I can't thank my friends and family enough for the support and encouragement over the last 3-months in making my Race for Daisy possible. I was inspired and moved by the words and stories shared and the overwhelming generosity helped me far exceed my fund-raising goals. I was able to raise a total of $5435 for the the cause.
I'm proud to say that our Team-in-Training group raised an average of $37,000 for each mile of the 31-mile Pacific Grove course. That's close to $1.2 million that goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's ongoing fight against blood cancers – which helps fund research that's responsible for treatments like Daisy underwent back in June.
The whole experience was a blast. Again, thank you.
I hope you are all doing well in jobs and school and vacations and in your harvesting. Yes, I'm home from the hospital once again. I've been out for just over a week now but back-pain has prevented me from writing sooner. It's been a constant chore to cough and blow out all the gunk that seems to perpetually be produced in my sinuses. We suspect coughing and in-activity caused the back pain. The coughing is apparently a normal part of the process after the two surgeries I went through, first, the broncoscopy and then an endoscopy of the sinuses. I think that's what it's called, but it's referred to by the nurses as the "roto-rooter". It's kind of ugly. They put you out and put in the breathing tube and everything. I don't remember any of it and was woozy in the head for the next couple days from the "donkey doses" of drugs. Then they go in your nose and plow though all the minor walls of the sinuses to clean out infection-gathering gunk, like puss and mucus, so that it "drains better." Well, a couple days later when blood was pouring out my nose for four hours one night, it was defiantly 'draining better'.
The bloody nose struck at about 4AM one morning, probably from blowing it just a tad too hard or too much for the freshly clotted scars inside. It was horrible and I was coughing up blood clots the size of bite-size blueberry muffins. They were so gross to suck out and spit out. The clot itself, I must say, I did find fascinating. I was about as fascinated with its bright color and texture as my doctor was surprised at its size. Hmm. I was finally rescued that morning at about 8AM. It was torture. They basically crammed a bunch of special gauze up my nostril which deteriorated on its own after about a week. Now three weeks since then, I go through a couple hankies a day coughing stuff out but it's slowly getting better. There's also the green tongue syndrome which at one point had my whole tongue green and mossy looking and, of course, gross tasting. My doctors said it's from the antibiotics and it'll eventually get better on its own, especially as they cutback the antibiotics. In the mean time, of course, I get to just deal. It's about half gone now which is enough to let my appetite slowly come back a bit. Food is also staying down, for the most part too, but I have to be very careful not to cough too hard. I need to keep my lungs clear so infections and problems don't accumulate again so I have to cough deeply but still avoid allowing it to trigger the vacating of my stomach in an uncomfortable, sporadic and erupting sort of way.
The game-plan now, as I understand it, is just the slow road to recovery: of my muscles and endurance but most importantly of the immune system. There is at least one more dose of chemotherapy in the works for me but I don't know when that'll be. Some time soon, they'll be reducing the amount of immunosuppressants I need to take. Until now, it's been keeping Ben's cells and my cells in check, so neither totally overpowers the other and Ben can make a slow but strong take-over, without getting carried away and destroying things. Comming off the suppressants is a relief to think about but I don't know the details about it yet, like if it could allow some graft vs. host disease to emerge. We'll see.
Life at home has been a relief from the hospital. There's at least food I can eat where as the hospital cuisine was something like hitting your stomach with a plank. Sherpa-dog is also around to nuzzle my knee or encourage me to take walks even though I feel completely exhausted most of the time. I have energy for a few hours in the morning and then need to take a nap in the afternoon. When I first arrived home after the most recent three weeks in the hospital, Sherpa-dog jumped into the driver's seat of the car as Dad got out and refused to move for an hour and a half! He just sat in the car despite our bidding and calling and tempting with biscuits. He was afraid the car would take me away again and he didn't want to be left. Towards the end of the hour and a half I'd taken a bowl of popcorn to munch on and went and sat with him. Then company drove up to the house and he started barking but still wouldn't move from the car until, combined with my encouragement to "Go get 'em!" he finally budged! Now he just naps on my feet or sleeps outside my bedroom door (too many germs to let into my room) when he feels he needs to keep track of me. I love that doggie. There's so much joy and optimism and enthusiasm in his eyes and how he wiggles the back-half of his body when he wags his little docked tail.
Dad and I took him canoeing the other day on a local pond. He did pretty well! He lapped water from one side of the boat and then frantically went to the other side to lap-up more water, and then back to the first side! Finally we got him to sit down. I'm glad he didn't swamp us. The doctors finally took one of my two ports in my chest out so I don't have tubes with little valves on the ends of them dangling from my chest any more, but I'm still glad Sherpa didn't make me get wet and muddy. I did well too, I just slept all afternoon after that.
I'm almost done renovating the tent I sewed back in high school! That has been my main project when I "have juice." It's certainly not the most eloquent stitchery but it should do the job. After a little bit more work, it should be complete and I'll move on to finishing the sleeping bag I started in Ecuador.
My family is doing well. Dad is out making firewood like crazy this year. He's also canning tomatoes and taking apart and rebuilding his motorcycles. Mom continues to manage the nature shop at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Then she comes home and tends to my every possible need. I don't know how she does it. I made her promise to take herself to the beach for a few days in the coming weeks so she can spend some time relaxing. Hopefully it works. Ben has re-enrolled in the University of Colorado at Bolder as an undergrad in bio-chemical engineering (Erg! or something like that, where they seem to speak a different language!). He's glad to be studying again and also glad his stem cells are doing well, though, I think he has been confident about that all along.
So I made it to my 27th birthday! It's today, September 7th. We're going canoeing with my aunt, uncle and my grandma who turns 90 today. Sherpa-dog will not be coming. He'll have to wait until another time.
This past Sunday, over Labor Day weekend, our team road-tripped south 2.5-hours to Monterey to do a practice-tri on the Pacific Grove course which we'll be racing on the 13th. That's less than two weeks away, woo hoo! We did approximately 2/3 of the course... swam for 30 minutes, rode 25 miles, and did a 4 mile run. Here are a few pics.
Here are some pictures from about a month back when Daisy's Salsa friends, and family, visited her at the hospital to get her Salsa-ing again. There's nothing like the healing properties of shakin' that body.