Story 23March2022: Last day of Cycle 3

I am writing this now Thursday morning and slept in. This is my first break from chemo in two weeks, and I will spend the week trying to find the strength, literally in some ways, to do one more cycle. This Cycle 3 has included a trip to the ER and exhaustion. I knew it would be hard, but having allergies at the same time has made it much harder. The last cycle will be challenging too, but it is the last one, so anything that goes hard is just part of the voyage to get to the calm water. I am sure the cataracts of this last section of the journey will be impressive, but they are the final risky parts of this adventure. I am steeling myself and might have to watch some clips from the movie version of Henry V.

Returning to Wednesday, I was up and going at 8ish. I managed to sleep through the morning. The side effects are slowing, but I did have to take a laxative as the anti-diarrhea meds work too well.

I manage my morning routine, but I now have bananas and some excellent baked goods from Wholefoods to munch. I am excited at 10 to take the four chemotherapy pills and to see precisely four left. I managed to avoid a missed dose this cycle! Today, Wednesday is day 14 and the last day of chemo!

The nervousness and exhaustion rebound as the pills do their poisonous work; I feel weak and terrible. Evan wants to see Susie and maybe play a game, so we agree to him getting to the Volvo Cave about noon. I manage to dress and be ready.

Evan and I get to Forest Grove Rehab and Care Center without incident and pass through the Covid-19 prevention rituals. The facility has been blessedly free of Covid these last two weeks. We find Susie just finishing her lunch.

I have brought Susie flowers, and the nurses and aides are helpful and get us chairs; lunch is finished, all the other residents at the tables by the nurses’ station head out. So we have Susie to ourselves.

Susie is fatigued and wants to rest, but we managed to get her a call to her mother, Leta, on FaceTime. It makes them both very happy. They spend some time talking about Leta and Barb, Susie’s sister, coming on Friday late and seeing them this Saturday.

Susie asked to be put back to her room to rest, and Evan and I headed out to lunch. We will be back after that, off to the Grand Lodge.

I still can’t afford to get Covid-19, flu, cold, or anything nasty now, so I wear a mask. I am the only one, and we get to see our waiters’ faces for the first time in about a year. Although, after learning I was doing chemo, my waiter, Sophia, offered to get a mask for her, I demurred. I ask the staff to just keep their distance. Sophia seeing that delivering food and drink puts her too close, tried her best to be fast. It is the best I can hope for.

I have a Captain Neon burger, my fav with blue cheese and bacon, and their soup. The soup was nothing to remember. I take about twice as long to eat now, but the burger is terrific.

We return to the facility and are waved through the restrictions as we already passed them, but we do the mandatory hand washing. Susie is in bed now, her voice is clearer, and she seems more relaxed.

We spent some time with her, and she was delighted to get us twice. I am getting weaker, and Susie is often yawning, so we leave to let her sleep.

In Air Volvo, I nearly run a red light when a truck pulls in front of me and then runs the light. I was watching the truck, not the light. Evan calls that out to me, and we get to feel the steel welcome of Volvo detecting an event and locking us into our seats. Nothing happened, but Air Volvo was ready. I do love my XC60 Volvo.

Evan and I headed to The 649, which was busy even having just opened. We got our table and played a board game, Unsettled. This is a cooperative game from Vancouver, just across the river in Washington state, and involves trying to explore and survive a strange new world, SciFi gaming. I know the game designers and they consider me a part of their greater team, I am flattered. I did update their Discord with my pic below and some comments.

We get some drinks; I have Grand Marnier, heated over a class of hot water and a cup of fresh coffee. I don’t mix them, just sip them. Evan gets a drink too. But we soon are lost in the complexity of the newish game.

We make a few rules mistakes, but we are getting fortunate with our breakthroughs and unique planet opportunities; we are getting the good ones! We might have lost track of time once or twice, but we still manage to win with plenty of endurance. It feels like the first time we really have won Option A for the first planet. Next time we will go with Option B, a totally different storyline, but still on the same planet.

I have to admit that I nearly threw in the towel about 1/2 through the game. The fatigue comes and goes, but the sipping of Grand Marnier and the coffee seem to control that well. I might need a bottle of that for Cycle 4! Also, the game is immersive and challenging, with every turn and choice critical. I could not just stop.

We finish the game, winning, and I notice that there is almost no room in The 649 and our bartender, Stephen, has a line for drinks is nearly out the door. Some folks are masked, and others are not. The place is overloaded, and I am back to masked and slightly panicked. This is not safe for me anymore. I wave to Stephen, and he will just add a 20% tip and automatically close my tab when he has a free moment. We leave.

I am tired and get us to the Volvo Cave. I make grilled beef and cheddar sandwiches for Evan, Corwin, and myself for dinner. I use the rustic bread, have to cut it myself, and heat the sandwiches in butter on the pan. The secret is to pour some water in the pan and cover as best as possible to let the steam cook the sandwiches (steam can be hotter than 212F and reach the insides of food fast). The trick is to not soak the bread. If the bread is adequately buttered and grilled, it will repel the water. It makes a better sandwich than you will get anywhere.

I have some excellent pickles I slice and serve. I took the slightly damp one. Next time I will also butter the bread on the pan side!

I then say goodbye to Evan, collapse, and sleep deep in bed for two hours.

The kitchen looks like it has exploded, but Corwin says he will handle it.

I find it is 10PM, and I take the last four pills of Cycle 3. And then can’s sleep as I just woke up, and the poison that is chemo has to work. So I finally slept about 1:30AM.

But, we should cover some Spring topics.

The rosemary outside, the remains of my herb garden of twenty years ago, is blooming and fantastic. It is one of my favorite plants, and I recommend new homeowners plant it as it needs no care in the Pacific Northwest. Also, you can impress your friends by asking them to cut some fresh rosemary when you are making dinner. So foodie!

Mister Lincoln, the last new rose, was just a few tiny sticks when we got it, and we got two blooms the previous year. This winter, it has thrived and is now a small bush ready to explode into a huge plant. When I planted the three tiny sticks last year, Corwin provided me with the hole; I was not sure it would live. It is a modern tea rose, resistant to black spot disease and growing on its own roots. It is currently out-of-stock from my local rose providers; see here.

Thanks for reading!



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