Monday, August 13, 2007

In a few more minutes it will be my birthday--August 14. I am so grateful to be another year older. Might sound weird, since I will turn 49 in ten minutes, and as we push the 50 threshold we tend to go into deep denial. But stay with me, and I'll tell you why.

Last August, Caitlin and I went to London and Paris to celebrate her graduation from high school. On August 1, my new granddaughter, Genevieve was born, and on the 2nd,we took off for parts unknown. It was a glorious 12 day trip, thanks to the kindness of my Dear Hubby, David. This was on top of the flood disaster last reported on this blog.

So we have this amazing trip, come home, and it's time for those wonderful quarterly tests that those of us who live in Cancer World have as part of our lives. This time the news wasn't good. The ovarian cancer was back metastized to the bowels, appendix, peritoneal lining. thanks to the kindness of my wonderful friends and neighbors, we moved back into our remodeled home just before Halloween. On November 13 I went in for more surgery. It was a biggie. Twelve days of hospitalization and dragging around the IV trying to begin recuperation. I finally came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. Here are my brothers and sisters and spouses in my front yard on that day. If I look a little drugged, it's because I WAS!--but we had a lot to be thankful for.

I kept on recuperating through the holidays, then starting in January went through six courses of IP chemotherapy every three weeks. It was cistplatin and taxol delivered through an IP port in my abdomen, followed the next week by taxol only through a port in my chest. My worst day on my first go round with chemo in 2005 was 10 times better than my best day on this. For the next six months life consisted of puking, trying to drink enough water, going to the hospital for blood transfusions. After the fourth IP infusion, my kidneys shut down and I had to be hospitalized for that. I had to finish the chemo through the chest port only. So it's been two and half months since my last chemo. My hair is starting to come back. I can eat again...although it was a lousy diet, I didn't mind losing 45 pounds because of the chemo. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, though.

This is how I got to know my new granddaughter, Evie. I was too sick and weak to hold her most of the time, so we'd put her by me on the bed. This shot was taken in February, after two chemo rounds.

In April, my family and friends supported me in raising money to donate to Huntsman Cancer Hospital through a program called Hometown Heros. We raised $4000 as a team of eight. We walked a 5K on a cold Saturday morning...well OK, my team walked. I was pushed in a wheelchair. Not a bad ride, and I didn't throw up once on the route. It was exhilarating to be cheered across the finish line by those lining the route.

By May my hair was gone, but I had eyebrows left. Being too sick to work in my own garden, friends would rejuvenate my spirit by taking me on outings to public gardens. This was taken at Thanksgiving Point when my good friend Sandra took me for a tulip outing.

So there you have it--why I am happy to be 49. It means I'm still here...and I'm grateful to be getting my hair back and slowly getting back to normal. My friends and family have stood by my side through it all--from Dave who was with me every minute of every hospital stay, my sisters who traveled to be by my bedside and clean up after my puke, not to mention cleaning my house, my kids who were just always there, my mom and her husband, Jerry who worked in my yard doing spring clean-up, brought me gifts large and small, and friends and neighbors who showed up with food, flowers, books, gifts of time and labor. One dear friend, Paula, has come every weekday morning all summer long and pulled weeds and dead-headed flowers--it's due to her diligence that my garden looks as good s it does this year. I LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Happy birthday to me.

1 comment:

mamannon said...

Kim, your blog is inspiring. Best wishes to you!