Sunday, August 5, 2012

Two Great Days.....

After the week we had, I wasn't sure where our future was heading with regards to the side effects of the chemotherapy. Zack had such a reaction , he couldn't eat, barely slept and was very uncomfortable. He woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit better so he and Frank made arrangements to go to Spruce Pine ( 2 hrs away)  to look at a car. Zack had  found a classic 1971 Galaxy which a man was restoring, but since he has twins on the way, he needed to sell his project. He has all the new and renovated parts including the upholstery for the front seat, lights, bumpers front and back. The man primed it so it is ready to paint. It runs really well and though it is a "tank" it is perfect for him to drive around town and for $700.00 it's a great deal.

Before leaving Zack took one of his anti-nausea pills. He was a bit leery about the trip, but decided that he could feel sick in the car or at home so he might as well have a little fun. It was on that trip that he felt maybe the medicine was making him more nauseous. He decided not to take any more and by late in the evening was feeling 100% better. He was able to eat dinner (which was unusual of late)n and instead of laying in his bed, joined Frank and I for a (horrible) movie about dragons. It was so good to see him laugh and cut up with us again. We were making fun of the terrible acting and theme of the movie.

It is Sunday morning. Frank decided to get some fishing in, and I was running around the house getting it in order for company which was arriving around 11 am for lunch. Zack wakes up and is looking great! He had another great nights sleep and announces that he is not nauseous!  I fix us some muffins for breakfast and his face lights up! I haven't seen him enjoy food for a week now. He tells me that he really does think it's the anti nausea medicine that made him feel worse. I love that he is figuring what his body needs.

I remind him of our "company" and ask him to do the dishes, take out the trash and start his laundry. He says "this is what I get for feeling better?" I said "Yup!!" aren't you glad you do? We both laugh. He admits that it is kind of cool! Every day that we can be "normal" is a gift. As we are preparing everything, we get a call from Linda (my mother in law), she is trying to locate the "kids", as Franks Dad is again being rushed by Ambulance to the Hospital.  Big John, as everyone calls him, has been in and out of the hospital many many times in the past years. He has diabetes, heart problems, breathing problems. This is not an uncommon call,  but every call is just as important as it could be the last. I can't reach Frank, so Linda asks me to call either Mitch or Shawn ( Franks brother and sister ). I reach them and let them know I'll tell Frank as soon as I can reach him. (By the time Frank returned home, he had already talked with Linda and John was already back home)

We are expecting my sister Rhonda and her sons, Peter, Jimmy and Nick, Nicks sweetie pie (and ours) Havley, her mother Leslie and brother Forrest. This is a planned luncheon so that Forrest and Zack could meet. (my apologies if this is duplication) Forrest had bone cancer in his knee three years ago, when he was 17 yrs old. He went through a very similar protocol as Zack with the same Doctors and Nurses. It is so interesting to compare notes (already), talk about the same characters in our already familiar journey. In walks Rhonda and her entourage with tons of delicious food. They bring ham, turkey, three different cheeses, fruit, fresh dried tomato and multi-grain breads. Bean dips with chips. The platters which have been hiding under my counter are finally brought out for a much needed "party". Everything you could possibly want is on our counter. A couple of hours later Leslie, Forrest and Havley arrive and we pull every chair in our house around the table. Zack (shy about meeting new people) finally comes out of his room and joins us.

We start talking about the treatment, Leslie and I discuss the amazing case workers. How much they helped them and us, what options are out there,what to take to the hospital, how smells effect you while under treatment, etc. Leslie advised that we bring our own pillows and blankets to the hospital. She said that even the smell of the linens have a "hospital" smell. They shared possible long term effects that certain smells and tastes could have. I shared the story about the surgery to remove the tumor without MRI, X-rays, anything. Sadly Forrest had a very similar situation. He was told by his Doctor to go to physical therapy it was "bursitis", it turns out he wasn't feeling better and when they went to another Doctor, and tests were run they discovered the tumor on his knee. Luckily it didn't rupture, which could have happened and caused the cancer to spread. Leslie asked if I was taking any action against the surgeon. I explained that since the outcome was good, we were not taking legal action, however, the oncologist at the Cancer Center and Myself are writing letters to the surgeon, the surgical board and both hospitals to let them know how neglectful he was and NOT to "assume" that a "cyst, tumor, whatever you want to call it, is benign. I explained that I needed to keep everything on the positive side, but needed to make sure that the possibility of this happening again is much less.

An additional connection is both Zack and Forrest want to be mechanics (Forrest is in school studying that now). They discuss his new car, the truck in our driveway. It's nice to hear him have a conversation about something other than his treatment. Something I hope we will all be doing soon, though I'm not sure how that can be. During this time we have a knock on the back door, Darrick (my nephew) walks in. He too came to see his cousin. If not previously mentioned Darrick is a year younger than Zack and the two have an unshakable bond. It's so weird to see him without his parents, I'm not used to our boys being "grown up" and driving around on their own.

L-R: Jim, Zack, Peter, Me, Nick nephews and son
It is time for Nick to head back to Blacksburg, VA (VA Tech) where he is doing his residency for his DO (Doctor of Osteopath) and Jimmy (a computer genius) heads back to Chapel Hill. They came to see Zack this weekend and make it their mission to increase our support system. The doors continue to open for us to make our journey "easier". We are eternally grateful!

Once everyone leaves Zack asks to go and return some movies to the store, the first time he has driven in a week. He then goes and hangs out with his friend Drake for a couple of hours. "They" know the rules, no one sick, wash your hands. His friends guard him well. He returns home with a smile, knowing that he has had a good weekend and has one more day before his next treatment.

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