Friday, June 25, 2010

Chemo Day!

How on earth does an 'end stage' cancer patient wake up and face a second round 
of poisonous chemo with a smile on the face?  
Well, sit back, pour yourself a glass of red wine, dig up a piece of that 'sinfully delicious' 70% cocoa chocolate you've got stashed away in the back of your sock drawer 
(relax, both items are scientifically sanctioned as cancer fighters - Woot!) 
and I will give you an eye-witness account:
First of all, we asked for specific prayer for a restful, rejuvenating sleep after our harrowing experience with the CT scanner in Munich yesterday and voila! .... Mom rec'd the best nights sleep she's had in months!  I tiptoed into her room at 7:30 am and accidentally woke her up....
Then I sheepishly - hastily - retreated to my own room, berating myself all down the hallway for doubting the power of your prayers.
Lesson 101 in Letting go and Letting God means exactly that.  
So shut-up Joanne and take your lumps!
Add to this scenario - a sky full of brilliant delicious warmth and a terrace breakfast bathed in sunshine and Mom's near perfect readings for blood pressure and sugar levels
and I am humbled to the core.
The grounds behind the Leonardis clinic
Mom's arm is getting back to a new normal and spends the whole morning outside with her IV pole hovering over us - soaking in the herbal chemo infusions with one side of the body and packing a mean six dice round with the other.  Trouncing me, truth be told!

I decide to get ruthless.....
I wander off below with my camera and leave her reading instead. 
 Enough punishment!
In it's heyday - this clinic must have grown all its own organic veggies and herbs.
It looks like it's still being used despite it's decrepit state....
This appears to be a neglected chicken coop?  The eggs we eat at breakfast at definitely free range - very orange coloured yolks.  But I don't think the layers live around here anymore.
I'm approaching an official Norfolk Pine growing in it's natural habitat.
That's cool.  I once had one in my living room back home.  Picked it up from a Garden Centre and managed to keep it alive for, oh say -  about 4 months.  :)  
No green thumb here.  Never was and never will be.

So I can't keep them alive if my own life depended on it, but I can admire them in the place they were meant to grow.  That's got to count for something!
Coming back up thru the environmentally protected area to check on Mom and see if she's noticed that I've abandoned her yet.  LOL.  
Then Doctor D came by to visit us.  He outlined the afternoon procedure and told us
to prepare for a 3 to 4 hour marathon in the chemo chair - said he'd wire Mom up to EECP (Enhanced External CounterPulsation) which is admittedly, a somewhat outdated method of enhancing peripheral blood circulation during the chemo treatment.  Wait till you see what THAT looks like! (below)  
He proceeded to confirm what Mom had already long suspected:
the CT scan shows that her tumours have already grown & multiplied from last months' CT images
taken at the Juravinski Centre.  Her cancer is terminal and very aggressive.

Do you know what my mother did when he left our table??

She smoothed out the tablecloth with resolute precision, turned to our interrupted game of six dice
and said,"Who's turn is it?"
Why am I so continually surprised by this woman?
When am I ever going to 'get it'?
Chemo IV's have a distinct ominous look about them but nothing compared to this EECP bed that she allowed herself to be strapped into.  It fired up with a loud drone and pulsated so strongly, Mom's body jerked up a few inches every few seconds.  The surprise was so great we laughed hysterically till I couldn't decide if Mom was laughing or crying.  But no.  She was laughing and of course, felt the need for a bathroom not too long afterward.  She hung in there for another half hour only because I threatened to scour the cupboards for the depends supply ... so with one chemo down and one to go - she voluntarily disengaged herself from that indignity and decided to get her blood circulating with a good old-fashioned walk around the block after chemo instead!  
Pfft!  Stupid thing looks like some kind of execution device!
It only testifies to Mom's strong constitution and commitment to putting up the best possible fight 
despite all odds for increasing her survival time.
I think we'll stick to this room with the full body massage water bed. Yes sirree! 
We're going to spend a lot more time on this side of the lower level for sure.

Do you see the ant in this peony?  
Did you know that a peony needs ants to open up its bud and blossom?
Such infinitesimal breathtaking detail in our fallen world.
Can you imagine yourself under the constant watch and care of such a Creator?
This is how my mother faces second line treatment for metastisized breast cancer 
with a smile on her face:
She lives out Lesson 101 on Letting Go and Letting God.
All you prayer warriors out there?  Keep at it, cuz it's working.
  Praise be to God!


  1. Comfort:
    The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you!

  2. Too bad about the cancer spreading:( But I am not surprised at Grandma's reaction. Glad you got a good night's sleep! Praying.

  3. Thinking of you... and thank-you for putting a smile on my face as I read your blog. Prayers continue to go up for your Mom.


  4. Elizabeth Vis and Sharon VisSunday, June 27, 2010 at 8:08:00 PM EDT

    Hi Sis.
    After two weeks finally am home from tony's. Sharon found you on the internet so i can write to you right now. Love you and am praying for you daily. Miss you.
    You always were one for traveling!=) Am really glad to see you up and going for walks. It looks beautiful there. Will you get a chance to meet with Case and Tini?
    I would say keep your chin up but we all know you will anyway..and it looks like it.
    Love you. Miss you.
    Liz and Sharon


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