Thursday, July 10, 2008

I go to the emergency room at St. Joe’s in Howell today. My port is oozing blood. They keep us waiting a long time, but in the end are not really able to assist us. They rebandage my port and send us home. We vow to make the drive to U of M every time we need help. In the end, we make a few more useless trips to St. Joe’s before truly learning our lesson. I have begun my second round of chemo. My kidney function is not wonderful, so they are keeping a close eye on me. My chemo consists of a very long day at the hospital. First the lab visit, seeing my oncologist in clinic, and then finally receiving hours of chemo and fluid. Some of the nurses there are brisk and rude but one medical assistant is always kind and cheerful. Her name is Debbie and she remembers me because she lives out in our area and read about me in the local paper. A stranger read the same article and mailed me one hundred dollars. Her son died of Ewing Sarcoma in his twenties and she is hoping that I fare better.

One bright spot of my treatment is that my mother’s cousin’s wife Diane works in the hospital, and has promised to come and visit us each time, allowing whoever has accompanied me the chance for a quick break. She makes good on her promise and never misses a chemo day, ending up spending hours with us each time. Sometimes she stays with us so long she has to work late or take work home with her.

Diane is not the only one reaching out to help us, in fact we have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have received. In the hospital my walls were plastered with cards, letters, pictures from my students, and my shelf was filled with flowers and gifts. All these things were a visible reminder to keep trying my best. So many people were behind me. My bosses Jan and Julie at the preschool where I work organized fundraisers and the families and staff took up collections and prepared meals for us for months, allowing my family to concentrate on getting me well. My coworker Amanda hosted a charity dance recital for me, and my parents’ places of employment took up collections. All these gestures gave me strength and comfort, in a time when I was weak and afraid.

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