Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year from The Blog!

Sorry for the false post earlier - that's what I get for trying to type and watch the Golden Globes at the same time. You didn't really think I had nothing to say but "happy new year," did you? Not a chance!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled post...

The holidays have always been a whirlwind, and in some ways this year was as every other. We put our feet into the blocks on Halloween and sprang into the late autumn powered by fun-sized Snickers bars pinched from our kids' trick-or-treat bags. Down came the pumpkins and up went the pilgrims and before we knew it, we had polished off the pecan pie and raced off to the mall in search of the most perfect present ever... preferably at 50% off.

The holiday season felt short and rushed and harried but this year it also felt precious and warm and unique. Maybe that's one of the backwards gifts that a chronic and frightening condition like cancer can give to a family. Unlike in years past, we didn't try to see too many people or do too much. The three Oberle kids came home with their spouses and families and we stayed put. Kurt and Keri (and Oscar and their impressively intelligent/vindictive dog Ashton) drove from Charleston to New Jersey and back again twice in the span of four weeks. They took a week off for each visit, so there was ample time to spend with Mom and Dad and Nanny. Christian and Jane made it to Colts Neck for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and they stayed over each time. Christian works so much, the holidays are often practically a drive-by, so the extra time with him was particularly special. As for me - well - I've always felt like Dan and I spend the better part of the Christmas holiday in the car, racing from one place to another. This year we landed at Mom and Dad's house on Christmas Eve and stayed until December 26. The little kids had a blast and it was fun to swap gifts, but the best part of the holiday (in my never-humble opinion) came when the dishes had been cleared and my family gathered in the kitchen, picking over leftovers and memories with equal relish. The stories flowed with abandon and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard with people I love so much. By the time I went to bed, my face and my sides were sore. I know it was difficult for our spouses to spend the entire holiday away from their extended families, but in doing so they gave us the best Christmas I can remember and for that, I am and will remain eternally grateful.

So how was Dad through the holiday? Amazing. I was afraid that going out with the family for Christmas Eve would wipe him out too much to enjoy Christmas Day. I needn't have worried. He looked great. He felt great. He ate and laughed and had a blast. He had a ton of visitors over the holidays - Mom made more than one wise crack about a star hanging over the house and frankincense and myrrh being left on the front steps - and I know he really enjoyed all the company.

The new year has settled in and Dad is in his second set of this new round of chemo. He's still tolerating the treatments well (and he still has his hair) and is even gaining weight. I met him and Mom for an appointment at Sloan-Kettering last week, and when we got into the examining room, he weighed himself. He slid the weights to the right and to the right and to the right again and then shook his head and said, "that can't be right. The scale must be broken."

I think the same thing every time I get on the scale these days.

"How much does it say?" I asked him.

He gave the number and then said, "that would be a gain of more than 20 pounds."

"Well it just so happens," I said, "that I weighed that exact amount at the obstetrician yesterday, so step aside, Old Man, and give Fatty a shot at the scale."

Dad raised one slightly thin eyebrow and stepped aside. I heaved my impressively pregnant self onto the scale and mentally dared the weights to challenge me. The bar tipped up... then down... then balanced. The scale was accurate. Dad has gained more than 20 pounds!

Yes - he is six inches taller than me and we weigh the same amount.

N0 - I will not tell you what that amount is.

But I am sooooooo going on a diet once this baby is born.

Dr. O'Reilly was very pleased with how well Dad looks and feels. He did get a hernia in December (which he and a buddy of his put back (however one does that) on their own), so she set him up with an appointment to see a surgeon later this month. That appointment will probably be informative rather than pre-operative, since the hernia hasn't re-emerged or popped out again or done whatever it is that hernias do when they're not behaving. She supported his plans to go skiing later this month; she agreed that horseback riding should probably stay off the agenda for the immediate future. She renewed his prescriptions, patted him on the head (figuratively) and sent us on our way with instructions to keep on doing what we're doing.

It all, it was a satisfying visit, a pleasant end to a difficult year and an auspicious start to the new one. We know the economy is in the tank, but we've been taught over the past few months that the economy is a very small part of a very large picture. We're looking forward to an amazing 2009 and we hope everyone reading this blog has a new year that is wonderful and blessed and filled with love.




JES said...

yay!! i'm so glad to hear things continue to go so well...AND that you all got to enjoy a holiday season free from the usual hectic pace. keep up the good work, dr. o! (and con...he's not REALLY 6 inches taller than you, b/c you've got to add the baby's height! :-)

Don said...

Annie and I are glad to hear that your Dad is doing well. He has been such a good family friend for many years. Our son, Steven, tried to call him when he was home on break but could not reach him ( Steve worked in his office years ago as a potential dental student). He is now back at school in Tucson - Arizona finishing up his clinical rotation. If he wishes to contact Steve he can reach him at 732-859-7183. Please give your Dad our warmest regards, he is in our prayers.
PS... Our scale also is wrong .... it lies !!!!!
The Ellis Family
Don, Ann, Steven, David