It has been a month since my last journal entry - which, in itself, is good news! Here is a short list of what's been going on for the past few weeks...
Jack's hearing has again diminished. He has three appointmnets next week to see what is going on. Hopefully one of the doctors can cast some light and relief in Jack's directionl
Jack had more lab tests which revealed that his cancer markers have risen again. His primary oncologist wants to wait a month before deciding on a possible chemotherapy plan. She believes that the last thing Jack needs right now is to have more pills thrown at him. She assured us that waiting a month to respond to this news would not affect Jack in the long-term. Keep the prayers coming, please!
Jack's back pain has been incessant. His oncologist scheduled an MRI to determine if the cancer had opened up any new fissures in his vertebra. The MRI was very painful for Jack -- after lying arched on his back for over an hour, he came out of the test with tears in his eyes. He has been so brave and so patient throughout the course of his treatments and testing. This test showed no change in Jack's spine, which we consider to be good news!
Jack's weight seems to have stabilized at 100 pounds less than what he weighed at the start of the year - and he has not had any bouts with nausea in 3 weeks. Hooray! I suppose it has just taken this long for his guts to heal form the stem cell transplant chemo and the pneumonia antibiotics which, together, packed quite a wallop. Jack has actually started asking for a variety of foods - a milk shake, fried eggs, etc. - which is a huge change for him. Pretty soon, I can almost imagine me telling him he has to stop eating so much - Ha!
About three weeks ago, Jack's hair started growing back in. I first noticed it when I saw whiskers on his chin. Then, about a week and a half ago, the hair on his head suddenly started growing back in - a beautiful dark gray. I could care less about hair - really! - but the new hair represents another step toward healing form the chemo. And my ne-er complaining Jack has now groused a time or two about having to shave after 6 months of not needing to lift a razor. It makes me smile to see him looking and feeling better.
Jack checked with the pain management doctor (who prescribes all of his pain medications), and was given the go-ahead to start driving a car, provided he felt alert and attentie. Last weekend, Jack took me for a 20-minute spin through the local neighborhoods. I felt a bit like a mother taking her teenager out for the first trial run drive -- nervousness set in as soon as Jack started backing his car out of the garage! Jack did just fine and said it felt like he'd just escaped from prison. Imagine, for yourself, what it must feel like to have not driven a car for the past 9 months, and then to be suddenly given your car keys. Wheee! Of course, his future trips will be with me by his side and they will likely be short - to the grocery store, to the kids' homes (they each live within 3 blocks of our house), etc. It is GREAT news to know that Jack can drive when he needs to now!...
So, all in all, we are a happy bunch. Jack still has lots of struggles -- his back hurts all the time, his sleep patterns are terribly erratic, and he really does need to ultimately conquer meat-eating so that he can increase his protein intake and raise his blood counts... but for now, we are pleased at his progress. As for me, I remain on the borderline of exhaustion most days, but I'm so glad to see Jack doing as well as he is that I can easily set it aside. Last Christmas, when he was first diagnosed with cancer, I had no idea what was in store for us. I'm not foolish enough to say that we have learned a lot and wouldn't trade the experience for anything - but I an at least say that we appreciate each other and each day more than we ever did before. We rejoice in the support of family and friends - and are ever thankful for your hopes, prayers, and helpfulness. I will likely update the journal again in a few weeks - and hopefully only with good news!
With love and thanks to everyone --
Sue and Jack
AUTHOR'S QUICK NOTE
I forgot to mention - Jack's stem cell oncologist cleared him all restrictions regarding visitors, food, driving, wearing a mask, and even having an occasional glass of wine. Yay!
It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter
That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived !