Coming Home-Part 2 (What it actually looked like.)

I arrived at home March 11th, dreading some of the things that knew I’d be facing; having NO idea how different it would actually be.

Winter decided to hang around for LONG time this year.

Cancer treatment started with a CT of the abdomen and pelvis to check on the rising Liver Function numbers (LFTs). No obvious tumors but the LFTs continued to rise, I didn’t recover from jet lag, three shots of the new estrogen-blocker (the double barrel injection) and I was frequently poked, watching the LFTs rise and rise. My doctor decided a Stat MRI was needed next.

She ordered it on Tuesday but we couldn’t get an appointment until Thursday. That was not acceptable so she asked me to go the ER for a hospitable and get admitted as a way of way to expedite the process. I did, settled in, and eventually the MRI was going to happen at 2:30 a.m.

Except that 30 years ago I had tiny prosthetic bones placed in my middle ears replace the stapes bones as treatment for otosclerosis. Although I had successfully undergone an MRI of the breasts in 2013, this hospital was not going to let me have this over–policy over everything. All this time i was not eating because 4 hours NPO was required. My oncologist ordered a mid-level ultrasound, knowing it was unlikely to give us more info. We knew there were no liver tumors and patent veins. I had the ultrasound at 7:30 and spent the rest of the day nodding off and being visited by doctors and hospital staff, some who were sympathetic and others who didn’t think I belonged there. Generally, doctors who treat patients with chronic disease have a different perspective. They told me to go home. I insisted on staying to see my oncologist at the end of her clinic hours and then went home.

The next day I called Rush where I’d had my first cancer treatments and the MRI of 2013. Staff there was extremely helpful, finally telling me that their policy allowed it as long it was done on a less powerful machine, my doctor could order it and I would be good to go. I also checked with the nearby affiliate Rush-Copely and they too said it could be done. I wrote my doctor and she said “what a good idea.” Another frustrating day or three passed getting the order to Rush so it was finally scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. now 8 days after the “stat” MRI was ordered.

MEANWHILE there were quite a few family crises crises occurring related to Johnny and John and I.

MRI was done (another not really cool experience) but finished. By the end of the day my oncologist called to tell me it didn’t show even the kind of “dusting cancer cells” in my liver but some in the peritoneum and ascites. She wanted me to start a chemo on Friday morning, a bit to the surprise of my family who all remembered me saying I wouldn’t do chemo again. My only stipulation was that I also be able to attend a special event at Quilters Quest late that afternoon. No problem.

Laura and John accompanied me to the cancer center to meet again with the doctor, learn about the chemo, and have my first round, all done slowly and carefully to have things go well with slower infusions, pre-medication, post-medication, etc. We were there from 8-1:30, Laura was there from 8:00 ’til 12:15. (Lots of nice time for catching up on their lives too.)

The Birkeys have moved into a long term rental about a mile from The Pillars. Insurance will pay for it and also for rented furniture, linens, kitchen supplies etc. They will also receive payouts for replacement of the house and contents of the house. They are settling into the home and happy to be there. Everyone is so grateful to the family who provided their spacious home in Naperville for 3 months, but this is home for now.

We barely had enough time to go home and change and go to a Book Tour signing at QQ for Jeninifer Chiaverini’s first ever Quilt Shop event. She is a quilter and novelist, but up til now all book signings have been in bookshops or libraries. It was a last minute decision for QQ, put together in 3 weeks, and very well done. We had over 200 people for the event.

Speaking of work, they have graciously taken me off the schedule, taking the pressure off me to work, but allowing me to work part days whenever I feel well enough. I’ll focus on some online training for now. I also wrote to the team so everybody knew what was going on. They are very supportive even though short staffed.

Last, but not least, I’m really in a chemo fog. This blog piece took mr over five hours to compose and still may still be disjointed.

10 thoughts on “Coming Home-Part 2 (What it actually looked like.)

  1. Praying this chemo will destroy the cancer and you wonโ€™t do too badly with side effects. I think itโ€™s amazing you got a blog out!๐Ÿ’•

  2. Very sorry to hear about your recent medical developments. I’m sure Johnny’s situation, whatever it is, is adding to the stress. I hope things have gone better in that direction.
    I will keep you in my thoughts. You are such a strong person-

  3. Part of me says, “Ugh! I hate this!” another part says that trite sounding but potent, “To God be the Glory” and the last part of me has no words at all.

  4. So sorry thereโ€™s more of this cancer baloney for you to deal with! Iโ€™m glad to hear Laura et al have a more permanent temporary home. Iโ€™ll keep praying all around, as you are all being so stressed and tested.

  5. Thanks for the update Chris. We have been praying even before we read this blog. Sounds like a whirlwind since coming back to the States. Sorry you have to go through chemo again. Praying for a good outcome for you, with few side affects etcโ€ฆ Donโ€™t know whatโ€™s going on with Johnny but we are praying for him along with you and John. ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโค๏ธ

  6. So very sorry for health and family problems. Love you all.
    I just started reading Jessifer Chiaverinni’s books and have read six since Dec. Fun to see here her picture with you ! love, Timmie

  7. So sorry to hear this cancer news. I am praying for the Lord’s perfect will. May the treatment be kind to you and kill all the cancer.
    Praying also for the family, you are a rock, so I hope your steadfastness is passed on to the rest of the family.
    Please add me to your list.

  8. Chris you and your family remain in my prayers ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

    Hoping this regimen will provide the healing and peace of mind for you.

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