications and insists on understanding the name and purpose of each medication -- four times a day.
During Sue's stay at the UCSF medical center, the nursing staff and doctors were fairly quick to acquiesce if the patient refused a medication. Such acquiescence is consistent with the UCSF Patients' Bill of Rights, and in particular the patient's right of "participation in decisions about treatment options, benefits, risks and alternatives including appropriate pain management." The UCSF patients' rights document states: "We respect the rights of each patient. We are aware that each patient has unique and diverse health care needs. We encourage a partnership between you and your health care team. And we encourage you or your designated representative to participate in discussions and decisions about your care, options, alternatives, risks and benefits."
Note here that "designated representative" in the last sentence above is in the singular, and the right of participation is offered to "you or your designated representative." Imagine the fiasco if our "team" tried to participate with the health care team at the hospital (or locally) in discussions and decisions about Sue's care. I am pretty sure that "designated representative" refers to the patient's designated agent for making health care decisions in the event the patient is incapable of making her own decisions. In Sue's case, that would be me. But it points out one of the important reasons for making a thoughtful Advanced Health Care Directive (Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions) before undergoing significant medical procedures. Well, really, you should make one in any case -- just in case. Who knows when you, or your well-meaning "too many cooks" team might need it?
I leave you with these questions: 1. Are doctors gods whose pronouncements are universally what is best for the patient? 2. Are pharmacological solutions always (or only) the best way to heal? 3. Who should be in charge of making medical decisions if the patient is lacking mental competence? 4. In the continuum between total pain and total incoherence (and assuming the pain medication is the cause or a significant cause of the incoherence), what is the most appropriate level of pain medication?
[Postscript to my several pre SCT blog readers: You will not be out of the woods when you get discharged from the hospital, and you will not be back to normal. Sue pressed for and received an early discharge, but irrespective of when you are discharged you will need a lot of support at home. This will be particularly true if you develop mental confusion or cognitive lapses, which I am learning are fairly common post SCT -- and which are compounded by the medications which will be prescribed for you. In any event, you will need assistance with administration of your daily needs, including medications, food preparation, shopping, cleaning, transportation to follow-up medical appointments etc. Oh, and be sure to prepare an Advanced Health Care Directive.]
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thankfully Sue has lots of good friend support here. Nurse Debbie came over the morning after we got home and "organized" the medications. Neighbor Cindy took Sue to get her blood tested this morning. Nurse Debbie took Sue to an appointment with the local oncologist this afternoon. Jessica and Valerie have been supportive and attentive to their mom, who is very, very happy to be with them. Lots and lots of people are on standby to help, and Jessica will get them organized. Yes she will.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The Yelamu Indians once occupied the area now known as San Francisco. The Yelamu were one of approximately 50 tribes of Indians known collectively as the Ohlone tribes. The Yelamu territory included the area known today as Crissy Field, the place I’ve been jogging. They lived and thrived here in harmony with nature for several thousand years before the Spanish colonists arrived in 1769. Then, in less than 100 years the Yelamu became extinct.
Adam Johnston, an Indian Agent during the westward expansion of the United States, took it upon himself to interview a number of Indians from the disappearing tribes. In 1850, the year California became a state, Johnston interviewed Pedro Alcantara, the last known Yelamu. Alcantara was born as a Mission Indian (the Mission now known as Mission Dolores) in 1780. At the time of the interview, Alcantara was 70 years old. Here’s some of what he said:
“I am very old. … My people were once like the sands of the shore … many … many. They have all passed away. They have died like the grass … they have gone to the mountains. I do not complain. The antelope falls with the arrow. I had a son. I loved him. When the palefaces came he went away. I do not know where he is. I am a Christian Indian. I am all that is left of my people. I am alone.”
We too, Sue and I, are leaving this land of the Yelamu today. Hasta la vista, Yerba Buena. Sue is being discharged today. We are going to the mountains.
P.S. Sue's numbers today have gone through the roof. Her WBC jumped from 4.6 yesterday to 11.2. Her ANC jumped from 4.3 yesterday to 9.96. One of the criteria for discharge from this hospital is if you have an ANC count of 1.5 or more for three consecutive days, or if you hold an ANC of 5 or more for one full day.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Sue was remarkably upbeat today about the haircut. She felt much better today than yesterday. Her numbers were so good the medical staff thought there was a mistake, and they re-ran them. Her white blood count (WBC) went from .2 two days ago to .9 yesterday to 4.6 today! Her absolute neutrophil count (ANC -- the important one) jumped from .59 yesterday to 4.03 today! The afternoon tests confirmed these fantastic results.
At .59 ANC yesterday Sue was no longer neutropenic in the dangerous sense (less than .5). Today Sue is not neutropenic in any sense (neutropenia being, by definition, an ANC of less than 1.5). So mask precautions are done. Boy is Dr. Woof glad.
Thank you all for your continuing prayers and moral support. A heavy load has been lifted from Sue's head (heh heh heh). I think I'm going to start calling her the "hairless chi-mama."
Saturday, September 12, 2009
We rode downtown on the N Judah. The conductor stopped the train in one of the underground tunnels and we were stuck there for about a half hour. Some drunk guy had wandered into the tunnel and fallen asleep right by the tracks. It took about 25 police officers and MUNI officials to sort it out. Meanwhile, they shut down the N Judah, so we had to walk to the nearest MUNI station and get on a different MUNI to get to Powell Street (Union Square).
It was a nice father-daughter outing. We went into the big shopping mall on Market (something Plaza, I can never remember the name of the place even though I've been there a dozen times) and bought a few things: some Vera Bradley note cards for Sue (in case she ever feels well enough to write some notes); some scented Bath and Body Works hand gels (mmmm, nectarine mint, my favorite).
