I am an only child in a family of very healthy people, who do not go to the doctor and stay active and generally stay healthy by living healthy lives. Cancer isn't a thing in our family. Max had to call both my parents, and his parents, on September 9th and tell them that I had cancer. Seriously, I can't even imagine. For anyone involved. Obviously everyone was in shock, and devastated, and didn't know what to do. My mom sat by me in the ER wondering what to do but ready to do whatever needed to be done. Max's parents went into overdrive taking care of our lives for us. My dad stopped taking care of himself and I thought he was going to be joining me in the hospital, but then got it together and was there at my every beckoning call ready to help in anyway possible (and still is, since he lives right across the street from us). Max kept his cool and dealt with the logistics of everything while asking all the right questions. And everyone came to Portland that night, and sat around teary eyed, not knowing what to do next. With all of this happening around me, I had still not let much at all sink in, but boy did I feel the love and support. These people had my back from day one, and I know they're not going anywhere, and I know that they will all be doing a lot of driving in the near future to get me to all the appointments I will need to be at.
Then, as things became more clear and we knew we'd be in Portland for a while, along came more support. Friends far and near, new and old, pouring out their support. We had so many visitors right off the bat, that the nurses were seriously overwhelmed by us. I have some amazing friends, and we received so many amazing gifts, and cards, and good conversations. I want to personally thank everyone on here right now, but I actually feel bad because I KNOW I'll forget someone and that makes me sad. But I will mention a couple key players. Charnae Decker showed up right off the bat with an entire wardrobe of stylish and cozy hospital clothes for me to wear, which was absolutely incredible. Then she proceeded to set up a MealTrain for us all the way through December, which has been so incredibly helpful already (And another huge thank you to all the people who signed up to bring us meals, they've been AMAZING so far). Hope Sneddon spent the entire day with me, just talking about hospital life (which she is very familiar with) and gave me so many amazing words of wisdom and support, especially relating to the steroid Prednisone which we are both too familiar with. All of our other visitors were amazing too, and it was so nice that people could just show up and have a normal conversation with us, because after 22 days of only talking to nurses about health stuff, those normal conversations are really the ones you miss the most.
While Max and I have been together for almost a decade, this whole event went down just days after our first wedding anniversary. That's some heavy stuff! I can't imagine going through this without him, he has been absolutely incredible. My rock. So positive and supportive. Always advocating for me and asking questions that didn't even cross my mind. I couldn't have asked for anything more in a life partner and husband. And I know it hasn't been easy, but he's made this whole thing look like a walk in the park. He slept on a hospital bench for 22 nights, and spent the majority of every one of those days with me in a hospital room looking out at the beautiful Portland views, knowing if he left it was going to be without me by his side. Now that we're home, he is getting back to work and into a normal routine.
But, he also knows that he's my primary "caregiver" and there will be bad days when I need him here at home, and he will be the person that takes me to a lot of my appointments in Eugene or Portland, especially the big ones, and so his life is sort of on hold and at the whim of... me? Plus, he is out in the world getting exposed to germs and when he comes home he can't get me sick. So he uses gallons of hand sanitizer, and has to clean up all the dog poop in the yard now. He also does all of our errands, and grocery shopping. Since I'm no longer out and about, if people wonder how I'm doing, they automatically ask him. Please keep this in mind. Every person he comes across who is wondering about me, asks him. I am so thankful that so many people care, but please be aware that if you ask him how I'm feeling today, he's already probably told at least 5 other people. When I go to the grocery store, I like to get in and get out, avoid most conversations, and get my groceries. I can't imagine being in his shoes. And remember, he likes normal conversations too. So if you see my lovely husband grocery shopping for me, follow these guidelines: If you normally wouldn't have talked to him, don't. If you normally wouldn't have asked him how I was doing, don't. If you would normally talk to him about hunting and fishing and what he's been up to lately, please do! Normalcy is a good thing.
And now? All my amazing friends and family know that I can't really go out and about, so they come and hang out with me on the couch (when they're sure they're not sick) and we veg and talk about life, and I so appreciate it. So if you're a friend who wants to help, but doesn't know how, please don't hesitate to reach out because I love hanging out with chill people on my couch. Especially on days when I don't have appointments, and I feel good. Which are here and there, and unpredictable, but whatever.
Quick Update: Yesterday I had my last appointment at OHSU for a while, assuming that the results from my Lumbar Puncture and Bone Marrow Biopsy come back good. I will hear back mid-next week about whether the last 29 days of chemotherapy have been successful. If they've been successful, then I will be within 5% of remission, or in complete remission. If that's the case, then we move into the next phase of chemo and treatment with my new doctor at Riverbend.