Break Time

Marilyn and I went hiking yesterday at a small gem of an urban park, Carkeek Park recreational area. The trails were well kept and wandered through thick forest out to Puget Sound. There, a toddler’s

View from Carkeek Park
View from Carkeek Park

heaven, complete with a sandy beach, playgrounds, and picnic areas, awaits families. We traipsed along the numerous short trails before heading back to our apartment. Later, we caught a bus to the University district and saw a movie, Encounters at the End of the World, by Werner Herzog. I highly recommend it.

Monday’s CT Scan showed significant improvement from the pneumonia from two weeks ago. Doctor G and the PA agree, however, that we should wait before doing the transplant. There are no “takesy-backsies” with the transplant. In other words, be patient and perform it under optimum conditions.

Now we must put the treatment on hold for a bit. We cannot escape the cancer’s brooding presence. I feel well but the target date looms. If I forget, my reflection reminds me. There, I see a stranger with a blanched almond shaped head staring back at me. Also, I’ve got a serious piece of medical hardware hanging from my chest. I must flush the lines daily. Marilyn replaces the dressing once a week. I must be cautious about exposing myself to viruses and infections. Therefore, my activities tilt away from the spontaneous. Washing my hands has become a compulsive-obsessive ritual.

Each day I notice a small element of recovery from July’s chemotherapy. Sleeping habits return to near normal. For much of the last month, my bladder shrunk to the size of a ping-pong ball. At night, I bounced back and forth between the bathroom and bed, in a haze of discomfort and half sleep. I dreaded bedtime. Yet, my body slowly regains its balance. I don’t look forward to the next go round with chemo at the time of the transplant. The powerful dosage carries the likelihood of stronger side effects. Nonetheless, I’ve learned my body can recuperate.


Transient sidewalk art, along with grime and litter
Transient sidewalk art, along with grime and litter

Still, the waiting surprised me. We came to Seattle with a proactive urge to fight this cancer. I did not expect this much strategy. Doctors cannot extract blood cancers as if they were malignant growths. Surgery is not subtle. Managing blood cancers calls for nuance prior to dropping the chemo bomb. The SCCA knows through experience what patients can tolerate. They set the stage for an ideal treatment. This two-week delay has therapeutic value. I completely trust the judgment of my team.

We received permission to return to Hood River for a brief period. I’m trying to think of it as a vacation. I get one week to relax. Then, we return to Seattle for pre-transplant diagnostics.  

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