Well, things are getting a little tougher, as I was warned they would during the 4th and 5th cycles. For the first time I had to take an extra medical leave day after spending nearly half a day getting dressed for work but consistently also getting dizzy and short of breath walking from room to room and as a result spent most of the last 3 days hanging out in front of the new TV on the recliner. Which is really not such a bad way to spend 3 days if you ignore the dirty dishes piling up and the undone laundry and the basically absence of any productive activity in your life. I suspect the problem was mainly a hemoglobin (the stuff in your red blood cells that carries oxygen and thereby fuel to the rest of your body) that keeps hanging at barely 8 despite erythropoitin for 3 weeks in a row, a bit of dehydration from not being careful enough about how much I was drinking. And maybe it matters that for the first time my ANC (absolute neutrophil count) was below the risky point where I have to have it checked again on Monday and, if it has not come up, have to delay the chemo dose for a while. Hopefully that won't happen. But it also means that I probably need to get more serious about avoiding crowds and therefore opportunities to get infected. Suspect I will be taking more medical leave days and working from home more for the fore seeable future. And Maybe there is a transfusion in my future.
But it was predicted. It removes the concern I secretly had that maybe the chemo was not going to work because it had all been just too easy so far. AND I have such incredible support. Examples below:
HEALING PLACES 1:
An interesting recent string of possibly unrelated events. First there were those intermittent supportive emails from Debsingsongs (Mac never but SOB sometime between '68-'76) and her sister from North Carolina. Then out of the blue there was that Facebook message from Charmaine Mac '75 and SoB '75 offering to put me on her congrgations' prayer list. Since Charmaine has traded in her gigantic AFro for the title Reverand but kept the soaring singing voice, I suspect that is a pretty large prayer list. Then there were, in rapid succession, the supportive email from Andrea Tibbet SoB now, then Gary Mac '74 SoB '68-2010 forwarding a newpaper article that originaed with Debsingsongs, followed by a second email from Gary Mac '74 SoB '68-2010 containing those emails that speaks instead of typing, specifically the song
The Path to Healing" from the most recent Sounds of Blackness CD "The Third Gift" leading into a string of selected voice emails dating from the days of prep for the Mac cluster reunion in June of 2009 (carefully selected to eliminate all the ones accompanied by the sounds of gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth to leave only those evoking happy memories).
Prehaps I imagin it. But it feels an awful lot like a conspiracy of support.
Thanks guys. Your timing was excellent, arriving just when things got rough. My technologically unchallenged nephew Judson instructed me on how to drag to iTunes (at least I hope it succeeded but just in case i am holding on to the original email, whcih I listened to again tonight).
And maybe this is a good time to reciprocate by copying in the message below for any one who wants to know how to access the most recent CD from that group that began as the Macalester College Black STudent Choir and grew into the 3 times GRammy award winning Sounds of Blackness. (see below)
"THE 3RD GIFT" the new life-changing CD by Grammy-Award winning SOUNDS OF BLACKNESS.
Available Now At BEST BUY, Sam Goody, Electric Fetus and Online At Borders.com, Amazon.com,
CD Baby, ITunes, Best Buy.com, Wal-Mart.com, IODA
Please Call your local radio stations and request our 2nd Single “GOD IS LOVE” from our new CD,
"THE 3RD GIFT: STORY, SONG & SPIRIT".
Please share this info with your friends, family, church and co-workers.
Thank you in advance for your support!
HEALING PLACES 2:
Jackson County continues to be an awfully nice place to have grown up in if you find yourseful in need of support.
Ahoy high school classmates - Dennis Fleetwood is alive and well, living in Ohio and called to be supportive but pointed out to me that I am not so very good at accepting support without trying to reciprocate. While he is correct, I did point out to him that by working hard at accepting all support offered I had gotten much better about that than I used to be... (note to self: maybe you should erase the reciprocating message about how to support the latest CD from Sounds of Blackness above. Or maybe you can just wait till Monday to work on your next set of improvements in that direction).
I continue to get messages from others in Jackson county, some recovering from their own set of medical work, offering support and if I need it, rides to chemo. Thanks guys, but at this point all but about 3 dates have already been chosen by local volunteers and there are additional local folks who have asked me to call if I need help. So while I really apprecaite your support and you cannot imagin how good it has felt to know you are in my corner when needed, for now I think it will not be necessary for anyone to drive 250 miles to Atlanta just to turn around and drive me back to Gainesville. But I love you all for offering.
And I continue to work my way through the items in the gift box from Sylva First Baptist that arrived with Ginny in time for my first chemo and to appreciate you all whenever I use any one of them.
HEALING PLACES 3:
To all who, anticipating this point in the chemo, sent those gifts of bubble bath, moisturinzing soaps, floating rubber duckies, skin rub, and so on - know that I am enjoying them all. When the TV gets old and the dizzy walking from room to room makes it too tiring to attempt anything else I fill the tub with hot water and just soak to my heart's content. Or at least until it becomes chilly and uncomfortable.
HEALING PLACES 4:
In addition to the phone call from Nathan and the Virginia Walkers (sorry Nathan, I heard it ringing but thought it was background noise in the cop show I was watching on TV until I found your voice mail Saturday morning), I am anticipating visits in the coming weeks from cousins from Arkansas and my sister from eastern Carolina. WARNING: the house may be a bit of a mess since I am not succeeding in keeping up with the laundry and dishes just now but...your company and support will be welcome.
HEALING PLACES 5:
Balsam would make a really excellent watching TV pillow if he did not (1) reek so supremely of hound dog and (2) have an unfortunately habit of sticking his face between your eyes and the TV while doing slurpy slobbery things to your neck now and then.