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Getting There

For the past few weeks, life has continued with its sedate, chemotherapy pace. Our various efforts have achieved the desired result of increasing my white blood count. Accordingly, my treatments have been able to continue on schedule. Full confidence that next Tuesday - finally, after six long months – will be my last treatment. It will be "Taxol 12 and done!" Hooray – and a sliver of some sweet dessert and tea to follow![1]

The timing is doubly good as next week is also our 24th Anniversary. We have much to celebrate, affirming the goodness of life and love. Grateful for resilience and being held in the support of community – expressed in so many different ways. We’ll get through all of this.

I have to admit that the chemo has caught up with me over the last few weeks. I’ve developed some neuropathy in my fingers and toes. Potions and lotions are helping. L-Glutamine, a bust. The pleasant walking loop down to and along the river before heading back up the hill has become a personal Kilimanjaro (and not accomplished as often). My golfing activities have been confined to taking photographs at the Club Championships over the August long weekend. Overall I’m still doing very well but it will take a while to rebuild my strength and stamina. My hair is already making a comeback.

As it turns out, I’ll have four weeks to recover before my surgery, which has now been set for September 20th. This feels Very Soon – we’d anticipated a little longer as a respite. I met with my surgeon last Tuesday to make a plan for the coming phase. I’ll have a mastectomy and an axillar (lymph) dissection. This is as I’d anticipated – oriented more to cure than conservation. The meeting was a little different than I’d anticipated with less discussion and more ‘on the spot’ decision-making. I was very glad that I’d had the chance beforehand to talk options through with some knowledgeable people and browse some of the studies. Otherwise I’d have felt a little ‘lost and tossed’ and less confident in my choices. I’ll get some pre-surgery tests and convalescence information on September 9. There won’t be any scans before surgery; the pathology will tell that story after the fact. As scans are not always reliable, it’s not the end of the world to have to wait a little longer for my report card. Onwards.

We will shape a plan for the period around my surgery and recovery. We’ll also carve out a week of mini-staycation without appointments beforehand and fill it with some swimming, walking, lounging around together and even sedate golfing (as to which my PICC line comes out next Friday).

Meanwhile, the Olympics have been a welcome distraction. I get to cheer for two countries! The excitement of Rugby Sevens (a sport I’d never watched before but of which I am now a fan) and sprinting has been balanced with what’s been called the ‘glacial pace’ of Olympic golf and the great satisfaction of seeing the Canadian women win bronze in soccer (where scoring is fairly glacial itself!).

Angie has been continuing her recuperation. I mentioned in our last note that she’d been connected to local transportation for her appointments (volunteer drivers in their own cars). She went one better in July – with the actual transport adapté bus coming down our lane to pick her up (see photo)!. And, of course, she continues to be a real trouper through it all. She’s conjured nourishing lunches for me (and my chemo companion, Jackie), endured dish duty during the worst of my neuropathy, tempted my fading taste buds, and generally kept house, heart and home together.

Hope you have been enjoying the pleasures of the season – whether summer or winter depending on Hemisphere. We’ve certainly enjoyed the freedom offered by sun and heat (with the occasional deluge). A dock day image attached.

With lots of love,

[1] To wit: pavlova. An airy, cream-covered, meringue/marshmallow dessert. A New Zealand invention and tradition, despite any protestations from Australians. I did indeed make it after T12 and enjoyed the treat!

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