Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

Updating from Mom and Dad's house, which feels slightly strange because they're not here. They're partying somewhere in upstate New York (no dancing on the tables, Dad); I'm in Jersey eating their food, drinking their wine and giving the dogs and Anna Lee a chance to run amok in the back yard. Don't worry Mom - I'm wiping everybody's feet before they come into the house.

For those of you who are wondering:

YES, the alarm did go off.

NO, I didn't set it off. Honest. There was a thunder storm. And a power failure. It really wasn't me.

But I was mightily confused when I called Mom from the driveway to confirm the code that I can never remember because it's not my ATM code, social security number or high school locker combination and she said, "You already set the alarm off."

"From the driveway?"

She insisted I'd done it. I swore up and down I didn't. Dad was the one who thought to ask about the thunder storm and the power failure. Otherwise I fear I'd still be standing in the driveway, protesting my innocence to a mother who has heard me protest my innocence too many times before.

So they're on the road again, but this time Dad isn't feeling too well. He took a bit of a dive just after my last update, so Dr. O'Reilly took him off part of his chemo cocktail for a bit. We knew that at some point, the toxins would build up until we would need to start editing his treatment protocol, and I guess we've reached that point. It's not unexpected, but it's sort of a bummer nonetheless. I hope he bounces back qiuckly, because we need to keep his chemo regime consistent in order to stay ahead of the cancer.

Of course, if you ask him, he says he feels okay. That's in part because he's just not a complainer, and also because compared to when he feels totally terrible, he really *does* feel okay.

But I want him to feel better than okay.

I want him to feel good.

That's not too much to ask, right?

I didn't think so.

The doctor also started him on tincture of opium to control his symptoms and help him feel better.

"Aren't you supposed to smoke that?" Mom asked, probably imagining that Dad was going to break out a hookah and turn into the Caterpillar from "Alice in Wonderland".

The answer is no - you don't. It's not opium, and it's stripped of most of its narcotic attributes, so it's not a fun drug. But it's side effects are drowsiness and dizziness, so Dad took it and promptly handed the car keys to Mom.

Smart man. He may have lived through a time when drinking and driving was more of a sport than a crime, but these days, he knows when to say when.

So that's the update for now.

More as and when, and until then, keep on keepin' on.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Welcoming Summer With Open Arms... And a Little Bit of Disco

And so, here we are, nine months later. Does it feel like nine months to you? I think it feels like nine minutes and ninety years.

How is Dad?

He's doing well. Really well. Almost embarrassingly well.

"I thought your dad was sick," people hiss in my ear at parties. I watch Dad boogie past, doing his super special Lindy-Mashed Potato-Saturday Night Fever- Hand Jive and shrug. "That's what they keep telling him. He just won't play the part."

He went to Vermont and helped set the buoys in Lake Morey ("I drove the boat," he proudly declared.).

He went back to help rip the roof off the porch ("and nobody got hurt!" he proudly declared).

He rocked it out so hard at a recent wedding, my sources tell me he giggled himself to sleep and then had the Grand High Master of all Hangovers the next day.

Well Done, Dad.

He had a bad bout of pain in April, which gave us all a bit of a fright. A series of emergency scans revealed...a kidney stone. We all hooted and hollered and cheered for the kidney stone while Dad piped up from the corner, "excuse me, but it still HURTS! ".

We were sort of heartless and told him to tough it out, and he did, which was quite decent of him.

Of course, it's not all posies and parties - this is life in the world of cancer and chemo, after all.

He has days when he is wiped out.

He has days when he feels really crappy.

He has days when he gets really frustrated that basic activities - things we all take for granted, like being able to go out to dinner - sometimes seem out of reach.

But his moods are a bit like a superball - they drop and then bounce back up and he's off and running once again.

His next round of scans is scheduled for July. We expect (nay - demand!) another set of positive results, and that he will spend a good chunk of the summer teaching the grand kids to swim in the lake and the pool (if it ever stops raining and gets warm).

We are, as always, astonished and humbled by the continued outpouring of support we have received. The prayers and good wishes of our friends and family help give Dad the strength to get up every day and say, "No way, cancer. You won't get me today. I will fight. I will survive." (I feel a disco ball and a Gloria Gaynor song coming on. Let's go, people. You know the words. Let your inner 1970's Disco Diva run free, strap on your roller skates with your Adidas knee socks and sing along!)

"Oh no not I!
I will survive!
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive!
I've got all my life to live,
I've got all my love to give,
and I'll survive... I will survive!
Hey hey!"

< and we're off, discoing into the summer sunset >