Monday, May 13, 2013

Final Chemotherapy!!!!

It is again Sunday, Mothers Day!! Another week has passed with less ups and downs, but we are still reminded, the journey is not yet over. Monday morning I call the Cancer Center for Zack's appointment time and they "forgot" he was supposed to come in. I said "well, we are coming in tomorrow for his last chemo, can you just do the labs then?" "Oh yes, sure, wait he is supposed to come tomorrow?"... "HELLO???" I'm not sure what was going on, but this is not the most comforting reaction. Are they so ready to get rid of us already?  I inform both Frank and Zack they can take the day "off" from the center and go ahead in to work. 

Tuesday Zack and I aren't scheduled until the afternoon, so he runs some errands, helps out some friends and I run around the house cleaning, doing laundry and getting the house in order. It's nice to be home and have some time to get stuff done and not rush. We are usually heading out so early in the morning, that I'm left to catch up on "chores"  in the evenings. Zack tells me that "Biscuit" wants to ride with us, so the three of us load up (literally) in Zack's truck. I barely fit in the back seat, sitting sideways ( I offered to do so), with two guys, both well over 6 feet tall in the front seats. The boys are making fun of people, checking out pretty girls, much the same as with his other friends of the same age. They are all young men, with lots of testosterone and full of themselves. I couldn't tell you what exactly they were saying, all I can remember is we didn't stop laughing from the moment we got in the truck to the moment we arrived at the Cancer Center.  Luckily, most of his friends tell me I'm "cool", which pretty much means I swear, am a smart ass, let them talk about anything they like and just hang out as if one of the guys! 

Zack with Angie
As we enter the building, I'm telling everyone (the security guard , the store clerk, the woman at the front desk of the main lobby) "This is his last day of chemo!!"  and everyone starts to come out and congratulate Zack.  Everyone knows everyone there. They see the same faces come and go daily and we are greeted each time with a smile and hello. There are a couple of teary eyes, as Angie tells us how much she is going to miss us. Mind you they all tell us how they don't want us there for "this" reason, but love having Zack around. Angie gives his last dose of chemo, which today consists of a "push". It's  a vile with the fluids and after his port is accessed, Angie, pushes the fluids into his port and while doing so announces "FINAL ONE!!!" Each one of the Nurses and Doctors come into the room to see us, sharing their favorite story about their time with Zack. One mentions how Zack and Donald were in the room dancing around and laughing. Another shares how another young patient would look at Zack and say "that football player is here!"  Walking down the hall, compared to the other kids, he IS a GIANT!! .Angie asks if she was the first to give him chemo, so I quickly research all of my pictures and share that Melanie first did chemo, Angie was first to access his port, first to give him his platelets and she also taught him how to give himself the shots, he thankfully no longer must have.    She is satisfied with that answer, AND all of the pictures to prove it! Dr. B ("the chihuahua" as she likes to call herself, because she will bark until "her" kids are taken care of) enters the room and tells us that we will now have all of the scans scheduled in the next couple of weeks. We then must come in once a month to have his port accessed and flushed (cleaned out).  The scans consist of MRI's both with and without contrast dye,  PET Scan, CT scan , X-rays and also full set of tests from the cardiologist ensuring that his heart is in good shape. As they have explained to us, due to the location of the port and the chemotherapy there is a risk of damage to the heart, but if Zack's energy is any indication, we are sure all will come out great! 

On our way home, we drop Biscuit off at his house and Zack takes me shopping for my Birthday and Mother's Day presents. Of course, we go to Lowes, where I pick out three very pretty plants for the front porch. His budget was $50.00 and I keep it at $40.00. I am excited ,as this year, I know I will have the energy and will be home to care for the plants. It's the simple things, like planting flowers, having hanging baskets, none of that was even on my mind or in my heart last year, and now... that's all I want to do. Plant and nurture my flower boxes and  home. What a wonderful place to be both mentally and spiritually. Zack was feeling tired and went to watch shows in his room.

Wednesday Zack stayed at home, finished a couple of chores and rested. Thursday he worked with Frank for the entire day. Frank said he did a great job and was surprised at him lasting that long. By Thursday evening, Zack was confused and asked "why, if everyone else is congratulating me on the end of my treatment, haven't I heard from any of my friends?"  I tried to explain that "he can't just look at this one time or a few times they haven't called. They have been there the entire time. They probably don't realize how big a deal this is, and hopefully they will never have to fully understand what you have been through. " My thoughts didn't seem to help very much, but I know in time, he will be back with his friends having a great time.

For the first time in a long time, we didn't have to return to the Center for the rest of the week, so this gave him the opportunity to reach out to his friends and hang out with them.  Luckily he gets over his frustration pretty quickly and was out the door with a "see ya later guys!" Friday he had plans to hang out with a group of guys, work on his four wheeler and just do random stuff. I had already planned on taking Mom out for Mother's Day (a few days early).

