Sandy finished her 5th round of chemo (Temodar) on Thursday. She’s still feeling the effects as there is a lag time after the drug is finished. But overall she has done better with this round than last month’s. She was more careful with what she ate in the days before she started chemo, and more diligent about taking all the anti-nausea and intestinal tract drugs on a regular schedule. Even with that she will miss a week’s worth of work. It’s starting to set in for her that feeling bad for at least 10 days out of every month will be the routine for the foreseeable future.
But today we were able to celebrate the beginning of the rebound off the chemo days… we went out to breakfast and she had the first real food she has had in days– eggs and potatoes. And this afternoon she felt up to a short walk in the warm (45°F) sunshine - even though there’s still snow on the ground it felt like a touch of spring was in the air. Awhile later after the walk, Sandy decided it was time to get her bike out and go for a little ride up and down our road a couple of times — about a mile total — officially launching the “Friends of Sandy” team training season (see LiveStrong Ride link at left).
All I can say is… elation… to see her eating again, and walking a trail near our home, and riding a bike… all in the same day. It’s the kind of things that I have never really taken for granted, but which now seem like major, and beautiful, events… because they are. Of course this evening she is paying for all the activity – completely exhausted and wiped out.
But she got back to living today… the chemo doesn’t keep her down for too long. Read below for her thoughts on this chemo journey.
PS - Forgot to mention that a few nights ago we watched a tape of this year’s Oscar awards for movies (a friend taped it for us since we canceled our satellite TV last summer and our TV is just for watching movies now). So when the award for best music score went to Gustavo Santaolalla (for Brokeback Mountain) Sandy and I said “Hey! We know that guy!” He was the guitarist from Argentina performing in the Ayre Concert that we saw the day before Sandy’s surgery at Stanford (link to the left and also Day Four blog entry). So now we can say we know an Oscar winner. His guitar playing is incredible… right up there with our friend Don V.
Sandy wrote this a few days ago…
To feel weakened once a month and have your body feel like a 90-year old woman when you’re 44 is a sacred journey.
To be so sore you ache when you walk or move, you begin to understand the wisdom of age. The stories, the memories, the history, the slowing down.
You try to see the beauty in the body breaking down whether from sickness or age. Like a salmon that swims home to spawn. The circle of life begins to be clear.
The body begins the turn from youth and strength to age and frailty. It is a sacred journey.
After the chemo you get the blessing of days without this awareness. Your strength returns and you are young again. How many get the chance to return to their youth each month? This too is sacred.
The wise elders know the beauty of this journey. Through their pain they remember their youth and accept their aging as part of the cycle.
They become the salmon on their sacred journey home.
– Sandy Beardsley
Just a quick note to let you know that we got the results of Sandy’s MRI yesterday… and the results are good — no change in the tumor area from the previous MRI. This is what we hoped for so it’s a huge relief. In fact, in a rare bit of emotional editorializing since they are usually quite dry and scientific, the radiologist’s report included the line… “This is somewhat reassuring.”
Indeed. That’s the understatement of the month. But we’ll take it.
And the sun is shining a bit brighter on our snow-covered valley in the mountains.