Friday, March 18, 2011

In the end, the quiet dignity of it all

Maybe it is because today is Kel’s last day, or maybe it is because I have spent the week here, but I am coming to appreciate the chemo treatment rooms as a place of quiet dignity.

People come here to fight. To say Cancer is tough, but I am tougher (no grammar police – I know I should write ‘more tough’). They speak many languages, have all different types of cancers and treatments, but I feel a mutual respect between all patients and all visitors. We are all comrades in the same war, uniting over a common enemy.

We have been here all week and I haven’t seen the same patients from day to day. It is a sea of faces, of pain and fatigue, of hope and fear.

There is a LOT of sleeping, and a lot of love coming from the nursing staff. They are a wonderful group of human beings, full of compassion and humor, knowledge and heart. They have treated Kel well … minus a few extra i.v. sticks that is his own darn fault.

Right now Kel is getting the first of his last 2 drugs. He is sleeping from the Ativan. I am listening to a story being read to an older man by his daughter? Granddaughter? It is in Spanish, and I can understand a word here and there, but I am not really listening. It is just a nice story in a nice voice with a nice cadence, and it is helping Kel sleep.

Kel will have a ‘bubble party’ today for his last day. I will write more after it happens, but I think all of the nursing staff comes in the room, blows bubbles at him and wishes him well and gone. It should be a nice ceremony, and one for which I made sure to be here. There will be another short post later with pictures (now that I know how! Thanks Christy and Beki!)

I don’t remember such a ceremony for my mother, but maybe that is because she never really ‘stopped’ a therapy, she just began to not respond. I’ve heard of programs for kids with memory beads to mark the milestones they pass so that there is a memory and a story to be told. There is a GREAT group here in Tucson that works on that – called ‘Beads of Courage’ (; we actually had David’s adoption shower with them and it was a great time, and helped them make jewelry to sell to raise for their cause.

Tonight we will celebrate – Kel wants to go to Outback Steakhouse to get a steak. He is anemic and iron may help … so he decided on steak. Dad – can you ship a piecaken down? I request a peanut butter pie inside a chocolate cake … of course. Or maybe to make it a little more healthy a strawberry pie …

If I can get a babysitter set up, we will go to a movie on Sunday too. Anyone in Tucson free Sunday afternoon? J Then begins the waiting for just under a month until we know if all is done.

I am going to end his therapy on a high note and find something that doesn’t suck. It is Spring in Tucson, already in the upper 80s and 90s, and there are leaves growing on trees, and flowers on our vines. Spring here is beautiful and while so much of the country is still cold, living here and seeing rebirth is a wonderful thing – for the mind, body and soul. Kel commented on Spring being here and how nice it is to see greens. So today we end therapy, begin waiting, and enjoy Spring.

Much love to all who have been here with us, in mind, body or spirit, and helped Kel through the past 2.5 months. It is hard to believe it has already been that long and that most of his therapy is behind us (knock on wood). Thank you for the prayers, thoughts, hugs, food, and overall well being. He is doing so well because he is loved and supported.

With all of my heart and thanks,


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