We were back at Sloan-Kettering for IV treatment and to see Dr. O'Reilly on Tuesday. Being that it was Veteran's Day and 20,000 vets were scheduled to march in a parade on the East Side, I counseled Mom and Dad to take mass transit into the city. Dad, who would drive to the moon if somebody would just build the damned road for him, declined. After some extended debate, which took place over the course of three or four separate telephone conversations (once Dad's course is set, he changes direction with the agility and grace of a cargo ship), Dad saw the merit of my arguments and we agreed on a compromise. He drove to the Port Authority (thereby remaining the master of his travel destiny and satisfying his yen for zoom-zoom), then ditched the car for the subway. He and Mom got a glimpse of my version of Manhattan; they got from 34th and 9th to 53rd and 3rd during a midtown parade in 27 minutes and they never set foot above ground. I was so proud of them and more than a little bit smug about the success of my plan. Then, of course, Dad's treatment ran almost 2 hours beyond when we expected it to end, so he and Mom got crushed by commuters when they were making their way back to the Port Authority. He will probably never agree to take the subway route again, but I am proud of him - of both of them - for giving it a whirl.
Our visit with Dr. O'Reilly went quite well. Dad announced his much shortened list of symptoms and declared, with the pride of Sherlock Holmes solving a case, that he thinks he feels better because the chemo is working. Dr. O'Reilly paused but a moment before saying, "Well, yes - that was the plan from the outset, wasn't it."
I didn't laugh, but it took a lot of effort to keep a straight face.
Of course, with the symptoms abating, Dad wants to move at the end of December from the aggressive treatment phase of the chemo to the maintenance phase. Dr. O'Reilly gently encouraged him to be a bit more patient and to give the treatment phase some additional time. Patience, as I mentioned at the start of this journey, is not one of Dad's greatest virtues. There are those (Dan) who would say that this apple does not fall far from that particular tree, an allegation I could take plentiful time to rebut, but we're talking about Dad here, so I shall stay on point and deal with my husband off line. The encouraging fact is that Dad feels well enough to want to migrate down his dosage and, although it will take a bit longer than he would like, we are all confident that he will get to the maintenance level soon.
Patience issues aside, Dad is doing great. He looks really good, especially compared to how he looked a few weeks ago (no offense, Dad, but you were starting to look a little rough there for a bit). He's not the chubby teddy bear we all remember, but he still looks good. His ability to eat is showing considerable improvement, not just week over week, but even day over day. His tolerance of the chemo is remarkable. His side effects appear manageable; if they aren't, he's just not letting on about them (which I realize is not out of the question with him). Tomorrow we finish Set 2 and then he's off for a week. Even though his last "off" week was quite challenging, we are looking forward to this one because we hope he'll have an easier go of it this time and we all enjoy the times when he doesn't have to take the chemo meds.
I want to take a moment to thank all the people who are cheering us on. To those of you who post comments here, please know that Dad enjoys reading them. To all the people who have sent e-mails to me directly, please know that I do pass your words of encouragement on to Dad and he draws strength from your support. And to the people who have sent cards, books, encouraging articles, messages, notes, teas, foods, suggestions and kind words directly to my parents, we simply cannot thank you enough. If we judge a man's richness not in dollars but in the warmth with which he is regarded, Dad is the emotional equivalent of Warren Buffet. Thank you all for making sure we know how much you care!