Itty Bittys about our week

    My masculinity is at stake by considering using the “Itty Bittys” headline, but I’ve loved it since Gretchen began using it as a side bar heading on her blog.  It is descriptive and much better than the vogueish “news flashes”.  To heck with it — I’ll use it.  Just once.

    Enjoying a beautiful Friday afternoon at our favorite Mexican restaurant

    We’ve had a good week, capped by a nice meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant Tijuana Joe’s.  Food was palatable, company was great, and the weather was divine — even for a mid-March day in Atlanta at the beginning of March Madness.  Try saying that three times after several margaritas.

    Our week had its ups and its downs.  It started off on an up note (see the “miracles” post), but then began to trend downward as Jan experienced a general lack of energy and stomach discomfort for several days.  She was disappointed at the turn and by Thursday was beginning to question the whole treatment regimen (right Claire?).  Fortunately things turned today.  The cold rainy weather turned bright, clear, and warm and our patient was able to sit comfortably outside and read most of the day.  Starbucks-lust got the best of her mid-afternoon and she headed there for a caffeine fix and more sunshine prior to joining me for dinner at TJ’s.

    The week also had its light moments (which is what prompted the use of the headline).  Jan has a propensity for collecting nails in her car’s tires.  I’ve regularly accused her of being a “nail magnet” as I removed, plugged, and re-installed tires.  Been driving on construction sites, eh?  Driving around parking lots looking for nails?  OK, more than accused; how do you spell maligned?

    Page 2.  Her car gets lots better gas mileage than the 15 passenger Club Wagon I drive and she has not been driving much, so I’ve been driving it to the grocery store, doctor visits, and the odd meeting.  Tuesday night when I arrived at the NFARL meeting (the ham radio club in which I am active) I looked down & there was a nail in her tire.   I haven’t picked up a nail in 20 years so it must be her nail.  She drove the car once last week so the car was obviously booby (no pun intended) trapped.  Needless to say, I got little sympathy when I got home.  Once again I was in the garage removing, plugging, and re-installing her tire.  Jan is still giggling.

    The weekend is going to be nice — nice weather, nice attitudes, nice family time.  Hope yours is nice too.

    It’s like a miracle …

    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were rather crummy days for Jan.  She didn’t eat a lot Friday and Saturday due to mild stomach discomfort and general weakness (expected side-effects of the chemo treatments).  She slept most of both days.  Julie came by Saturday to spend time with her Mom, and she and I had a very nice lunch and visit before she released me to suffer through the Tennessee / Kentucky game while she & Mom visited.  Kentucky was awesome, as was their visit.

    Today Jan’s appetite is returning, and we’re struggling to find things that taste good.  After a few false starts, stove top chicken dressing and a rotisserie chicken hit the spot and she consumed a good dinner.  Shortly after the dinner, things started to come around and she is feeling much better.  According to her, it is like a miracle!!  Hooray!!

    The experiences of the past several days have us thankful for the great medical resources available to Jan, and the family and friends who buoy us up when we’re looking at the less-than-good side of this journey Jan and I are on.  Thanks for your support.

    The day after …

    Fox News Poster Girl!!

    Jan had her fourth infusion session yesterday.  This was a session in which she received all three medications and from which she can expect some negative side effects — but as James was quick to point out, it also means that we’re at two down and four to go!!

    She slept most of yesterday afternoon after we returned from the infusion center.  I think she had worried about the session a lot and not slept well several days before the session.  Today she has had a pretty good day.  A bit draggy & tired, but feeling OK.  I expect this will last through the weekend if the last cycle is a good model.

    The pace of hair loss is increasing, but wig, hats, and scarves are at hand when she is ready to venture out.  She is comfortable with her appearance in them around family and close friends, but not yet with the general public.  We’ll hang close to  home for a few days and let her build up her strength and comfort with the head coverings.  Fortunately it rained today, and is expected to do so tomorrow as well.  Good weather for indoor activities like naps, reading, and taxes.

    We love cancer success stories and were heartened today to learn that good friend Bob Adams, also a cancer patient, was declared in remission by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  Bob, if you are reading this, congratulations to you and Connie!!  You continue in our thoughts.

    A beautiful week!

    This has been a marvelous week for both of us.  Jan felt great all week, and we were able to enjoy good time together with less interference from her illness.  The weather is finally beginning to show signs of springtime, and the anticipation of warmer weather and dirty hands from planting a few colorful flowers helped put us both in a good mood.

    The trauma of the week was proactively addressing Jan’s hair.  We expect that it will begin to fall out mid to late next week after her fourth infusion session (one of the sessions in which all three chemicals will be infused), so Friday she had it cut to about 1/4″, had her wig styled, and selected a number of hats and scarves for daily wear.  Her wig style is very close to the hair style she wore a dozen + years ago — fuller than her recent style — and I think it looks really really great.  She is still adjusting to the cut’s fullness, and left the door open to go back & have it trimmed a bit, but I hope she leaves it like it is.  The hats and scarves are really cute too and nicely complement her wardrobe.

    Anticipating the first showing of her new look was trying for Jan, but she could not have had a better audience.  Niece Christy, whom we have not seen in several years, laid over in Atlanta with James and Gretchen en route to spring break in Costa Rica.  The family congregated several times to visit with Christy … and preview Mom’s new look.  It was very well received.

    We will spend tomorrow preparing for Tuesday’s infusion session.

    End of Week 2

    Jan’s week since her second infusion has been the best since mid-December.  She has had no side effects from the dose of Herceptin infused last Tuesday and is beginning to regain her jovial spirit.

    The week has been busy.  She ventured out alone for the first time in at least six weeks (I swear I heard bits of MLK’s “Free at Last” as she departed).  Carol Silva dropped by to visit and deliver armloads of healthy foods.  Gretchen’s Mom Lynne D’Huyvetter, a 15 year cancer survivor, carved a lengthy visit out of her busy schedule and shared her strength, experiences and wisdom on handling the disease with Jan.  We’ve selected a “cranial prosthesis” in anticipation of Jan’s hair loss.  We’ve taken a walk by the river, and we’ve ventured to the gym for a light workout.  Sunday we spent some time being entertained by Ian and his parents.

    As we’ve gone through the week, we are learning that Jan’s energy levels drop late afternoon.  Consequently we’re scheduling social outings at mid-day instead of evenings.  We also tend to avoid large public gatherings given her reduced resistance caused by the infusions.

    Tomorrow Jan and Gretchen are attending a presentation by Cookie Aftergut and her Chemoflage organization.  Cookie is a cancer survivor and puts on the sessions to teach others to deal with the disease.  After the session, Jan will head back to Dr. Austin’s office and receive her third infusion.  It will contain Herceptin only, so we are expecting next week to be another good week.

    We appreciate all who have called and / or sent notes to Jan.  She checks email regularly and enjoys hearing from all of you.  Your contacts help maintain her spirits as she prepares for the March 9 session — the next session in which she will receive all three drugs.  You can reach her at janet1025 at gmail dot com.

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