Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not That Question, Please

Dori is enjoying time at home, on her comforting couch and on our panoramic deck that overlooks our tranquil yard. Some of our dear friends planted some beautiful flowers and plants recently. She loves them, as do I. She believes she feels better than when we returned to Nashville 18 days ago. The comforts of home contrast with hospital gloom.

My beautiful wife, and she is beautiful, has been going to the hospital twice a week for transfusions. Home health has also come by twice weekly to take blood, change dressings on her PICC line and check in. Dear friends, people who Dori loves like a brother or sister, have stopped by. But she doesn't have much energy for long visits, so I play good cop.

When I say Dori is beautiful, I mean it in every way. Cancer has not diminished her physical beauty. She's the best-looking cancer patient I've ever seen. Her delicate features, her warm eyes and the smile I married are as precious as ever. Her friend Ramsay e-mailed recently about her smile. I don't know Ramsay well but had to tell her that's why Dori caught me eye. I've never seen a better smile than Dori's.

I've been keeping a close eye on the kids and planning things no parent should ever have to plan. We're all hurting, expressing it in different ways. My emotions are touching the full spectrum. Some days I feel like talking; other days I don't want to see a soul.

What I can tell you is what our perceptive son shared last week. Will doesn't like the question, "How are you doing?" I don't either. I know people are asking with good intentions and empathy, but unless you've been where we are at the moment, it's not a fun one, especially if you're honest. I tell almost everyone, "I'm OK." But my closest friends know I'm lousy. I get it, sweet Will. You're always on it.

Rather than asking that question, some who have been through what we're experiencing know what to say: "I'm sorry about Dori, and we're keeping you in our prayers." They make sweet statements, rather than pose the question whose honest answer is only what it is.

Dori is amazing me, and others, through this. She's touching us in ways that will last forever. Maybe I'll blog about that later, but right now, I don't want to. Getting this out took heavy lifting, but I'm glad I finally did.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

Most of you know the bad news. The chemo in Houston didn't work, and Dori won't be able to transplant. We're completely devastated. We're told her time with us is limited to weeks, maybe a month.

I'm not in a blogging mood, but thought I would share something that Kathryn and I discussed last night. I don't pretend to understand why all this is happening, but I told her I'm confident there is a reason. I encouraged her to read a previous post, "Why Does Bad Happen?" for my view.

You may recall I've blogged about Jeremiah 29:11 a few times, most recently in February when Dori accidentally broke the plate with that scripture. At the time, I was frustrated having to spend a weekend gluing piece by piece, before remounting the plate on the wall. I realize now I hadn't really looked at that scripture in some time, but that undertaking was cold water on my face.

My friend Ron shared the scripture again on CaringBridge. I pray our children find meaning and peace in these words, and Dori and me too, as we deal with such tremendous pain and pending loss. One of Dori's favorites, it's worth repeating.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Build Up

Amazing Dori did great today. Her port, believed to be the culprit of a staph infection, has been removed, and another biopsy is done. We’ll know preliminary results, probably within 24 hours. Man, we want us some good biopsy results so she can transplant. We’ll also need the infection to be gone soon. Dori’s fever is lower and her blood pressure has improved.

It’s been a whirlwind day and frenetic last week. I’ll start with the latter. Last week was tough, bordering on awful. Managing family emotions, while managing your own, can be nightmarish once in awhile. I snapped at someone I love dearly and had to apologize for not being my best. We’ve both had a heart to heart and are stronger, not weaker, after the snafu. I’m sorry, two powerful words.

For much of last week and some of this one, I’ve felt like I’ve been trapped. I have no control over so much. My glass-half full approach kept getting poured empty by events, even by people I love. I experienced rejection and other things that hopped out of Pandora’s Box. Wish I could shut that thing sometimes.

But I’ve also experienced some of the best times in my life recently. Kathryn, Will and I left Nashville Friday, spent the night in Meridian, MS, and drove to Houston Saturday. We had a grand time Friday at dinner, laughed in the car and had a great reunion with Dori. Will hadn’t seen Dori in almost a month. The evident bond they share moved us all.

Today has been many things. This morning, I woke at 5:15 to run. As I was leaving the apartment we’re renting, my Blackberry alerted me to an email. Dori was reporting improvements (lower fever, etc.). Energized, I ran through neighborhoods, around the campus of Rice University to home. The weather was un-Houston-like, cool and not humid. The 6.5-miler was a breeze. I woke the kids, made them some pancakes with fresh fruit and drove them to the airport to fly back to Nashville. They’re safe and sound.

All was calm until I saw the plane taking off. I kept it together barely, got in the car and lost it. My love and concern for them, combined with the fact that Dori was enduring so much today, hit me. It’s alright to cry, cause Rosie Greer told me on Sesame Street a long time ago.

I drove to the hospital and found Dori in great spirits. She saw how weepy I still was, and told me she’s going to get through this. They took her to do the procedures, I ate lunch, and then consulted with the stem cell transplant doctor about details the next few days. Dori came back to her room around 3:30, and she’s about to eat for the first time in nearly 24 hours. She’s looking well.

For now, we’re on obvious pins and needles. I’m glad today went the way it did. I hope and pray tomorrow does, too.