this past week has been somewhat difficult. After two rounds of chemo we now understand why the oncologist has her on a cycle of two weeks on, one week off. By the last day of the 14 days on, which was last Monday, Leaves was very wiped out and without much energy. In the ensuing week she has slowly recovered, but her sense of taste remains very unpredictable. I have, after 6 weeks of chemo treatment and several weeks before that of radiation that she will not be able to predict what will appeal to her, so I no longer buy in any kind of bulk unless it is canned - Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup remains a staple.
There is a back story on chicken soup. Once when she was at Harvard and told me by phone how sick she was feeling, I flew up to Boston, and on my way to her dorm stopped by Elsie's and got her a container of chicken soup. It has been known as Jewish penicillin for a reason. Similarly with the books of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Leaves is not yet back to full-time work, although she is working 7-8 hour days with regularity.
She has driven herself a few times, although she still prefers where possible I drive her.
This coming Tuesday will be a challenge. She sees her oncologist for a checkup and then resumes chemo, both this time without me: I have a major event in Richmond, at which I have been invited to be at the head table for a fundraiser for an institution that meant a great deal to me - the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership. I have to be in Richmond in time for a 5;30 reception, which really means I will probably have to aim to be there an hour earlier. We may ask a friend to help her, although so far she seems inclined to try to deal with things herself. I will be home by Midnight, in time for her evening medication.
In the meantime I continue to be the family accountant and manager of paperwork. Statements arrive regularly from the insurance company, and now the bills for what is not covered and we have to pay are beginning to arrive with some frequency as well. She would prefer, as a private person and introvert, that I not go into too much detail. Let it suffice to say that we are well past the $2,000 allocated for this year for her medical savings account, and will have no trouble reaching the percentage necessary to gain a tax deduction. It will eat into resources we had originally intended for other purposes, but so far we are hoping we can manage.
There are a few purchases that are not medically related, but which are important. On Wednesday - which will be a day of celebration in many ways - one thing arriving at the house will be a record player that can also cut CDs. We have around 1500 LPs that we have not been able to play since our receiver tied, and our turntable started reaching its last legs. I had toyed with treating myself with an audiophile system, since our basic stereo set-up is more than 30 years old. For now this new purchase will allow us to simply play, or if we wish burn cds which can then be used to create MP3 files either from records or from cassettes. Today I was informed what was at the top of the list to be converted: when she was a teenager she saved up her allowance to buy the DG complete works of Beethoven. Right behind that is likely to be the Loren Maazel complete recording of the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, because she wrote her master's thesis at Oxford on Sir Kenneth MacMillan's choreography to this score.
So we have things to look forward to, which helps to get through the harder times, like this past week.
And then there is Wednesday, when besides the record player two other packages should arrive, or so we have been told.
First is the community quilt from the Daily Kos community, where alternating patches of the quilt contain messages from members of the community.
Also arriving will be several feathers selected by a friend who is an Apache which have been selected and "blessed" to be attached to "Gregor" - the back brace that is still such a part of the daily existence for Leaves - and for yours truly, who is the one usually tasked with helping her get it on and off.
We have come a long way in the past few months, from the first almost panic receiving the news and the preliminary diagnosis of a metastatic cancer, a diagnosis that fortunately turned out to be incorrect. We have both adjusted to how our lives have had to change. Even the cats are adapting.
We go forward with a fair amount of optimism.
We still get irritated with each other. We are after all both still very much flawed human beings. But when this happens we each now, instead of sulking or nursing the ire, try to find a way to make it up to the other.
Today was my turn. I got impatient. I even yelled. I disappointed her.
So when I got an email that I had earned another free drink on my Starbucks card, out I went to get her favorite - a Venti iced black tea lemonade, which she is now enjoying as she chats on the phone with an old friend.
We thank everyone for their continued good wishes, prayer, concern, and support.
We love you all.