Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 25

Thank you for waiting...

I'm still getting settled in at the Gomes Ranch, but I'm happy to report that the California sunshine is reinvigorating this California girl! The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, so here's a summary:

Day 21

Mom began her first round of Chemotheraphy with the Folfirinox. The staff at Kaiser Santa Clara (KSC) was attentive and positive. Bag #1 was a piece of cake. Bag #2 brought on some sweats and nausea, which the attending infusion specialists quickly addressed by halting the treatment, administering a counter medication until she regulated and then began again. Bag #3 came home with mom in a small shoulder bag.

Day 22

I arrived at SFO in the morning and came home to a tired, but cheerful Denise. We both feel the relief of finally being together. Thank you to all of you who helped make this reunion possible. Mom did experience some nausea and loss of appetite, but part of that was due to some confusion regarding the days she needs to take her anti-nausea, which we remedied.

Day 23

We returned to KSC to have the bag removed from her port, which was a quick and painless procedure.

Mom did much better with her nausea and was able to eat hearty portions. In fact, we even made a visit to Carter & Tonda, who live just moments from KSC. It was great to get out of the house and play a little. Carter loved the haircut so much, he said she should've done it years ago... I'd say she's not looking half bad for post-chemo!

Day 24

We had a lovely, quiet Saturday. Our only venture was out to KSC for a quick tuturial on how to administer her daily shot of Neupogen, which is designed to stimulate white blood cells in her bone marrow. Along with the cancer cells, the chemo will have a strong effect on her white blood cells - little disease fighting soldier cells - which only have a life cycle of 7-10 days.
So, once a day for 6 days, I'll be poking mama in the tummy with her daily dose. Even though we were both a little intimidated by the first shot (she's not such a big fan of needles) it was easy and painless.

Then, since Mom had been craving pizza, we stopped by Woodside Bakery for some fresh pizza dough and fixed up our own all-natural margarita pizza. It hit the spot!

Day 25

Mom has experienced some mild congestion over the past week, which seemed to culminate in a headache this morning. So, we called to the Advice Line and they set up an appointment earlier this afternoon to have her checked at the KSC clinic. We were seen quickly and given good news that her lungs are clear, she has no fever, and is most likely experience mild congestion - no infection. So, with a little nasal inhaler and some OTC Allegra, we were back home. Already she's feeling much better. Better safe than sorry!

I hope this gives you all a better picture of where we are. We're still navigating this new routine. Once we have our camp set up, we'll be able to reach out more.

Even though we've come pretty far, we've only been at this fight for less than a month. Thank you again to all of you who have helped us rally. Reaching out to you and being available to your need to keep close to this beautiful woman is forefront on my heart. As we move forward, please know that we want all of you with us.

As for me...

I had a rather rough evening on Friday. The overwhelming truth of it all is much more acute now that I'm here. The old calming methods I carry in my bag of self-care tricks aren't quite up to snuff anymore. I feel fit to burst at times. Spending some time in the hot tub, breathing, stretching and singing have been truly rewarding.

It seems a miracle to me that we exhale a fatally poisonous gas, Carbon Dioxide, which the Earth receives and converts into the Oxygen we need to live. Similarly, as I release the toxic angst of this painful time and entrust it to the world around me, I can be still in the hope that what I release may return to me a nourishing and healing sustenance. Though release feels less intuitive than resistance as I face the battle ahead, it is only when I let go that I feel truly at peace.


  1. Well sounds like the 2 of you are beginning a new routine. Niecey, you look as gorgeous as always. Love your new doo! Jess, you are a trooper and I know God will hold you up. I remember your Mom telling me how you sang to Josh after his accident and it must be healing for both of you to sing together now. All my love and prayers are with both of you! xoxo, Kathy

  2. I really enjoyed the stories you two shared with me. We still need a name for our club! :) I love us plotting and planning again, just like when we were kids. Love you guys!

  3. A poem from Mary A. Rothman:
    Life Isn't Always Easy

    Life can be unfair at times,
    and those are the times
    when you must maintain faith
    and never let go.
    It is especially during the difficult times
    that you must live your life
    to its fullest potential.
    Those are the times to triump
    over circumstances
    with hope and courage.
    Life isn't always easy,
    but if you keep going and persevere
    to the very best of you ability,
    you will gain strength to manage
    the new challenges ahead.
    Each goal that you reach
    is another important step forward.
    Believe that there are
    bright and wonderful days
    ahead for you,
    and you will find them.

    Denise keep on glowing as a golden poppy, I love the hair, you
    look like Jaimie Lee Curtis and I absolutly love her...
    xoxox, Jerilyn

  4. Sigh..... now I can breathe again right along with you Jess. Been just so anxious to hear how things were going. Thanks so much for the update. Sending as much love and healing prayers as possible here, for both of you sweetie. You do need to take care of yourself too, it's actually just part of taking care of MaMa D. This kind of journey is the hardest for us humans....Just ask for strength from Jesus, you and Denise. You will receive it as promised. Just, please Jesus, please pour your holy spirit over Denise, Johnny, Jessica, their home and all who enter or are there in spirit. Please let them feel your peace as we all lean on you and trust you with our very souls. Thank you for your grace and mercy. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Love, Darla

  5. Dearest Denise, John and Jess, You are with me daily as I walk the journey with you in my heart. Our love and prayers for healing and peace are with you all. We love you all, Doreen and Michael

  6. "You just need to stretch more," Uncle Batman.

    Yes, the old won't work. That was for then, your new personal work will now reveal what other resources you've got within you...and red, they are vast. Are you seeking a therapist down there?

  7. Denise, I love your haircut I think it looks great on you.

  8. Aunt Dee,

    The haircut is one of your best! We love it. You are in our daily prayers, and know you are loved. I wish this could all be cured with a hug - we all feel so helpless in knowing what to say or how we can help.

    Jessie -

    Thank God for you ! The only thing I can offer is to take good care of yourself too. This may be a good time to take up jogging. It will help you get rid of the negative energy and give you a healthy outlet to clear your mind. We really appreciate your writing and efforts to keep us all informed. Big hugs to you cuz!

    Scott, Susie, Katie and Cassidy

  9. Denise,

    I have not heard how you are doing lately. I came here to see, but as Jess and Benj are preparing for their journey to be with you, which I am so thankful for, I am sure Jess has not had a chance to update this blog. I think of you everyday. Love, Clari