I realize I have been a little remiss in my blog posting of late, so I hope to remedy that with this little update. Of course, since my family has been here I have been enjoying my time with them immensely. (I will blog about the Timms Family exploits after they depart next week.) It seemed a shame to take time out while they were here to be alone and write on the computer. In addition, I was desperately trying to finish Anne Patchet´s “State of Wonder” for book club, particularly since I picked the book and was hosting the meeting last night. Despite my efforts, in the end, I was still missing fifty pages or so… but you know how that goes. However, I am eager to write, as I have some good news to share with all of you.
Two weeks ago I commenced with my second round of chemo and have been faring pretty well since then. Despite a brief allergic reaction to one of the drugs while it was being administered, my body seems to be coping with the side effects pretty well. I did get tired and felt very weak for about five or six days after the treatment. During this time, my mom and I barely left the house and going to the supermarket felt like running a marathon… In addition, cabin fever was beginning to set in. I was desperate to resume a some-what normal life. When my dad and sister arrived on November 1st we immediately headed to wine country the next day since Jon had a four day weekend. On the trip my mood picked up tremendously and I have been feeling good ever since. Two days ago, my family and I went to school to attend the SAAC pep rally for my soccer team, currently in Quito, Ecuador playing a tournament against the other South American International Schools. It was quite a moving ceremony as the students and soccer captains presented me with the beautiful paper cranes that had been folded in my honor. The athletic department also gave me the proceeds of the Race for the Cure event they held at the school two weeks ago. In thanks, I gave a short speech where I publicly acknowledged the Nido community and the students for all their support and offered some words of encouragement to the team. Although I got a bit teary-eyed, I was pleased that I made it through the speech, unlike some of the emotional speeches I never got through in High School speech class. (The one dedicated to my sister rings a bell… I believe I attempted four or five different times to deliver that speech and never could get past the first line. Mrs. Wiley, I´m sure, can verify this…) At the top of the page is a picture of me and my family holding the cranes. At first I was wondering what in the world I would DO with a thousand paper cranes, but luckily the end result was very beautifully done and I will hang them with pride.
And now.. on to the good news. Yesterday I went to the doctor to have them fill out a form so my sister could get paid during her time down here, via the Family Medical Leave Act. Dr. Buhler was very kind to fill out the irritating and redundant questions… How many times does one need to say that I am undergoing chemotherapy for the next six months and that my sister will be providing physical and psychological support?? Anyway, while I was at the appointment he told me that he recently had a patient with a similar diagnosis to mine. With stage four breast cancer, the best hope for recovery depends on your body´s response to the chemotherapy. The other patient responded to the chemo so well that they went ahead and did the surgery to remove the tumor after only four sessions of chemo. Dr. Buhler hoped that I was responding to the chemo in a similar manner and so he went ahead and did a preliminary exam where he simply felt the tumor to see if progress had been made. Luckily, he proclaimed that he believes my response to be very good:-) He said that he could feel the tumor dissipating after only two treatments. When I told my family the news it produced the first real tears of joy that I have had in quite some time. Of course, we won´t know for sure until they do a full scan of my other vital organs sometime in December, but I am optimistic and truly hopeful for the first time.
Alright, well this weekend I am doing some more touring with my family and early next week we are off to Valparaiso and the coast for a few days, so I will hopefully report back sometime next week. After my family leaves I will have some time to catch up on the blog and regale you with tales of family bonding. I also have quite a few thank you notes to write to those of you that sent packages down with my sister and dad. We had a mini cancer Christmas the other day and I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends and family. Much love!