Snow, wind, and fire…

Lorton Incinerator on the Reformatory Grounds

Lorton Incinerator on the Reformatory Grounds

I am running on empty and I’m not sure why. I posit it’s because I haven’t been out with my camera much and so when I went to the dump this morning, I took a camera. I wanted to take pictures from the front yard of the landfill office but they said I needed permission and I’d have to call back between the hours of 8 and 4 Monday through Friday. Well, I asked and they did their job and told me no but I took one snap from the parking lot anyway which is the first one below. The second shot is looking back at the super incinerator from the equestrian area just a mile away. Hard to believe that this was all part of the Lorton Prison twenty plus years ago, one of the worst prisons in America.

Diane is doing okay. Taste buds dying, some pain, some nausea but the worst is her eyes. Her eyelids are infected so badly that they are bleeding. Sigh. Doctor available next Thursday. Double sigh. Six years ago when she went through this, she did the surgery first, then radiation and then chemo. This time it’s reversed. I looked back six years on this site to see what was happening after the first chemo session then. Sort of the same without the eyes, that didn’t start until later.

This image is from this morning at the Fairfax County Landfill. I was on what used to be the Dairy Farm of the prison but is now an equine center. Life changes.

 

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A New Day

Five o’clock in the morning but all is actually going very well. For the most part. Sleeping is difficult but the awful pain has subsided significantly which is way, way ahead of schedule. Thanks for the prayers, healing thoughts, and positive energy! And the medications. Each day is a different adventure but for the latter part of yesterday’s whirlwind blast through time, t’was a great day. We went to Kyle’s basketball game last night and she got through with only Ibuprofen! Huzzah. She didn’t sleep well so naps will be in order today. Except that the construction crew will be here to fix the water damage from the frozen pipe. It’s taken two months to get them here. Oh well. They’re coming.

The other thing we did yesterday was visit our acupuncturist, Dr. Ashley Will at the Acupuncture & Herbal Healing Center. Dr Will and Dr Linton have had an immense and positive impact on our health over the years. Dr. Will treated Diane during Diane’s first cancer episode. They are an important part of our health team!

I made this image eight years ago when we were visiting Sis-in-law Chris in the high desert (Mojave) of California. I have no idea what the flower is but the bright colors mirror my mood this morning!!

Desert Flower

Mojave Desert Flower

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Magic Carpet Ride

Steppenwolf did “Magic Carpet Ride” in 1968, fifty-one years ago! The hard rock beat and the song title found a nook in my brain where they’ve hidden in plain sight for these many years. Of course, I can’t remember any other lyric from the song.  Right now I feel like I’m on a magic carpet ride, but not the one I’d prefer.

The chemo on Friday went fine. Six hours was a long time in the chemo room because as many of you know, the happiness there is a veneer to what’s really going on. Don’t get me wrong, I think the patients and their companions are very happy to be getting the treatment and the nurses are very happy to be able to provide this hope. But, to me, just below the surface, there is the terror of the unknown, the fear of losing, the fear of the pain. And of course, just the fear. The last thing they did after they unplugged her from the drugs was put a little gadget on the back of her arm. Just a little thing, about two inches tall, an inch and a half wide, and about a half inch thick. More on that later. And, the session ended in such a Washington, DC kind of way…we were in rush hour for 40 minutes on the way home.

Saturday was okay. She was very tired and nauseous but the nausea was successfully controlled; we were happy about that because nausea makes the other side effects even worse. In the late afternoon/evening, we went to a baseball game in the cold; Kyle’s on the High School varsity team and although he probably won’t play much this year, we want to support the team. Diane is a baseball fiend and so off we went but we only lasted a couple of hours of the ten inning game. We headed home 26 and 45 minutes after the little gadget was put on her arm.

At exactly 27 hours after putting the gadget on her, the gadget beeped. Or at least we think it did. We were still on the way home and she had her parka on so it may have beeped and we didn’t hear but she felt something. When the thing beeps, a small catheter is inserted into her arm and for the next 45 minutes she is injected with a drug called Neulasta. This drug stimulates the bones to create new blood cells because the chemo kills most of the white blood cells or at least a bunch of them. I don’t really remember. And this is the drug that causes agonizing, brutal, awful bone pain. Several hours go by after the injection before the bones go into overdrive and this morning they’ve hit full force. I’m happy because I know her body needs the white blood cells but I am horrified by the pain she is going through.

A magic carpet ride…

James River Bridge

James River Bridge

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The Adventure Begins

March 1 has come more quickly than we expected! The concept of a second round of chemo has turned into reality. We packed two computers, two lunches, water, snacks, books, power strips, charging cords, and on and on. We are ready. On the way, Diane shook her head and said that she couldn’t believe we were going through this again. I told her that I couldn’t think of a better adventure than saving her life and was happy to be with her! What else would I want to do? Hard to disagree with that, I’m thinking.

We arrived and joined the chemo crowd. They take folks in a couple at a time so that the nurses can manage the intake process. The “pre-meds” quell nausea, inflammation, and pain from the infusion of these life-saving poisons. The nurse brought us three pages of stuff, a list of everything she is being given today. Her “cocktail” is TCHP which is…now wait for it, there will be a test, Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta. The first two are the chemicals (drugs) that will target the cancer cells and kill them; the last two are immunotherapy drugs that do something magic to other bad actor cells. As a long term cancer endurer tells us, chemo is our friend albeit a friend with penalties.

Today is the beginning…we are happy to feel the support, love and prayers of our friends and family. You can follow us here, on Instagram or on FB. Thanks for caring.

This image is Huntley Meadows Park, a partially frozen lake and a stark, barren winter scene.

Frozen Huntley Meadows Park in February 2019

Huntley Meadows Park with frozen lake taken February 2019

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Milestone 1

Last weekend Paul and Kirsten drove up from Asheville to spend several days with us. What a great time we had. Lots of laughs, lots of board games where I might have had my butt kicked! And lots of talks about days to come and things to think about as we all go on this journey. We really enjoyed the days and hated to see them go on Tuesday, but…well, life must go on!

Two days ago we headed for National Harbor and the surgery center at 6 in the morning!! We were in and registered by 6:45. They apparently had worked her in and she was starting before the others in the waiting room. When we went back to the “prep” area we were met by three nurses and I felt like I was up close and personal with a NASCAR-like pit stop for people! They had her undressed, in bed, IV in, EKG leads on, forms before her for signature, questions answered, and MORE in less than ten minutes. I didn’t even have time to sit down. There was a literal high end buzz all that time as anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, admins, techs, and then someone said, “Give her some love,” I gave her a kiss and whooosh. They wheeled her out. Forty-five minutes later, the surgeon came out and said, “Everything went okay. We had to do a little imaginative rerouting of the port but it will be fine.” Hmmm, easy for him to say. She rested on Thursday and I started my log and journal.

Yesterday we went to a party lunch given for her by cancer survivors and friends. She smiled and smiled. Later she took Kyle to a basketball practice while I was downtown with Kelsey. She was tired. I thought that this was a superb celebration of the beginning. Sleep came early.

Eastern Market Abstract

Eastern Market Abstract

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