As I write this, it is the weekly anniversary of that fateful visit January 27 to the x-ray center at Virginia Hospital Center where this all began.
It has been a relatively quiet week. Chemo began again on Tuesday for another 2-week cycle. As a result blood tests taken before receiving chemo, Leaves was temporarily put on a supplement to adjust one of her mineral levels - not a big deal, but a pill that had to be broken in to. Otherwise her lab work has been excellent.
Still, between us we take lots of pills, me for my cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as my permanent problem with my sinuses, her as part of the overall plan to whip this cancer back into remission.
Today is Palm Sunday for Orthodox Christians. Tomorrow begins an intensive week of services. She does not know whether she will make the full length of each, but was able to stand and sing in choir for more than an hour this past Wednesday, then stay for a lecture by the now retired priest who married us back in 1985. She has can dress or undress herself without me. She can put on and take off Gregor, her back brace. She can even get what she wants to eat or drink. And once I have set up all the pills for the week?? Am I really still necessary? Well, she isn't allowed to deal with cat litter (and that would also require bending over) so with four felines I still have my irreplaceable responsibilities. It's nice to feel necessary for some things, even nicer that I am still wanted for things she can do but which I can make easier.
This is HER illness, but it is a journey for both of us. Thus the most momentous event of the week occurred with both of us. Some already know about it, but with me driving we were in an automobile accident on the way to her office on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway in DC. It was basically unavoidable, because if you are changing lanes you will never have full stopping distance both in front and behind you - if you wait for that you will never merge. Someone several cars ahead cut across several lanes, the Cadillac in front of us swerved to avoid the car in front of him and came to stop at an angle in our lane. Even had I been able to stop, then the car behind me, which was tailgating me and stopped only a few inches behind us, would have pushed us into the Caddy. The damage to our car and the Caddy would have been the same, but then I would not be considered responsible for the accident.
No one was hurt. Leaves did not even get a bruise from the seatbelt, as I was travelling less than 10 mph upon contact, and the belt was across Gregor. In fact, if the Caddy had been stopped straight in front of me there would have been almost no damage. Instead the damage to our car is over 3,000, and we have $500 deductible. DO not know the damage to his car. We can live with it, because no one was injured.
There was one amusing moment. The DC Police would not take an accident report and told us to get off the freeway to exchange information. We wound up in a parking lot for the Capitol Police, who were understanding about what we were doing but insisted we step away from our vehicles so a dog could sniff for explosives.
Leaves drove herself on some errands earlier this week. She drove herself to church this morning, then to the mall to get an adjustment on some new glasses. She has gone shopping without me. THe big problem is the restriction on how much she is allowed to carry, but she feels good about being more independent.
Each time I explore the possibility of stepping back from these epistles, people ask us to continue, even if there is not much to report. They come up to both of us - her at work, at church, me at my Quaker Meeting - and thank us for keeping them informed. Just be aware that I am not sure what will happen next week: it is Pascha, the Orthodox Easter. She will be at church by 11:30 and the service will not be over until sometime after 2:30. We do not know if she will stay for the Paschal meal. If not, then we will take some time to be together later that afternoon. That will be more important that putting out an update.
Our journey is progressing. We are considering how we will handle my being away for a long weekend for a college reunion. We have a pet sitter to come in and take care of the litter boxes. We have friends nearby who have volunteered to stop by and assist if need be. Originally I was going to go up midday on a Friday and come back after dinner on Saturday and she persuaded me to take all the time I need, to stay over and enjoy the conversation and have a leisurely brunch. I remember that for the last time I was with this (my final) class at Haverford, I went over after brunch with two others to where the long-time athletic director was in a hospice situation at his home from the cancer that would eventually take his life. It was a very important event. I do not expect anything like that this time but one never knows.
And as might be expected, and as my beloved is used to, on that occasion I wrote about it in this piece:
And I am now actively seeking employment, with several interviews for teaching positions of various kinds. I have had one phone interview, which resulted in being invited to teach a sample lesson. I have another phone interview and a separate in person interview tomorrow. It would be good to know I have employment that will enable me to be productive, with enough lead time to plan for it, without removing me from being available in the near time as she may need me to assist in her recovery.
So dear friends, nothing spectacular this past week. An auto accident, some more independence for Leaves, some more serious job exploration for Ken.
Perhaps the next time you hear from us it will not be from me. For those at Daily Kos, Leaves very much wants to offer a thank you post, but still has lots of wonderful comments to process. For the friends and family, she has started with thank you notes for the many kindnesses and well wishes.
From all six of us, we thank you.
LionEl Tiger, Elsa, Felicity (aka "Shy" who actually let me pick her up yesterday) and Cielito Midnight have been delighted at how much more time they have with both of us. Knowing that we are supported by your prayers, holding us in the light, love and friendship, we are able to relax and let them offer us their warmth as well.
As always, thanks.