There are a lot of stores selling a lot of pretty and shiny new things in San Francisco. There are also a lot of people here who can afford all that stuff. Pretty people dressed to the nines. People who drive B-Mers (BMWs), Lexuses and Mercedes Benzes. On the other hand, there are a lot of homeless and down and out people who can't afford a cup of coffee. Well, the good kind of coffee, anyway. You know, the kind Bruce Porter insists on having. The kind of which there's a plethora in the City.
You see these down and out people all over. At night or in the morning, and sometimes during the day, you see them rolled up in blankets on the sidewalk, blocking the doorways to stores and houses, sitting or sleeping in the parks. You see them coming into and out of the emergency room at the UCSF medical center in ambulances with their grubby, bearded, unwashed faces and their ragged clothes. Wow, such a contrast between the haves and have nots.
There was a pretty good thunder storm here last night, and a fair amount of rain. We're still getting some rain today. I'm sure the rain is a hard thing for the homeless people to deal with. But it washed the City down, watered all the plants, refreshed and renewed the City.
It's a mystery how, even amidst the glitz and allure of non-life-giving things, and amidst the decay of live's gone astray, and amidst the decaying and water starved land, and amidst those who are suffering from chronic illnesses and conditions, God is constantly making things new again -- refreshing, restoring, filling us up with pure, life sustaining water.
Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
P.S. Sue isn't feeling as good today as she did yesterday or the day before. But her numbers are up considerably. Her white blood count jumped from .2 to .9. Her ANC jumped from .1 two days ago (no measurement from yesterday) to .59 today!!! This means she is no longer in the critically neutropenic stage (ANC below .5). Indeed, He does make all things new, though we don't always understand the process.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The fog was heavy at the entrance to the bay, and all night long the fog horn was going off. Think of a loud nasal base monotone: Bouououououou. (short pause, then:) Bououououou. I've grown accustomed to it and it's comforting. It bothered Jessica a little.
So in the morning I told her the poem the dean of my law school recited to the first year law students while we sat in an assembled and numb mass near the beginning of that multi-year ordeal. I've remembered it from that first recitation. It goes like this:
Light house, him no good.
Him flash lights,
Him sound horn,
But still the fog comes.
Dean Schraber likened the light house to the professors, and said they will do their best to flash their lights and sound their horns and lead us to knowledge of the law, but to be sure, the fog will come upon us. But he encouraged us, as well. The fog will lift, and we will clearly see what was once hidden.
The fog of desperation seems to have been lifted off of Sue. Her visit with Jessica today was a great encouragement. She's been feeling much better and sleeping better. Debbie Friesen is coming for a visit tomorrow, and Sue is looking forward to that. "Visiting" hour upon hour with a husband is o.k., but a visit from a lady friend has a certain appeal to a woman. Debbie's visit appeals to me as well, because during her visit with Sue, Dave Friesen, Matt Friesen and I will attend the Giants vs. Dodgers baseball game. Goooo Giants! (Did I just say that when I know there are some Dodger fans reading this blog? Oh well, the Dodgers beat the Giants up yesterday. I'm not a rabid fan, but hey, this is San Francisco.)
So I won't say that Sue is happy, but I can say with assurance that she is happier. Her smile is back, though not yet constant. Bououououou. Bououououou. I think I see the sun peeking through that fog.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Having been woken up repeatedly the night before by Sue's desperate calls for me to come and get her out of the hospital, and having gotten up at 4 a.m. to get down here to just be here for her and do what I could, I was tired. Well, o.k., nearly exhausted. I figured if I didn't get a good night's sleep I was a candidate for a cold, which would render me unfit to even come onto the floor at 11 Long, much less be a physical or emotional support for Sue.
The night started badly, with multiple interruptions from medical staff, housekeepers etc. Sue was also restless, nauseous, etc. and unable to sleep. I was trying without success to sleep on a conglomeration of two uncomfortable chairs. I figured I was doomed. I figured we were both doomed. I prayed for sleep and renewal and protection from sickness. Then, mercifully, peace came over the room and both Sue and I were able to sleep. I woke up at 6 a.m. refreshed and renewed.
Because of the preceding three days of nausea and diarrhea, the medical staff required that Sue's True Blue quilt be laundered again. I took the opportunity to do all of her laundry, and mine as well. While I was at David's apartment picking up my dirty laundry, I figured it would be well to get in a little jog. I wanted to put my hands on Hopper's Hands because I felt like I had figuratively been part of an effort to keep Sue from a suicidal "jump" from the hospital bridge while neutropenic.
The jog turned out to be a good idea. It was a beautiful sunny day in the City, with blue skies and sunshine covering the inner Bay and a low fog sneaking in under the Golden Gate Bridge, just under the famous orange suspended roadway, and then dissipating. As I jogged along the path above the beach at Crissy Field, this verse came to me: Isaiah 40:31 "... but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
I did grow weary, though, jogging into the headwind blowing into the bay from the Pacific. It made me think of the Tour de France, and how the riders form a peleton to cut the wind and preserve their energy. The peleton riders do all the heavy work for the star riders, so that, at the end of the race, the stars have the energy to dash away to the finish and claim victory. I got choked up thinking about how all of you who have supported Sue through her previous chemo treatments and medical appointments and who have supported her physically and emotionally and spiritually to this point, and who continue to support her, have been my peleton. Now, like Lance Armstrong, I am ready to charge up the final hill and claim the victory.
Except it wasn't Lance Armstrong who claimed the victory in the recent Tour de France. It was his teammate, Alberto Contador, who won. And I am like all of you, just part of the peleton for Sue, cutting wind and preparing the way for her to claim the victory over this cancer. We're a mighty good team and I'm proud to be working with you.
P.S. This has been a much better day for Sue. I think she's turning the corner. Keep up the prayer work, peleton people!!!