what really counts...

After the end to a phenomenal weekend, John and I had to start the week over again with the rituals known as doctor’s appointments and preparation. Monday was his first follow up after the week of chemo prior to the surprise anniversary party. He did the routine questions and began to tap on John’s back just like any other week. “Have you been draining every day?” the oncologist requested. “Every other day,” we said in unison. He began to advise us to drain every day because he “was pretty full of fluid”. It made the most sense to send him over for an x-ray to see how he was still filling up and to take the results over to the lung doctor for that next follow up appointment. He then began to describe John’s red and white counts. They were extremely low and he needed two separate shots to boost them up for the next round of chemo set to happen a week from Tuesday. The two shots noticeably made him uncomfortable, but they were needed.

The rest of the week consisted of more nausea and vomiting…but now headaches have come into play. I see the exhausting toll it has on top of everything else he has to deal with…it is agonizing to watch that daily struggle with the combination of “migraine-like” headaches and…well, everything else he has to deal with. This is something we will bring up to the oncologist tomorrow and see what he can do to help.

The hair loss has also started. Last week, John looked down at his chest before hopping in the bath and saw a little bald spot. We laughed together about it for a few moments because it was just that tiny, hairless spot. It has only been within the last few days that the hair on top of his head has loosened up as well. Just by simply running my hand over his scalp, it would shed some of his hairs off as if the chemo is slowly melting the roots away. This prompted us to cut his hair and trim his beard today. I have to admit, he looks pretty handsome without a beard again. The nurses explained his hair loss would start anywhere from one to two weeks after his first treatment…now we wait to see what the next treatment will bring. After this second round of chemo next week, John will get more testing done to see what steps will be next. We are hoping to see great progress after this second round of treatment…we will see great progress….I know it.

Now for the title…the real meaning of the title. What really counts are the milestones we celebrate together. Yes, obviously his red and white blood counts are super important with the restrictions on visitors, limitations from certain raw fruits and vegetables and sanitary hand washings religiously. What really counts are theses great feats John has overcome though small to others, are massive to us. He has put great effort into getting out of bed every day and making it a priority to gain some weight and his strength again. It is incredibly difficult to do so, but he is trying. That is what counts along with our little celebrations. For him to really put a conscious effort into everything he does day to day shows how much fight he has left in him.

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything. I guess I did not feel led to write the past few days. My thoughts did not seem to connect and the word sleep cannot seem to find its way into my vocabulary. We told each other the only way we can make it through is to take each day minute by minute, hour by hour. I believe in him and he believes in me. More than anything, it has felt great to have the help from my mom these past few weeks so I could go back to work a few days and incredible help around the house. I love her so much. My work family is also so supportive still and our friends continue to check in with words of love. Thank you again…all of you.

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