May 27, 2010
I have delayed sending this most recent report in the hope that it would contain mostly good news. It has been a rough few weeks for Laura.
After her first chemotherapy treatment on April 30th things did not go well. Laura spent the first week afterwards experiencing the expected symptoms of nausea, weakness and lack of energy, however she then developed a fever. Any fever can be dangerous if it signals an infection since Laura’s immune system is seriously weakened by the chemo. The Doctors do not advise taking aspirin to fight the fever since they fear masking the symptoms of a serious problem. We ended up in the emergency room on Friday night May 7th.
The emergency room staff at Hillcrest Hospital was great. When we arrived they immediately began examining her without delay. Laura was put thru a series of new tests trying to identify the source of the infection, but nothing could be found. After three exhausting hours the Doctors wanted to admit her in order to administer intravenous antibiotics. We were opposed to this since we know how easy it is to pick up an infection while in the hospital. Eventually they agreed to send her home with oral medication (Cipro) to fight whatever might have been causing the fever.
Thankfully, the Cipro worked and within two days the fever was gone and Laura was feeling much better. As the side effects of the Chemo wore off she began to get her strength back and feel somewhat normal.
And then her hair began to fall out.
I’m not sure that any man can appreciate the emotional impact that this disease has on a woman. The breast surgery alone is so devastating… and then to lose your hair… by the end of the third week after the chemo treatment Laura and her daughters (with the help of a bottle of wine) decided to cut off what was left of her hair. Laura was now bald, scarred by surgery and physically and emotionally exhausted by the chemotherapy treatments.
We decided to have her next chemo treatment on May 20th at the Cleveland Clinic so Laura could avoid further travel. As many of you sadly know from experience, the actual administering of the chemo is quite simple, just an IV in your arm for a few hours. Laura and I spend the time talking and praying and looking forward to better days.
Life can be so busy with work, children and grandchildren… but when a crisis comes (as they always do!) you have no option but to make time to deal with it. No one would ever choose to go thru serious illness but there is a unique blessing which comes along with it… it is the blessing of special extended times together with someone you desperately love. Of course, Laura and I take vacations together, spend time with the family, go to church together on Sundays, even pray together each night… yet all of these things, wonderful as they may be, fall into a pattern of life which seems to speed by… but all of the rush, all of the business, fades away when you are in a small chemo treatment room focused exclusively on one another. Conversations you have there you may never have had at all without the blessing of that place and time together. God has blessed Laura and I with that special time together, and for that we are very thankful.
Laura is just this week re-emerging from the sickness caused by the latest round of chemo. Please continue to pray for her physical and emotional health. Even as she begins to feel better, we have her next treatment looming just ahead.
Ecclesiastes 3 1:4
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance...