27 February 2017

5th Infusion; 42% Finished!

Good Evening =)

First, a bit of recap from the last infusion. The intervening days between chemo 4 and 5 were surprisingly difficult. Aliza had a lot of new pains, new challenges, added to the old ones. Finally, around Friday (Thursday had moments that were deceivingly good, but sudden onset of complete exhaustion) she started to feel more human with some stamina. We were both so very relieved for all the support we've had - and some of the side benefits of receiving meals (not having to plan what is for dinner, not having a huge mess to clean up, not having to race home from work to cook, having a SIMPLE grocery list) just became really apparent. So I just wanted make sure that we expressed how grateful we are.

Today Aliza received the 5th infusion and I'm going to claim at a huge milestone point because we are 42% complete (let me round up!). Why? Listen to, or read (watching isn't so good), Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Dr. Azar confirmed that all of Aliza's new symptoms are expected... just sooner than expected. One of her known interactions with medication is a high sensitivity to whatever she takes, especially side effects. So, the mental affects from the nausea meds hit hard, and she has to take a half dose; Nyquil means Darth Vader is coming to visit. With Chemo, her hair started falling out one cycle early and pain in her hands and feet has shown up 2 cycles early. Unfortunately, there is no correlation to chemo working better (or worse) when this happens. We're now home and managed to eat another excellent meal, got Fixer Upper playing in the background, and hoping and praying that the Chemo crash this week is better than the last infusion.

As a final note, JeriAnn has filled out the meal dates through April and there plenty of opening available if you were waiting for the schedule to clear up. We made some slight tweaks to the days that will work best for us by adding a meal to help with infusion days (those days can be more unpredictable, for instance, the next few infusions will start after 2 PM vs 10 AM) and the weekend meal is a heat & serve meal since church or other weekend activities can be unpredictable.

I hope this mostly catches everyone up, at least generically, with what has been going on since the last update. Sorry for the long delay!

Thanks for all your support,


07 February 2017

Right is Wrong and Up is Down

Supporting someone battling an unseen foe is difficult. For one, how do you see any progress? How do you know whether the effort is making any difference? Each day is different and there is no predictability. My wife's struggle against her disease has drained her physically to the point of a strange exhaustion and the chemo adds another twist to the battle with an emotional component where she must cope with the way it is forcing her body to change and demanding a change in lifestyle.

For those who know my wife, you are familiar with some of her ways. Her desire for everything to have a correct and proper place; for nothing to be left un-done; for things to be planned and anticipated; for a certain level of cleanliness; for the home that she presents to guests to be one where they feel welcomed and comfortable, where they aren't intruding. You also know that she has very strong emotions that can flare up in... unexpected... ways even in the best of times.

Now, take away her ability to stay on task, take away her strength, take away any semblance that a plan will be kept. Add in continual nausea, a battle to keep the contents of her last meal down (she HATES to vomit) or to go in the right direction, headaches, a state of confusion and a foggy memory (caused by the meds that keep her "comfortable"), continual pain whether her head as her hair falls out in rapid succession or from some strange bruise caused by a misplaced step, and so on and so forth.

I'm really proud of the way she is keeping it together. I can't overstate that. So very proud the way she is fighting this battle. Staying brave for our kids so that they aren't afraid. Trying her best to show a good face to those who come near, especially those who she isn't very comfortable with because they are new or are strangers or just people that we're not close to, but who care. This all adds yet another dimension to the struggle... to people how to look towards God and trust Him in these difficult times and to find the good in the midst of it all... I'm so very proud of her.

But, as with all things, that isn't the reality 24/7. Her fear gets voiced when we're alone and everything gets turned inside out.

My struggle is staying calm and to be comforting to her when those walls shatter. To help her regain that ever flagging mental control. When her strength fails and rationality is at an end. When the fog overwhelms and up is down and good is bad and nothing makes sense. When the reality of cancer is most pressing and she just wants to give in and give up.

Pray for us to make it through those times, for us to look up.