First off, I forgot to post some very good news from my chest x-ray results: my tumor is already starting to shrink. Yay! I forgot to mention it with all the other craziness at the hospital last week.
Today my brother, Michael, and his wife, Shaunda, called and offered to bring steak and sides over to grill. Michael wanted to spend time with me and cook out at the same time, and I couldn't say no to an offer like that. Michael and Shaunda brought over steak, marinade, corn on the cob, and corn tortillas. He cooked a typical Guatemalan feast for us in honor of his trip a couple of month ago (to look at some land for his cows - long, long story). He invited Mom and Dad over too for some good family time. The other part of Michael and Shaunda's reason for coming over was because their washing machine is still broken and they hoped to use ours. I still didn't mind since he did bring food and cook it.
Earlier today, Mike and I ran some quick errands and we stopped at Smoothie King. I've never been there before and didn't know that it's kind of a health food store and a smoothie shop combined into one. I ordered something called the Hulk because of the amount of protein since I need some, and the clerk warned me that it's a "weight gaining" shake. I just smiled at him because that was exactly what I needed. I checked out the calories on the shake, and there were almost 1,000 calories in it. Perfect!
Mike also was busy getting our garden back in shape this afternoon. He spent several hours outside pulling weeds and repositioning our plants that had been trampled by the weeds. I spent a little time outside watching him while he worked and drinking my 1,000 milkshake of goodness. I can't do any garden work because of the dirt and pollen in the air, so Mike sweetly took on this chore by himself without complaint. He had a little help from our friend Sophie. The garden looks really nice now and I really appreciate his effort.
Mike returns to work tomorrow for the first time in three weeks and must navigate through rush hour traffic alone, without his HOV buddy in the car with him. We carpool to work every day and since there are two of us in the car, we can use the HOV lane. Mike drives in the morning and I drive in the afternoon (while he naps). Now he's got to go it alone. He'll be stopping at Starbucks first thing in the morning for sure, but it's a rough commute by yourself. He's been really great to me these last three weeks and has been an amazing pillar of support when I was certainly at my lowest. He probably got less sleep than me because I usually dozed off in the daytime after being awakened all night by the nurses, but he usually stayed awake. All my strength and courage to get through the dark times, I owe to Mike because he's picked me up when I've been down and made me laugh when I was crying. I'm going to miss him all day while he's at work, but I'm glad he is able to return to work this week while I'm relatively healthy. He will be there with me on Friday when I start Round Two, but at least he can hopefully work a full week and return to some sort of normalcy. I'll call him a lot so he knows I'm okay.
Michael is taking me to NIH tomorrow for a newly-scheduled monthly respiratory treatment while Mike is at work. I'm allergic to one of the key steroid drugs in my protocol so they had to come up with an alternate method and this respiratory treatment is it. I'll also get my twice weekly blood drawn while I'm there to see what my white counts look like now. Aunt Anne is taking me to NIH on Thursday to meet with my Irish Team where they'll examine me again to see how I did with Round One and then decide what course of action for Round Two (increase or decrease the level of drugs in my chemo cocktail). Friday is when I actually start Round Two and wear the fanny pack every day until the following Tuesday. At least I have the next few days to eat and get stronger before the whole vicious cycle starts again.