WELCOME TO OPERATION OBLITERATE
Heath and I are sitting here in Room 5210, which is one of the smallest on 5200 and has been our “home” off and on for the last 3 weeks. I snapped a few photos. I asked if I could take one of him. He said “Seriously. no.” (in a slightly steroid-cranky voice) and then I asked if I could get his knee in the photo and he said, “that is completely unnecessary.” (in an equally steroid-cranky voice).
We are watching football from London, and worship, of course. Chris is leading worship this morning for the first time since the end of August, assisting our dear friend, Dan Lewis, who preached. Heath’s eating munchkins and I am drinking a chai latte. Heath is dreaming out loud about adding a golden retriever therapy dog to our brood (for him and then to share with others!) and in the midst we are throwing out ideas for not-too-far-away-drive spring break excursions. While this seems like an odd activity as we sit in the hospital finishing up the cycle 4 chemo week, a little more than half done with treatment, I have decided that it is an act of HOPE. It is an act of looking forward. Of dreaming of a time when this particular experience of hard stuff is past. Hope.
So I guess that tells you how he is feeling (other than a little cranky, which he blames on the steroids) — he is doing pretty darn well. He finished the last infusion of cyclophosphamide at 2 a.m. and had the necessary 6 hours of fluids, and now we have just been told that he can GO HOME! Folks, after starting chemo a day late due to some kidney number questions, this is awesome. Heath had a lumbar puncture with low sedation on Thursday right here in sunny yellow 5210 and the medical staff and Chris said “he crushed it.” He has not felt nauseous. We are attributing some of that to having the ostomy, so it is strange to be grateful for that darn thing/emergency surgery, but this week we will be grateful for whatever helps as his body takes body takes in all those heavy meds. He just told me that he thought he would be able to walk downstairs (we’ve needed a wheelchair each discharge previously). Hope comes in all different ways.
The roller coaster continues. We are under no illusion that all will be smooth. Week 2 of each cycle is the week when your white cells go to 0 and you become neutropenic, when patients often spike fevers and feel pretty crummy. We’ll go back to clinic on Tuesday for his next lumbar puncture and labs. We’ll monitor closely. He’ll take lots of meds. He’ll eat and enjoy being in his own space. We’ll continue to find our way in the midst. We’ll find some other ways to hope.
By the time you read this, we’ll be settling into the screened porch on this beautiful, cool fall day and the “Heath cave” will be calling for a long nap. We’ll update more as the week goes on, but for now, we’ll just say thank you for continuing to hope alongside us.