Our first major outing since the end of July was to Ohio, Cambridge to be precise, where we would gather every so often for a quick family reunion between here in NJ and the rest of the family in Illinois. When my father became too ill to travel, we’d make the trips to Illinois and visit with everyone there instead.
That’s not to say we didn’t go out during my convalescence, but it was very sporadic and carefully planned. To listen to the doctor, he was pretty much all for going out and having a good time and being “normal”. His only caveat was not to have alcohol on the days immediately before or after chemotherapy. To listen to the nurses, they’d have us quarantined, to stay away from crowded spaces, like shopping malls, to keep away from people with even the slightest hint of the sniffles, especially babies–as they are compact germ incubators, at least for the first ten days or so afterward to give the Neulasta a chance to rebuild my immunity. What to do? What to do?
I wanted to get out, but at the same time I was content with staying in. There was no place I really needed to be and there’s no place like home. No Place Like Home. Ah, right! That was one of our first outings, to see The Wizard Of Oz in 3D. I’d been waiting for that to come out for months and I would really have hated it (and my cancer even more than I already did) if I had to miss it. Luckily we have a theater in the area whose matinees start around 10 in the morning. We were prepared for the theater to be filled with screaming, chattering and otherwise obnoxious kids but surprisingly, it was mainly adults, all 10 of them and two kids who were as quiet as could be.
We saw many movies that way, early in the morning when hopefully no one would be around to sneeze on me. The last thing we wanted was for me to come down with something that might hamper my chemotherapy in any way. We had a finite end date and we wanted to meet it on time.
I as also getting back into the garden a little bit. I spent very little time in the garden and I was so sad. I kept wondering and vocalized at least once whether “will there be a garden next year?”, a question loaded with doom. And when it was time to tear the garden down for the season, which seemed to come so quickly, Ariel handled the major stuff, like putting in the fall crop and would set me up in a chair with a freshly pulled bean bush for me to go through and harvest my lima beans, which by the way is a thankless crop unless that’s all you have in your garden. For all the work that goes into lima beans and for the paltry amount you (we, at least) got out of it, we decided not to plant them again.
Of course there was still the rose bushes to take care of and the time had come to plant the bulbs for spring (poppies and hellebores and new addition to the rose garden–a purple rose bush which has seven buds as of this writing) and I participated in that chore from my chair and being Ariel’s cheering section…his orders! But mine was a very important job of making sure the proper tags went with each plant.
And one poppy, only one of eight we planted, successfully bloomed this past weekend, just in time for Memorial Day.
I hadn’t mentioned this until now because this seems to be a more appropriate place to include it, but after my second round of Chemo, our friends Tim & Shane, from Canada, who we know from camp and have known for more years than we can count, worked it out with Ariel to surprise me with a quick overnight visit on their way to visit friends in West Virginia via a visit to other friends in Connecticut. They didn’t come directly from Canada (though I wouldn’t put that possibility past them); they were already at camp in Pennsylvania. The weekend they chose was perfect because it was after the 10 day “danger” period. And that visit really lifted my spirits and in the beginning, when everything was so new and unknown, I could use all the spirt lifting I could get. They brought with them a get well card signed by as many people from camp as they could assemble.
The trip to Ohio came about because Illinois wanted to come visit me but even though by this time, by comparison to the beginning, I was feeling better, I still wasn’t up to having a houseful of people. I didn’t know how to ask them not to come, when I so needed and wanted to see them and I was at a loss until..
Enter Ariel with his infinite wisdom. He came up with the idea that if Illinois was up for it, why not go Ohio and that was the perfect answer to what seemed like an unobtainable solution. It would work because we wouldn’t have to host. If I needed to rest or be nauseous, I could do it in the privacy of our own room and I wouldn’t have to worry and no one would have to feel obligated to keep quiet while I went upstairs if they had come to visit us.
The trip went very nicely. It was awkward at first, having them see me in my frailer state and bald, and after a few ice breaking moments catching everyone up in person with what had been going on instead of the regular email correspondence, we proceeded as usual, hanging out, playing games, hootin’ and a-hollerin’ like we normally do, going out to dinner to Cracker Barrel one night, and an Italian restaurant the next. Both were within walking distance from out hotel even though my pace was much slower than everyone else’s but we made the best of it. I was kind of feeling my oats and wanted the challenge of pushing myself a little.
It was during this trip I began making the place mats I posted two weeks ago. That’s just a little FYI.
Of course the visit ended much too soon as it usually does and it also signified the end of this latest three week period because in just 4 days, I’d be back in the chamber for round #5. Only two more “they” would say (and by they, I mean everyone but me) as if that would make things better, but it was still….two…..more!