Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Unexpected Date Night

Sometimes, it's the smallest of victories that matter the most...

Todd hadn't joined me in New York City since that dreaded night a few months ago when we left our apartment in such a frenzy and rushed to the Emergency Room at UPENN. You can imagine my surprise - and delight - when Todd accepted my offer to spend the day with me in New York this week.

I met him at our apartment after work thinking that we'd just get back in the car and head home to New Jersey. Instead, Todd told me that he felt great and that we should go out for dinner....

As many of you know, Todd can no longer eat. To receive calories and nutrients, Todd is using TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition). So, the thought of going out for dinner together - in New York, no less - was something I never really imagined we'd be able to do again.

Yet there we were.  A totally normal, married couple on a lovely date at Momofuku - our battle wounds and scars hidden for the moment.

Even better than Todd's company, even better than my favorite ginger scallion noodle bowl, was Todd's outlook.

Instead of being a grump and complaining about not being able to eat (which he would have absolutely every right to do), Todd came up with a brilliant solution for our date nights. Rather than sit there without food in front of him, Todd would order a decoy meal which I could then take home for lunch the next day. Of course, this new plan works out really well for me (and my belly) but the smile on Todd's face told me that it works really well for him too.

Todd started Round 3 of chemo today with a little more pep in his step. Maybe from our date night? I'd like to think so. Either way, he's feeling better than he's felt in a long time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Soundtrack

This song by National captured the mood in our house last week. It's still a work in progress. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Game On

In the words of Wayne Campbell, "Game On!"

I feel like the past week has been a summation of everything Todd and I have gone through since 2004. We have faced more hurdles and challenges in just one week than we have over the course of six years.

Some of the not-so-high highlights:

  • Waiting over two hours at a pharmacy to get morphine lollipops for my husband so his pain level could subside for a bit
  • Reading Todd's text as he sat for 8 hours during his chemo treatment: "If there's a hell, this brown recliner would be it."
  • Watching Todd's face when the doctor told him: "You will be on chemo indefinitely - probably for the rest of your life."
  • Reviewing my notes from our follow-up visit with UPENN. Although the page was a bit tear stained and my writing a bit scribbley, I could still make out the phrase:  "At this point we have no other options..." 
  • Lugging 45 pounds of Todd's TPN (feeding tube nutrition which must be refrigerated) to a friend's house down the block during a power outage
  • Weighing Todd in at 119 pounds (-23 pounds since the June 28th surgery date) 

Despite it all, we've managed to hit some goals and high points as well:

Todd began his chemotherapy this past Tuesday which means that, finally, he is actively fighting this thing.  I bought him a new, totally awesome bike which he has been able to take out for a spin or two to get the body moving and the mind refreshed. And, in typical Gov style, Todd went on his first 2 mile jog yesterday. Pretty amazing.

For those  of you that don't really know our situation, I work in Manhattan and sometimes have to stay in the city during the week due to my two hour commute. On the nights I have to be in NYC, it is extremely difficult and painful to be away from Todd and our black lab, King. I try to pass the time much in the same way that Todd tries to pass his time while he is on chemo. I count the days, the hours, the minutes until I will get back to our home at the beach where the ocean helps carry some of the burden.

So, a few nights ago, I went into Strand Bookstore right near our apartment.  At the checkout line, a fridge magnet with a powerful quote by Winston Churchill caught my eye:
In my eagerness to get home and slap it on our fridge, I realized that I found our new mantra which we will repeat over and over in our heads until we have beaten this thing once and for all: "Never, never, never give up."

Todd's chemo schedule is the same as it has always been except the drugs are more intense and heavy hitting. He has 3 days of continuous chemo followed by an 11 day break. It's a beautiful morning  - the first of my one week vacation. We're off to watch the sunrise together at the beach with King.

Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement. We feel infinitely better knowing that we have you in our corner.

We'll be in touch again soon.