Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Spirit

Dan and I spent four days in PA for what was a refreshing, fun, and joyful escape from the busy schedule at home.  We ate well, laughed a lot, and spent time with family and friends we hadn't seen in too long.  We even made it to see Catching Fire on black Friday, a Gabler family tradition.  Dan got around okay and climbed a flight of stairs each night to go to bed.  Lots of progress all around, both mentally and physically.  We are in the Christmas spirit now and are looking forward to my two week break at the end of the month.
the annual champagne cork-off

sweet Ellen Hanna and her pearls

dinner time :)
Since Thanksgiving, Dan's seen a few specialists to evaluate some residual effects from PCP.  An ophthalmologist tested Dan's vision and determined that he has very little peripheral vision on the left side of both of his eyes, indicating a problem with a nerve on the right side of his brain.  We are waiting to see a neurological ophthalmologist in a few weeks to do some more tests to determine what happened to the nerve to block Dan's vision.  It is scary and uncomfortable for Dan, but he's learning to compensate.  The pulmonary specialist decided that the excess fluid in the lining of Dan's lungs (shown in the CT from a few weeks ago) needed to come out through a procedure called thorocentesis. They'll drain the fluid and send it for evaluation and tests to figure out why it's still there.  He's hanging on to some fluid in his feet and ankles so we're looking forward to those answers soon, too.  All of these appointments happen during the day while I'm at work so we've continued to rely on the moms to help out.  Dan's getting to know our friendly neighbors who take him to PT, and I'm home in time to take him to acupuncture.  We're still looking forward to a time when we don't need to consult with specialists and when Dan can be regular, but for now, we are grateful for their expertise.   

Chemo starts this Wednesday and lasts eight weeks until the "IV phase" is done.  Our oncologist will watch Dan's blood counts with great caution since he is already weakened.  It will be a delicate balance between getting the medication Dan needs while making sure his immune system doesn't become too compromised.  We hope and pray he tolerates each dose successfully so he can complete this phase as planned.  

Dan and I have been recalling last year at this time and how it felt to be so far away in Seattle during the holidays.  It was an exciting time when we cherished life and the gift that Dan had received.  Our Christmas season was consumed with appointments, medications, graft-versus-host disease, monitoring, checking and watching Dan's new body closely.  It was a scary, yet joyful time.  We are drawing on that spirit this year as we face many, many new challenges.  It is easy for us to feel defeated and it is getting more difficult to get back up after each fall.  This time of year gives us an opportunity to celebrate the blessings we've been given and share them with those less fortunate.  I wish Dan and I could take a walk in the mall to see the crying kids on Santa's lap, stroll down King Street with a holiday beverage from Starbucks,  cut down a little Christmas tree to fit in our little apartment, and brave the holiday traffic to shop for the perfect gifts, but we can't.  I must admit, we have our moments when we scream that it is just not fair. But then, we turn on some Christmas Pandora music, whip up some lattes in our Vitamix, log in to and tune in to our Christmas spirit.  I am so grateful to have another Christmas to celebrate with Dan and I plan to cherish it.  We're not wasting any time with not fair.  I love my husband and he loves me.  Our family lifts us up every day.  Our friends stand by our side.  ALL is well in blessings and love.

That is our Christmas Spirit.