Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Round Two!

Today was quite the Ash Wednesday (I wish some of those ashes were on the road as we went twice to Madison in this 15-18" snowfall! (My boyhood training driving in Minnesota stood me well!).

We started out this morning with an appointment and consultation with our hemotologist/oncologist, Dr John Sheehan. "Round One" of chemotherapy is over -- it was an attempt to save Sabine's kidneys and reverse the acute failure. It did not work.

So "Round Two" begins next week with more chemotherapy. This time it is to be directed at reducing the number of cancer cells in her bone marrow. She will be taking VELCADE (bortezomib) twice a week by IV at the Cancer Center and oral dexamethasone once a week. There is a possibility of some significant side effects.

There will be two weekly cycles of this chemotherapy and we, as before, will have to be on guard against infection and contact with groups of people and crowds as well watching for bone pain or any more bone deterioration.

It looks like her kidneys have failed. But not entirely. So hemodialysis will continue to play a major role in our life -- but, as I said before, dialysis does not have to BE our life!

Because of her high heart rate an echo cardiogram will soon be taken to make sure none of the output of the myeloma cells is affecting her heart.

I don't think that I have ever spent an Ash Wednesday that had in it all the marks of the Christian faith for me... For it was Jesus who said, "Unless one denies himself, he cannot be my disciple."

After we got home from our first trip to Madison and thinking about what Dr Sheehan had said, and what lies ahead for us, Sabine said to me, "I am so sorry to have to put you through this!"

So I looked deeply at her and from the very bottom of my heart I replied, "I've always just wanted to spend time with you, and now I have the opportunity to put most everything else in my life aside, all my distractions, self-delusions, and self-centeredness -- and be totally with you; that's a blessing!"

Ashes can go from head to mouth to heart...