Sunday, November 24, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes

I'm compelled to write an update today as our weekend comes to a close and we wrap up a solid week of progress! After four weeks of too many issues to count, of countless pain sources, nausea, weight loss, depression, and appointments with various specialists, I can confidently say that we've got things under control.  The headache is gone and the nausea has subsided. We got Dan back! We're back to our laughing, our talking, our eating junk food together, our watching reality tv together, our loving life, and our positivity.

We're not sure what prompted the turn around - acupuncture, the perfect nausea medication, pain medication, rehab, simply time, or a combination thereof, but things have certainly turned around.  I/we (we being either one of the moms visiting that day) could literally see the change on Dan's face.  Dan slowly started eating, sitting up longer, staying awake longer, and being a more active member in our conversations. I went to work feeling less guilty and less anxious about being away.  We've gone from oh my gosh, things are completely out of control, I'm drowning to alright, there are a lot of things going on right now, but I'm staying above water. Each morning, I prepare a cooler of food and drink items for Dan to consume throughout the day.  The microwave is in the living room along with any dishes/utensils he may need.  He has some rehab tools (a pedal floor machine, resistance bands, therapy resistance putty, incentive spirometers) all within reach to complete on a schedule.  Of course, his "medicine bucket" and medicine log sheet are never far either.  He's still using a walker but practices walking with me, holding my hand for support (we're still hoping to progress to a cane soon).  Twice a week a neighbor pushes him in his wheelchair down the street to physical therapy.  There, he stretches and works on strengthening his weakened muscles along with some e-stim nerve therapy for his damaged hand. He also has been enjoying some acupunture twice a week, also right down the street.  His week wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Lombardi Center at Georgetown where he consults with our primary oncologist about the latest issues, has blood drawn, and discusses progress with the current chemo regimen.

This past week, one of the additional appointments was a CT to assess Dan's lungs post pneumonia and look out for any residual infection and/or fluid.  The lungs looked great and were completely free of infection.  There was, however, some fluid left in the linings of his lungs - we're waiting on how to handle that (may be a simple procedure, could also be to do nothing at all).  To add to our excitement, Dan also wrapped up the first part of the first 15-week cycle of this chemo regimen.  That means one less pill a day and no more fist-full of additional chemo pills each Thursday.  He'll move from "pill chemo" to "IV chemo" for the next  8 weeks.  We aren't sure of the specifics yet but will get the details tomorrow at our consult.  Luckily, Dan has a week completely off of chemo as we go home to celebrate Thanksgiving.  So nice how that worked out.

Hopefully you can sense from this post that we're doing better.  We're laughing again, we're smiling and we're getting into the holiday spirit.  We continue to marvel at how joyous the small things can be when you've been deprived of them.  I was moved to tears the first time Dan ate what I was eating for dinner.  I couldn't stop smothering his face with kisses when he stayed awake through an entire episode of Gray's Anatomy.  It's the simple things that make us happy and it's the simple things that we're thankful for this year.  I know I'll be packing Dan's walker, wheelchair, handicap toilet, shower chair, and medicine bucket to take to PA - but we couldn't be more excited to see our family and share a meal this Thanksgiving. We don't know what the "IV phase" of chemo will bring, but we're not worrying about that now.  Our heads are above water.  We're treading in the deep end surrounded by our family, our friends, and our team of loved ones who support us every day.

ALL is well and we are grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours - we wish you safe travels, good food, good company and success for your football teams (that one was from Dan).

Making his way to normalcy, little by little




  1. Bless you both good news is well always good no matter how big or small I know we should all be greatful for whatever it is we have . I'm greatful that your laughing and enjoying your time together, may there be many more enjoyable times together. Have a safe trip back to PA and a GreatThanksgiving.
    Love you
    Unc Pat

  2. Been Praying for Dan for a long time and will continue to! Glad to hear the good news!
    Christ's Peace!
    Matt Scalzo CUA '99

  3. Wow. So beautifully written. Tears in the Wallace household. I am 200% sure that COURAGE in the dictionary has your photo next to it!

  4. May God continue to bless you and your family! You both remain in our daily prayers, and are an incredible example of courage, perseverance and faith. We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and continued success on your road to full recovery. Take care, Suzanne (a cousin of Marty McKenzie)

  5. Liz and I are so happy to learn that you are both doing better. Your strength is inspiring and we miss you terribly. We hope we can meet up this summer! Best, Vinnie

  6. Prayers and strength to one amazing couple. Your a true blessing. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family. I am happy to hear about the awesome news.