Saturday, October 1, 2016. My last post (on August 11) was near the end of the first “Intensification” phase of my treatment and just before the start of the first “Re-Induction” phase. I had just learned that the intense treatments were going to last through 2016; I was incredibly bummed as I had it etched in my brain that I was going to be back in the fall. But we’re well past that now….
I distinctly remember Jen telling me in mid-August that once we got to September, time was going to fly. She was spot on.
The first Re-Induction phase ends Monday (on Rosh Hashanah as luck would have it), with one more chemo infusion. [I am not particularly fond of any chemo, but the chemo on Monday is one of my least favorite since it, among other things, makes my fingers and toes tingle for days]. I am thinking this is not the year to be skipping temple, so I am planning to go tomorrow night and early Monday with Jen and the kids (and we scheduled the chemo treatment accordingly). I might even go Tuesday as well.
Notwithstanding 3 spinal taps, a steady regime of steroids and chemo pills, and 20 separate chemo infusions over the last 43 days, the first Re-Induction phase has not been so bad. We avoided overnight hospital stays (really hoping not to jinx that now), only required two blood transfusions (both this past week) and neutralized many prior side effects from the chemo with various medications, including two shots of Lovenox each day — which continues to be my two least favorite moments of the day.
And while my energy level has been low and the constant poking from IV’s drives me crazy (especially the last two weeks when we had eight infusions in the span of 10 days), we have still been able to been able to enjoy many moments over the past seven plus weeks. From weekends at the shore in late August; walks in the morning after the kids go to school; attending my cousin’s wedding in Boston with many family members; watching the boys play soccer on the weekends; visits with friends; having both our parents in town to help out; live fantasy football drafts for both Jake and Ryan (and constant adjusting to our line-ups ever since); to catching-up on television shows that I never made time to watch (and frankly I look forward to not having time to watch again).
No doubt one of the highlights of this phase was taking the big boys (Brandon is still too young) to the Browns/Eagles game week 1 in Philadelphia. When I missed Jake’s birthday in May because I was in the hospital, I bought tickets to the game thinking I would be done with treatment. While I was obviously wrong, there was no way I was missing that game. And although I did not feel great, we made it happen. It was a special day. My dad flew into Philly for the day, and my father-in-law and brother-in-law (who also drove in from NY) came to the game too. We were fortunate to get field passes on the Browns sideline. And, as luck would have it, RGIII threw a football to Jake (Jake threw a tight spiral right back to him), Ryan got to throw a ball to Terrelle Pryor, and a Browns coach flipped us a game ball (which Jake held for a good 9 hours (as seen below) and is now in a case). After that pre-game experience, it did not really matter that the Browns looked like the Browns. Aside from getting our car towed at my father-in-law’s surgery center, it was a perfect day.
In addition to driving me to the city for treatment or check-ups on a near daily basis and putting up with my mood swings and general shenanigans, Jen also does everything else around here (car pools, homework, waking up at all hours with one of the kids, breakfast, lunch and on and on and on). Not to say she does not usually do all of that. She does, but now also has to take care of me full-time. I am thinking she might need (and no doubt deserves) a vacation. The good news is Jen’s vacation is right around the corner. By my count we have 79 days to go. And we know exactly what is coming. Starting as soon as possible after Monday, we follow the same course of treatment that started on July 26 and ends on Monday. While some people take breaks in between the phases, we have yet to miss a day and don’t intend to.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year. It is going to be a great year.