Friday, July 9, 2010

Enjoy the View

Another weekend is upon us. I don't know how time has flown by so quickly!

My Fourth of July holiday was fabulous; everything we expected it to be and more. The Mount Washington Resort is spectacular, although I think if we went back we would choose not to go on the Fourth of July. It was slightly too busy on the Fourth. The Resort had arranged for some reenactments of the Revolutionary War and the Gettysburg address. Driving up to the resort, we thought our car was getting hit by a bevy of errant golf balls from the nearby course, it wasn't until we turned a corner that we saw men in uniform and on horseback setting off fake cannon fire that we realized the banging sounds we heard were the blanks from the cannon! My little Jetta made it back from New Hampshire unscathed. While sitting on rocking chairs with a cup of coffee looking out at Mount Washington, you truly think that you could be the only person on the planet. Seeing children in the other room sitting on Abraham Lincoln's lap taking pictures takes away a bit of the wonder of the mountains.  But other than the reenactments, the trip was perfect!

We could have stayed there forever. Every morning coffee and juice was delivered to our door so we could stay in bed as long as possible. The food was out of this world and the service was impeccable. No fewer than four people helped us out of the car and with our luggage. Our waitress was adorable and attentive and we had the same waitress and busboy the whole weekend. We spent a day at the spa, sitting together in robes with tea, and saunas, and whirlpools, getting a massage and a facial. We wandered the grounds together hand in hand. It was exactly what we needed.

It is actually not until those moments of total and complete relaxation that the enormity of our situation can be truly understood. When we are in the moment and in a doctor's office or waiting room, we are just trying to make it through the day. The stress we carry day in and day out can be so overwhelming that it is actually incapacitating. The stress actually takes away our ability to look at our situation as a whole. I believe that at those most crucial moments, like scan times, if we were to take a step back and truly comprehend the amount of stress on our shoulders, we would crumble.

It wasn't until we had been at the resort for two days, after the massage, when my husband and I were sitting quietly holding hands and staring at the majestic Appalachians that it washed over us. We looked at each other and had a new found respect for our relationship. We had made it. We made it through another trial, another roadblock, another test, and we have come out the other end and still found each other. We have found this magical place.

But we didn't just sit around and get pampered. We also explored the mountains. At a friend's suggestion (Thank you, Molly!) we took an afternoon hike up Mount Willard. Big Man was adorable. He stopped after crossing any rock or little dribble of water or slight incline and offered me his hand. He looked afraid that I would break. I just plunged forward, head down, eyes wide open, and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Although we ended up at 2,800 feet when we reached the summit, the hike was only a mile and a half each way, but it was quite steep. That said, when we reached the summit, the view was absolutely breathtaking!

I was suddenly giddy! Can you believe it, people? This time last month I couldn't get out of bed. Just two weeks ago, my platelet count was at 15,000 and I needed blood transfusions. I couldn't walk from my bed to the kitchen for a glass of water let alone hike up a mountain!  I wanted to do it again. I wanted to do Mount Washington! I could totally do an eight hour hike up to the top of Mount Washington, so what that its the highest peak in New England. I'm totally healthy! When we got to the bottom, I was talking about hiking the whole Appalachian Trail!

Big Man laughed, shook his head, kissed my forehead, grabbed my hand and said, "Let's go put you to bed!"

Big Man knows me too well. He knows this journey too well. I fell asleep in the middle of fireworks.
 I could barely move the next day. I may be handling it well, but the silver bullet is still chemotherapy. But one day, one day, that silly little Appalachian Trail won't know what hit it! I'm scheduled to go in for my next TDM1 infusion on July 21st, but today, we are triumphant! Today our heads are clear and we can climb any mountain. It's amazing what summer vacations can do.

Happy Friday, everyone! Get out there and climb your own personal mountains this weekend.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Think I Might Be Winning!!!!!

I wanted to start everyone's holiday weekend off on the right foot. Get the champagne out, people. Put away the Big Girl Pants and put on your prettiest pair of Party Pants because I am winning this battle.

That's right, you heard me. After months of set backs and pain and side effects and trying oh-so-very-hard to keep a smile, I finally got one piece of good news!

Yesterday, my scans showed that the cancer in my liver had SHRUNK!!!!!!!!!

This TDM1 really might be that silver bullet I had hoped for. Now, it isn't a cure, but it is clearly working.

For the past four years, one liver spot had been there, lurking. It hadn't changed size or shape in four years. It hadn't grown, but it certainly hadn't shrunk. Then, a few months ago, a second little bugger in my liver showed up. The scans yesterday showed that, after only two rounds of TDM1, both tumors had shrunk visibly. One went from 2.8mm to 1.3mm. The other had shrunk from 1.6mm to .8mm.

My Doctor was gleeful and I take my cues from her. I'm not planning for dozens of little pants babies quite yet, but I could have the year of quiet that I had hoped and prayed for. I might even have a couple years of normalcy and quiet. The goal is that these suckers keep shrinking and that the side effects remain manageable. My heart function dropped slightly, but it was still above the 50% mark, so we are not going to worry about that today. I am going to exercise and try to keep the ol' tinker in Lance Armstrong-style shape so that this drug can continue working its magic.

My cancer had been humming along in my body for the past four years and now its been hit with a new drug and it doesn't know what hit it! Here's hoping my little silver bullet keeps killing and keeps shrinking. But let's not hope for too much.

Today, I am going to take this news and stick it in my back pocket. I am going to enjoy a fabulous Fourth of July weekend. Big Man and I are going to let our hair down and let our breath come out in a big sigh of relief. We are going to start planning our futures as all 26 and 30 year old's should do. The world is our oyster today, and I must say, we earned it.