Poised for Phase III

Well, the mean, nasty, awful, healing, health bringing chemo has been over for over a month!! The immunotherapy, which is also an infusion, started two weeks ago. She has surgery this Thursday and whether there is residual cancer will determine what mix of immunotherapy or targeted chemo is appropriate for the next 12 months. Diane has remained VERY busy since the main side effects have begun to diminish. Designing the madeover basement, protecting the flowers the hummingbirds love from evil moths and worms, cooking for all of us, filing stuff, etc., etc., etc. She still has residual side effect issues, mostly with failing nails and raging tears because sometimes chemo clogs something up in her eyes and there are always “tears.”  Her hair is starting to come back…a little. We don’t know whether she will be blond or gray! But…she will “be” and that’s a winning lottery ticket!

Fence Line

Fence Line at Washington’s Grist Mill

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Season 6, Episode 2 coming to an end

Farmers Market

Onions at Farmers Market in Old Town Alexandria

This Week Two has ended and so things will improve for a short while. This wasn’t a “great” week but it was a week worth having. We went to several doctor appointments; pretty much the rest of the year will be “new stuff.” Even though she’s gone through surgery and radiation before, this is way, way different. We have a superb team and they’ve been very helpful in setting the stage and expectations. There are still a lot of unknowns. Apparently, Diane will continue the “immunotherapy” for a year with two drugs and perhaps three, we won’t know for sure until after surgery. Although the side effects are not as bad as the real chemo, they will be troublesome…but I’m pretty sure that she’ll power through it all with her friends and family helping.

I did a quick walkabout today in Old Town after having breakfast with a friend. Lots and lots of people, I guess that’s the changing nature of Alexandria.

 

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The Long View

Common belief is that the “Long View” is the thing we must have. People, companies, countries, who take the long view are held up as icons for correct and proper thought and policy. However, I don’t think my generation, “The Boomers,” was raised with this particular view. We are the TV generation and everything, and I mean everything, was solved in 30 minutes or less with timeout for commercials. Hmmm, that’s not entirely true since one hour shows were popular in their own right but were usually “specials,” think Ed Sullivan with Elvis or The Beatles, or the Walt Disney Hour. And, of course, Soap Operas required you view them everyday to get even the tiniest morsel of new information and many of them were an hour. But for the most part, we and perhaps our children and theirs are products of our expectations and we expect that the mystery will be solved, the champion declared, the $64,000 question answered (or not), all within 30 minutes or less.

I also have a theory that the great military leaders from centuries ago were the ones whose vision was the best, that they could stand on a hilltop and actually see the battlefields below them. A leader who was nearsighted had to either have a farsighted sidekick, was probably doomed to defeat, or, had a great mapping and comm system. Some believe that the Chinese think ahead in centuries. Financially, I believe we think ahead in quarters, that is the next reporting period. Many of us extend that thought process into everyday life and I used to be right there with you. I posit that staying that course makes you more of a consumer than a participant and that participating offers a richer experience that is not defined by time or even space. I’ve learned over the last ten years or so that absorbing the moments erases the manic quest for the next.

For instance, while I wish this last and crappy episode of chemo was over, it’s not. And this is just one of the things she must do in the next year. But taking the long view…I’m okay with that.  Even this crumby week is a week to enjoy something…our kids, the birds, the crazy raccoons, the dozens of flying squirrels, our friends, and more. And we don’t want all of that to stop every thirty minutes. Just a thought.

 

From Washington’s Mt Vernon looking northeast to the Potomac River

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Season Six, Episode One

At last we are at the end of this part of the journey. Busy week. Kirsten was born 26 years ago yesterday. Wow. Kelsey started work at what sounds like a cool summer school/camp for kids where she has to provide intellectually challenging activities that are thought provoking and fun. And, this is the first cancer Season without some sort of baseball activities. Kyle decided to work this summer instead of baseball and has a job in a small chemical engineering company where he is getting many opportunities to learn and then do; AND, he really enjoys what he’s doing. That is actually a good distraction for both Diane and I. We’ve also been busy with other medical appointments since she has surgery in a month. Lots of people to talk with and lots of places to go. Things are moving fast and we’re happy about that. Well, Diane is not moving so fast but that’s because of the Episode One timing. She is doing good, though, and smiling through it all. Both of us are suffering from “chemo brain,” (me, only by close association and proximity, of course) so we both have to pay attention to what we’re doing or God knows where we’ll end up. I have driven by more than one Interstate exit I meant to take…oh well. It’ll get better for Diane, me…well, I’m hopeful! Smile.

This is a composite image from several I’ve taken over the years. The young lady posed for me in the 2018 Katsucon.

Katsucon Warrior Pose

Katsucon Warrior Pose

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Father’s Day

I hope that this Day to honor fathers is a good one for you. Someday I will do a post about my time as a youth and my relationship with my father. It wasn’t abusive or mean or anything…just…very scandihoovian.

Tomorrow is Diane’s last really bad chemo session. She has others in future months but they are immunotherapy rather than partly poisonous and so although there will be side effects, they won’t be the same, that is, as horrible. We won’t know the real drill until after surgery which has been rescheduled for July 18.

Baseball and classes are over for everyone and tomorrow is a workday for both of the kids. I am eager to see how that will go but will miss having them home to stay with Diane in weeks 1&2. “I don’t need anyone here!” she would say. “Okay,” I would say. We had three “dates” this last week. On Sunday we went to the PhotoWorks PhotoSlam in DC where my images were on the “slammed” side. Sigh. On Tuesday we went to Old Town, had pizza and wine, and swapped stories with a long time friend. Friday we went to Frederick, Maryland, where I found covered bridges and an awesome antiques store. This image is from that store.

Hand carved wooden hearts

Hand carved wooden hearts from “Great Stuff by George” antique store in Frederick, MD

 

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