Today we started our Maintenance cycle. I learned a new term. POMP cycle.
P – Purinethol (6-Mercaptopurine)https://www.chemoexperts.com/pomp-maintenance-all.html
O – Oncovin® (Vincristine)
M – Methotrexate
P – Prednisone
Where are my band geeks wondering when the Circumstance cycle begins?
Today was busy for sure.
- We had conference calls at 9 and 10 today.
- Lab work starts at 9:45.
- Outpatient Chemo treatment at 10:45.
- A biopsy appointment at 12:30.
- A conference call at 2:00
After dropping her off at 9:40 for the lab work at the League City MD Anderson location I had my own schedule!
I had to pick up some medications at MD Anderson main campus. I thought I had excellent timing! As with all things in Cancer, prepare for the unexpected and a new location. The CHEMO pills she takes as part of these cycles come from the Specialty Pharmacy in another building!
What I love about MD Anderson (I know I love a lot) is the service and assistance are the best! The pharmacist at the first pharmacy let me know where the other pharmacy was located and gave me the number to call ahead. I hopped on the golf cart shuttle between the main building and the Mays Clinic to find this new to us pharmacy! It took about 30 minutes to get it pulled together and verified by the doctor. Again… the whole time, the counter pharmacist kept informed on the entire process.
With the meds in hand, I hopped in the car and headed back to League City!
It took longer than we thought to get the room assigned and medicine ready. All our chemo treatments at the Main Campus (outpatient) were the same way. So not sure why we thought it would all be on time.
A substantial difference is that she does not have the PICC line anymore. So, they must do an IV. Also with the IV, they don’t use the pump to push the chemo in. It is done by gravity alone. Which also means… she really does not have use of that ARM the whole time…. LOL. Yall know she is always trying to work during chemo. They put a pillow under her arm, and she made it the 15 minutes for them to get the dose in.
Something else about the League City location is that it is a new building. All the rooms are clean and bright (and the same rough size). It is not so much that it is closer to the house. With all the traffic to get to the location it saves only 10 minutes. But it is close to all our other things like our office and local pharmacy! PLUS… FREE PARKING!
This may fall into the TMI category, but Michele’s mom and sister have both had Breast Cancer. Michele has had cyst for most of her adult life and every so often they want a closer look to make sure that it is not Cancer. Today was the day to look at some of the cysts. Yes, Michele loves to overload her schedule sometimes and today was one of those days I like to refer to as thrilling!
We thought we would be late and potentially must reschedule with the Chemo running behind. Not today! We were behind, but they did not flinch. 45 minutes and some exciting descriptions of the process and we were off on our way home!
One last conference call
We jumped on the 2:00 call and finished by 2:30 as we were pulling into the driveway at home. THEN… we remembered we were hungry and had more medicine to pick up at the local pharmacy. Back in the car and drove nearly all the way back to the Biopsy office we sat down at a Texas classic! Whataburger.
I insisted we eat there. No need to pretend we needed to rush home and eat in the car! It was good!
We pulled into the drive through to get the last meds. Most of the time these last 11 months, it has just been me in the car. I know they know Michele is real but rarely seen. The pharmacist also has a servant heart. The meds she has for this cycle can affect her tendons and she is at risk of tearing them. Specifically, her Achilles. I have heard the speech from the pharmacist. But today seeing Michele in the car, she came to the window and explained it again to her.
Michele likes to push herself. She took a pause with the advice. She is doing Physical Therapy. I reminded her that her PT is at MD Anderson, and they all work together to make sure she heals, not hurts.
We made it home and took a short breath and then went upstairs and back to work!
As we return to more normalcy, I am finding that I am more “awake” and alive. Going through something as demanding as cancer as a care giver gives much more strength and calm. There are still dark moments in the days but there are also more moments of illumination.
Our weekend with our “flying family” was incredible. There were a lot of things rolled in together. First, the people involved in the flying are group are all extremely accomplished individuals: Doctors, Commercial Pilots, Aeronautical Engineers, and a highly respected AF Fighter Pilot Colonel. Yet talking with them they are pure of heart incredible people. The local host at the airfield could not have been more welcoming. Thank you Lucas and Courtney! New friends! And their hanger full of experimental Aircraft was a site for the eyes!
Saturday night we all went to the “USO” dance, dressed in our 1940s outfits complete with the Lone Star Swing Orchestra. Denise insisted on everyone going out and taking pictures (of the ladies) posing on the wing of their aircraft! (Pictures can be found on Facebook). She also corralled everyone for a large group picture inside!
Sunday was a day for us to “Walk the town”. Which is always a question if Michele can make that walk. She did. It warmed my heart to just be window shopping with her! Then we drove down to the peach farm to get fresh peaches to take home. A Fredericksburg tradition!
After our smooth flight home and dinner with Kevin and Phyllis, we had one last stop. My oldest son Dustin was visiting his mother, Janee, in Spring. we were late and missed some of the relatives in that family, but we managed to visit a bit with Sharon, Janee’s mom.
Their house is always welcoming! After a short visit we were sent home with some homemade desserts.
All of this brings tears when I stop to think about how normal feels so good. Yes, we still have at least 18 months or longer with visits to clinics and doctors. Also, to know that all the people on this journey with us can show up and embrace us out of love and with respect for the journey. Michele has been a superb patient.
So, let’s laugh a bit! On Friday night at dinner, we were sitting and chatting, and our friends Denise and Chris walked in having just arrived. She turns to Michele and introduces herself as if to meet for the first time. The wig threw her off! To watch the moment when it occurs to her that it was Michele was a sign that it was going to be a great weekend.
Did I mention?
Michele has been really worried about her balance going through the PT. We were not sure if we were going to be able to dance or not. Guess what? It was like a dream to go out and dance together. Dancing is a big part of who we are. We made it! No trips and no falls. We are going to give it another go this Saturday at our Daughter-in-law’s 40th Birthday Disco party. Hopefully soon we will make it to “Rowdys”. The last time we were there was the weekend before she went into the Hospital for treatment. Coming soon!