Like mother.......
Like daughter
I pick up Mom, but not until after receiving five phone calls along the 18 mile drive to Hendersonville. Each time, it is another appointment being scheduled with regards to Zack's tests. Each time, I stop, pull over, grab my I-pad (a gift from Rhonda, sister, neither of which I can live with out!) and start checking off dates and marking down appointments. EKG on Friday? Sure, MRI, CT scans, no food or drink after midnight, Thursday, 8 am? Okay.. oh wait, you need to access port first at Cancer Center, oh, okay so we come there first, then go to Hospital, gotcha!! As I'm making one of these appointments, the "Bumble Bee" pulls up next to me. "Mom, you okay?" He sees that I'm on the phone, I give him a thumbs up and he waits for me to finish. "I was making your appointments for the scans", all of sudden his facial expression changes to a pout, Okay Mom.... I blow him a kiss, tell him I love him, Donald comes around to my side, leans in and gives me a big hug and they are off!  I arrive at Moms, we hop in the car and are on our way to our favorite spot. Biltmore Estate. My gift to Mom (and myself) was an annual membership, which includes discounts on everything inside the Estate Walls , entrance into the house and grounds and use of their bike path, etc....  It's not far from home and has in the past been a way to "escape" the real world. For a day, you can go and see how the truly rich lived and pretend you are a Vanderbilt. Wait, not everyone does that? Oops!!!
We had a wonderful lunch at The Bistro, which included five different cheeses with crusty bread and honey ( my idea of heaven). We then went down to the plant shop, where I was able to get several ideas for plantings. We spent the entire day, window shopping, of course we came home with a couple of treasures, like a stained glass (looks like) bird bath, plants for my "new" idea of turning my non functioning water fountain into a planter, and a couple of odds and ends. Grocery shopping was soon to follow as well as another trip to Lowes for more plants and paint for my weekend project. By the time we returned home it was close to 9 pm and both mother and daughter having had a great day together, were exhausted! Zack having reached out to his friends, had gone to spend the night at Drake's house which was the perfect end of the day. He was with his friends having a good time, Frank was home enjoying some quiet and I again have more memories to store away of my time with Mom.

It is now Saturday, usually Franks day to fish, but today, he is staying home to work around the house. He tells me that he and Matt and his brother Mitch are all going fishing on Mothers Day, "because you're not my mother". Well!!! I am actually pleased, as that is when I am going to paint several walls in the house and work better when not surrounded with testosterone telling me the "correct" way to do it. I take full advantage of the beautiful sunny day and plant  my flower boxes. Then I plant my new creation, while Frank and Donald hang up the brackets for my new hanging baskets.The porch and patio are taking shape while Frank continues to clean up, blowing leaves from the roof and gutters, washing off the skylights and finally cleaning off the seating areas. If you haven't figured it out by now, I like things in "order", that's when I'm my happiest, though I am learning to relax a bit more than in previous years.  It's so nice to have all these beautiful plants and flowers around the brighten up the place, and for me to have the time to care for them once again. Donald had a date, so Zack went up to hang out with his friends. Frank surprised me by cooking a nice steak dinner and we spent the rest of the evening just chilling and watching TV.

We are back to Sunday, Mothers Day. Frank has gone fishing for the day and Zack is still sound asleep in his bed. I start to remove paintings, mirrors, etc.. from the walls and fireplace mantle. I start painting one wall, then get a brilliant idea! "why not install a chair rail! that will brighten it up even more and protect the wall". Zack comes out, eyes half shut and wishes me a Happy Mothers Day. I can barely keep my excitement contained when he looks at me and says "okay... what's the idea and how does it involve me!" I tell him and he is just fine taking me to the store in his truck. I measure and re measure, write down everything and by the time he is ready I have everything figured out. We go to the store, he drops me off and goes to another store to buy some shorts. We both finish at the same time and are back home within the hour. Zack dropped me off and went up to Chris' house to swim. He kept asking if it was okay to leave and I reminded him, though it may sound corny, every day he is healthy and happy is Mothers Day for me. He makes them all special and one day here or there with a "title" isn't going to matter to me.

While working on this project I realized, when we first moved into the house I wanted warm and cozy, thus the red, now all I want is open and airy. Maybe my inner being is "lightening up". It took me all day to finish with a short lunch break, but I was so excited at the transformation and when Zack and Frank came in and saw it, they too were blown away. I did have to get Frank to help with the chair rail. I didn't really trust myself to cut the paneling at the right length or straight. He also LOVES it when I need his help, most of the time I wing it, but I wanted this to be perfect, so pride be damned!  Zack had come home long enough to change his clothes and was back out the door to Chris' house. I was so excited that he was out having fun, Frank fell asleep on the couch "fishing is hard work," he would remind me later, so I ordered a pizza for him and sub for me. He woke up around 9 pm, about the time I was crashing and the house was finished. I have this thing about putting everything back right away, like "instant makeover". Maybe I DO watch too much HGTV!! As I lay in bed, I can't stop smiling. Everyone had a wonderful weekend and though we have a week of tests in front of us, I can't help but think the results will be great and we have a whole Spring and Summer ahead of us.

1 comment:

  1. the house looks perfect, I think by now the walls are bound together with the layers of paint you have given them over the years.
    Love you, loved our day out.