Preparing for Cycle 5

This past week, we joined a zoom with 8 other Leukemia Patients in an MD Anderson support group. It was enlightening and scary at the same time. The common theme with everyone was the disruption to life. All are current patients, and some were zoomed in from their hospital room or waiting room. It is hard not to have tears as everyone has stories to tell.

One woman was asking a lot of questions and you could tell she was scared for what her treatments would hold. Calmly and supportively, everyone offered some bit of advice or clarity to ease her mind some. She was a fighter for sure. She still has grandbabies to see and raise. Others were at different points in their treatment including after the cycles and in stem-cell treatment.

We are still unclear if Michele will need stem-cell treatments. To be very frank with you, their stories raised some hair on the back of my neck at the impact it has on the patient. One patient was clear about it ZEROING out all the blood numbers so the body can GRAFT the new cells and hope that it takes. 3 or more months of 24/7 watch as the immune system is REBOOTED after treatments.

It always makes me wonder how anyone came up with such innovative thoughts that can keep patients alive and moving.

Still not feeling right

Thursday, March 17, 2022, will be the start date for the next in-patient cycle. At least that is what we believe now. Michele meets with our doctor and that usually leads to admission for the next round. We have learned to pack the bag for “Doctor Days”. Michele is still not feeling completely well from the last cycle. There is still the Nausea daily and as she put it… “I feel off”.

She has done an excellent job of staying connected with clients the last few days. True to form, she was #3 on sales numbers for the week in our reporting team. What is different from the last couple of months is that she is more fatigued. We have been getting in a couple of walks as the weather is decent right now. Those walks lead her to being in bed and asleep by 9:00.

I am not as scared this week as I have been the previous weeks for her. I am reminded by the nurses that something as simple as a hard bump into something can cause bleeding which can be fatal. So… still scared most days.

Little things make her happy

When you spend so much time in the house that you have lived in for 20 years, you notice things that need to fixed/repaired or replaced. We have this little swing in the garden. The fabric cover had long been gone and the cushions were very faded from the sun. We took a few hours to go to the store and shop for some new floor mats for our entrance and in hopes of getting some new cushions that would work. It became evident that the cushions would be as expensive as just buying a new swing.

She loves a good deal. Walmart delivered figuratively and literally. By noon today we had a new swing in a box on the front porch. We found something close to what we had on clearance and in a couple of hours, I had it set up and we had a chance to sit and enjoy it for a few minutes. It warms my soul to see her sitting on the new swing.

We also made tremendous progress on cleaning out her home office of clutter (like folders with insurance leads from 2008!). I have real problems… like trash cans too full, so we must store the excess till the next trash day! We worked so non-stop over the years. The little things like a clean desk with no boxes stacked around are incredibly freeing.

Back to Cancer

The road ahead for us is a long one. We have 5 cycles left to the initial treatments. We talked to a couple from Louisiana that has an apartment here for their visits. We are fortunate to live 45 minutes from the medical center. The couple made us laugh. Do you know what the MD in MD Anderson stands for? Make it a day.

We are glad the 3 times a week we go for blood work is typically over by noon. We know at least 2-3 times each cycle we are there from 8am till 9pm to get platelets and blood. We are fortunate to have friends that will volunteer to take her for some of these days. Our journey is not 6 months. It is years. We are marking time right now by cycles. We are fully aware that 2-3 years from now we will be sitting in the waiting room, chatting with a new patient, and giving them as much hope as can be transferred.

Return to normal? I don’t know when that may be. We are hoping to be able to make our company trip to Mexico in June. I have in my mind that we will be sitting around in the sun, having a few drinks, splashing around in the pool. I want that to be true. If you remember the PICC line. It is basically a tube sticking out of her arm that goes into an Artery to deliver the rounds of chemo. This little device will be with us in Mexico.

Two challenges: 1) we must keep the dressing dry and 2) the dressing needs to be replaced every 7 days. I am busy researching any waterproof covers for it so she can at least dip in the water from time to time. I also am researching what I will call DAY WEAR covers. something that she can wear to conceal the tubes that are sticking out in a discreet manner. Fancy dinner dresses don’t need three tubes dangling from her arm visible.

There won’t be any beach volleyball and extended sun bathing is going to be a no-no. Michele is Michele and I know she will be as sociable as possible and, in the shade, where possible. Hopefully, our room will have a shaded balcony overlooking the beach and water. That would be an ideal location for Michele.

Keep your prayers and thoughts coming. No matter the trials or obstacles ahead… Survivor is our story.

3 thoughts on “Preparing for Cycle 5

  1. It’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint. We are in it with you for the long haul! So appreciate the updates; gives us more fuel for prayer.

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  2. Thanks for the update dude. We love you and I pray for you morning and evening. Morning rosary and evening chaplet to our Lady of Sorrows. High powered stuff man. God bless.

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