Harvey and Me

Neal’s trip to Houston this Tuesday will likely be cancelled. Regretfully, another man has come between us, so our future plans are a bit up in the air. His name is Harvey, and although he’s only been on my radar for a very short time, rapidly intensifying conditions have already occurred. Harvey set his eye on me here in Texas, and I’ve been caught with my head in the clouds. 

Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm is currently making landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast. While Harvey’s eye wall, the location of the most destructive winds, is aimed at Corpus Christi, the forecast here in Katy calls for “bands of heavy rain containing strong gusty winds at times and isolated tornadoes possible. The storm is expected to stall or meander for several days, leading to a threat of catastrophic flooding in parts of Texas.” I’m hunkered down here at Jenny and Clay’s home, where we’re well-stocked and comfortably safe from the worst of Houston’s flooding and power outages. Jenny’s son, Andrew, is here riding out the storm with us, as well.

As I’m not certain I’ll even be able to make it back to the Medical Center on Tuesday, depending on conditions, it makes no sense for Neal to travel into this unstable environment. It is unknown whether flights to Houston will be cancelled on Tuesday, or just severely delayed due to a backlog of weekend cancellations. So, Neal’s trip is likely to be be postponed…Unless, of course, the skies clear and meteorological predictions are way off.

We’ll see…That’s my mantra these days…We’ll see. I’ve come to recognize that I have very little control over very much right now. Or, maybe ever. Harvey reminds me of that fact again tonight. I’ve made the hardest treatment decisions, put the experts in charge, and now I have to just wait and see..Just wait to get well.

Chemo has been proceeding without any further delays now that I am receiving Neupogen shots for two consecutive days following my infusion.

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Chemo Day

The Neupogen works to keep my absolute neutrophils in range, but like chemo, the necessary intervention comes with some gnarly side-effects. I become extremely achy deep in my bones, muscles and joints, making it very difficult to get physically comfortable. Especially in bed. There’s a lot of tossing, turning, and readjusting. Sleep, already an issue, has worsened. Coupled with constant dyspepsia, minor nausea, and pronounced lethargy, I long for the day I will feel “normal” again. Feeling sick day in and day out is taking a toll on me physically and emotionally. If it were an option, I would take a pill with amnesiac properties, curl up in bed, and sleep until this is over. Instead, I just have to try to get through each day the best I can. That’s really the only choice for anyone going through cancer treatment. It’s not really all that brave or courageous. It’s just that there are no good alternatives…

I try to press on without daily complaints. But, I’m not very good at it. When my side-effects flare up I find myself groaning and saying aloud, “Oh, gosh! Oh gosh!” I don’t know why I say it, as it’s not an expression I’ve ever used in the past. Lately I’ve become a bit of an unconscious complainer. Not like Sadie, Jenny and Clay’s 12-year-old golden retriever, who was just diagnosed with lymphoma. Despite how uncomfortable she is, Sadie is the picture of quiet dignity. She never complains. She always offers love and solace. Dogs are such amazing gifts to us, and it is comforting to be with my family’s animals while separated from my own.

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Cancer Sisters

As part of the clinical trial I have 6 more weekly chemo infusions. It never feels as if I’ve truly recovered from the last before it’s time for the next. But, 6 more weeks means I am more than 1/2 way done with this part of my treatment, as the clinical trial runs for a total of 13 weeks. Once completed, I begin MD Anderson’s standard of care “AC” chemotherapy regimen, which is a dose of the chemo drugs, Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide, every 21 days for 4 doses. Adriamycin is nicknamed the “red devil,” as it is literally bright red in color and possesses some pretty nasty side-effects. The clinical trial study nurse advised me that AC treatment “will get rough.” I’ll get 21 days in between to recover from each of the 4 AC doses, but I anticipate a whole lot more of “Oh gosh! Oh gosh!” is in my future.

Harvey and I are not destined to last, despite predictions of a prolonged period of engagement. So when he breaks up with me sometime next week, I’ll reschedule Neal’s trip to Houston for October. The cooler, fall weather here will more resemble California’s. Neal will be happy about that, as it means an abatement of mosquito activity. Hurricane season will be over, and I’ll be nearing the end of the clinical trial. It will all work out…

There is still much I look forward to and enjoy despite how badly I may feel.

Like a walk to Rice University under the tree canopies, accompanied by the clamorous sound of cicadas.

Or, the love and encouragement I feel from family and friends.

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Claire and Landon’s care package

The joy of watching a child at play.

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A determined Evan

And Mother Nature’s awesome beauty and power.

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Coyote checking out the chickens at Jenny and Clay’s

 

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Minor flooding courtesy of Harvey

 

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5 Responses to Harvey and Me

  1. Linda Squires says:

    Jill,
    Another detailed and engaging journal entry. Reading about your difficulties isn’t easy, but your writing is beautiful, and it encompasses my compassion and well wishes for you.
    I’m hoping the hurricane hasn’t made getting your treatments more difficult. Since I haven’t heard back from Neal, I’m guessing he followed through with his plans to visit you. Hope all is well.
    Love, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • jflyer says:

      Hi Linda! Both of the major Houston airports remain shut down, so Neal would not have been able to travel here…But, we had already made the decision to reschedule his trip even before Harvey’s landfall, as there was no point in him traveling to Houston while this mess was going on or being cleaned up. Sorry you haven’t heard back from Neal yet…He’s tough to get hold of these days with running his business, running the house, and running around with Ethan and Ben all over the place…Not to mention meeting the demands of his #1 employee, Buddy! 😉 Next time we speak I’ll tell him to get back to you already!! 😉 Love you, Linda. ❤

      Like

      • Linda Squires says:

        Thanks, Jill. No worries.
        There are so many reports about the flooding in and around Houston that it’s hard to fathom any normalcy there now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl De Bari says:

    “Oh Gosh,” seems very mild for what you’re going through! Thinking of you…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jflyer says:

      Yes, that expression is pretty mild, comparatively, I guess! It’s just funny to me that it just surfaced one day and has become my go-to phrase when I feel a little overwhelmed…Houston traffic provokes a lot worse language from me, that’s for sure! 😊

      Like

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