14 July 2017
It has now been 9 days since Julie came home, and she is feeling better, some hard days, some good. Radiation finished. Waiting for octreotide scan next week. That is the update. Read on if you like…
Last Saturday, 8 July, at 6 PM, I stood in the bathroom with six pills in my hand, three white ones for pain, one yellow for nausea, and two pink for alertness. Julie had tried to get up several times that day, only to get right back in bed with a whimper, “I am so sick.” I knew she really wanted to get up and go to Olivia Elison’s wedding reception, and if possible, to her 30 year, Skyline High School reunion. So it was time to use all three types of medicine together. Even as a physician I wondered, “Am I giving her too much medication?” I want to be very prudent and generous in relieving her symptoms, walking the balance between good symptom relief and side effects. I put away one white pill and one pink, and gave her the remaining four.
Two hours later we sat in the car in Elison’s driveway at the reception. For about 20 minutes Julie breathed deep and sighed as she got up the courage to walk across the lawn to the back yard reception. Several friends stopped to offer love and concern. No one was in a hurry. As Julie took her very slow and focussed steps across the lawn with her walker, Dr. Bennett stopped and offered to go get a wheel chair from his office. I gave him the nod and he was on his way. Julie finished her trek and even though there was much strain on her face, she was happy to have made it to congratulate the bride and groom. She found a soft chair, and many kind friends hugged and talked with her. Dr. Bennett returned with a wheel chair for us to use.
We left the reception and she was very tired. She wanted to go to her reunion, but didn’t think she could. I really wanted her to make it because she loved her high school years, and loves her high school friends. She has always been a friend to people from all walks of life, even back in high school as a Grizzly cheerleader she was genuine and real. I knew she would have friends that would love so see her and offer their love back to her.
We drove for a while in quiet until she was rested, and eventually pulled into her reunion as the program was ending. There was a swarm of kindness and love that greeted Julie. Friends hugged and cried with her, old beaus knelt down and held her hand and looked kindly into her eyes. Strangers to me, thanked me for bringing her. I thank them for loving her and lifting her.
The next day she was still quite ill. Kendall, our second oldest, was there to visit long by his mothers bedside. Christopher, our second youngest, sat on her bedside and told her in detail of roller coasters and fun at Lagoon. We ate Sunday dinner together on the bedroom floor.
Monday I went back to work. I made arrangements for her brother Steve to take her to her radiation appointment, but when they arrived, Julie had anxiety and nausea, and couldn’t continue. I felt guilty for not being with her, and decided that I would make sure to be with her for the rest of her treatments. She finished her radiation treatments yesterday, Thursday.
Julie has felt a little better each day since Monday. She has had a flood of visitors, old and new friends and kind neighbors. She is eating much better, and speaking much more clearly. She is walking faster, and hasn’t used a wheel chair since Saturday (but I did buy one). Evening drives and Baskin Robins ice cream help. She has an octreotide scan next Tuesday through Thursday to determine if she is a candidate for the PRRT treatment. See Just Lie Down By Me, PRRT
Julie and I are very sad at times, yet I welcome the grief. I much prefer grief and heartache to numbness and lack of feeling. We are also very happy to be together. I miss my healthy Julie and feel much pity for her sickness, sadness, and fear, but I cherish having her still, and my time with her is the most precious time I will ever have. I am thankful for memories and photos. Sunday evening after looking at several photos of Julie over the years I was full of emotion and longing for her to be well again. I went to my room alone and the longing overwhelmed me, and I welcomed it…