Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer …
I suggested to Mom we might consider going to Illinois for Stacia’s graduation in early June. In typical Mom fashion, she thought of a 1,000 reasons why it was a bad idea. I told her it was her call, but if she felt up to it and the doctor thought it would be okay, we should go.
That was the weekend before her second round May 27-29 and I just left the option open. We never really discussed it further or made any plans … until she surprised me Wednesday (May 28) when she asked Dr. Ignaczak if he thought the trip would be okay. He thought we were crazy — okay, so we are — but said it was okay. He gave us a list of phone numbers to call in case we had a problem and ordered enough “emergency” medicine to take on the trip.
So, when we got home, I had to scramble to plan a trip, find hotels, rent a van, etc.
Mom wasn’t feeling great, but good enough to head on the adventure. We spent a lot of time talking … about our life together with its ups and downs … the crazy adventures we’ve had … the joys and sorrows of almost 40 years of marriage. We cried a lot — especially when Remember When played unexpectedly on the radio or we saw something along the way that struck a special chord.
Mom wrote in her journal, “I really wanted to see all my friends again and who knows if I’ll ever get the chance again.”
We made it back … 1,994.1 miles portal to portal on eagle’s wings! In my updates, I reported, “Thank you for all your prayers, support and the friendship we have. The trip itself, I think, was a success. Karen got to see some of her long time friends and just visit and catch up face to face over a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. It was good to see her smile and even cry tears of joy. We spent a few days with Joe (our oldest son), trying to optimistically temper the reality of the situation with him. He hasn’t quite accepted it yet. He could use some prayer. The graduation went well. In fact, our ex-daughter-in-law reserved the front row for us … best seats in the house … even better than our own kids’ graduations! I’m glad we traveled in faith and I think Karen was, too.”
The only ill effect of the trip was a low white count, which delayed Mom’s last round of treatment by a week. When those lab results came back, all the tumors had shrunk significantly and her LDH levels were close to normal. Or as Mom said, “Praise the Lord!”
With the preface of “If we hadn’t started the treatments, we wouldn’t be here talking,” Dr. Ignaczak said the results from the treatments were exactly what was anticipated, although you never know how a person is going to react. He said the first round cycle of chemo is typically the most effective. He was pleased with the progress to date and said the cancer seems to be under control and contained. We set up a follow-up plan. She was to go back for an x-ray and blood work in September and then every month thereafter unless, of course, something changes … breathing, persistent pain, fever, etc. He added she recovered quickly, but cautioned she could turn back just as quickly. “So,” she wrote, “I am taking things one day at a time and I’m grateful for each day I’m blessed with.”
On Aug. 2, Mom wrote how good she was feeling. “I’ve tried to do something each day that makes me happy,” she wrote. “Yesterday we went to BJ’s. Today Joe took me to see Mama Mia. I enjoyed that movie so much! It’s the best I’ve seen in a long time. Then off to Wegman’s for a few groceries … Just trying to enjoy each day.”
Her last entry was Aug. 11. “Thank you Lord for another day. The sky has been so blue and white fluffy clouds. Thunder last night but beautiful during day.”
To be continued …
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: No one is the reason for your own happiness – except YOU, yourself. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.