Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lana Updates


The last two weeks were nearly our lowest point, even worse than the week we spent evacuated from our home and living in hotel rooms because of Hurricane Isaac. Lana’s radiation sessions had ended, but the radiation keeps working after that. Her chemo sessions were over too, but she was so dehydrated and low on potassium for various reasons that we were going every two or three days to get her fluid infusions, which generally lasted four or more hours. She was sick constantly, often spitting up bile every 15 to 20 minutes. She wasn’t eating because she couldn’t swallow, and everything either tasted foul to her, or had no taste whatsoever. She drank a lot of fluids but couldn’t even hold those down half the time. Her voice was barely a whisper.

Because I was back full time at school, she was generally sleeping on the couch, partially so that she wouldn’t wake me up every few minutes when she got up. I still heard her, though. And each time she was sick it drove daggers in me. Neither of us was getting much sleep, and I could tell that Lana just constantly felt like hell. Her normally bright and expressive eyes were so sad that I’m sure my own eyes reflected the same.

When you go through weeks with no joy, you begin to wonder if there’ll ever be joy again, or even just some peace of mind. I begged for peace of mind. There was none to be had.

Lana was so beaten down last week that they ended up doing fluid infusions on both Thursday and Friday.  But by the weekend we began to see some rays of light through the darkness. The difficulty in swallowing eased. Her chemo rash finally cleared up. Most importantly, she started to ‘feel’ a little bit better, and she began to eat again, little bites of things at first, but then a bit more.  She told me how ‘good’ orange juice and Sprite was, and it brought a smile to my face and my heart. How long had it been since anything tasted good to her?  Months!

Yesterday, for the first time since this hell began, she went out and took a few photos of our neighborhood, and this morning she was up early and went to the Flatwoods park near our house and took more photos. For a woman who had simply stopped having the energy for such things, this felt like a major turning point to me.  Life is coming back. The bleakness is resolving a bit. Even as we move into the world’s autumn, it feels like Lana and I are reaching for spring.

We return to the doctor on October 15th and at that point we will schedule her next full body scan. We are in something of a holding pattern until then.  But, in the meantime, I’m sitting on our deck to write this, the first time I’ve spent more than a minute on the deck since summer began. The air is cool. I see a Chickadee cracking seeds. I see Cardinals at the feeders. For the first time in a long time, there is a hint of a smile in my heart.
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51 comments:

Ty Johnston said...

One of the hardest things is to have to sit and watch a loved one go through so much turmoil, so much anguish. Of course it's worse actually being the person going through such, but having to watch, feeling hopeless, feeling any joy drain away to nothingness, it can be quite devastating. Raging at the heavens is not sufficient, and at times it can even feel that love is not enough.

I feel for you guys, Charles. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

On the plus side, from what few recent photos I've seen of Lana on Facebook, her eyes look bright, determined. She can beat this.

Chris said...

Here's to continued recovery!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Charles, what a blessing! I hope it's good news next month. Both of you enjoy you rediscovered joy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your.
Hate typos.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, that was very touching and heart rending. I'm relieved things are looking up for Lana and I'd like to join everyone on this page in my prayers for her complete recovery. That elusive peace of mind and happiness is going to be yours and Lana's very soon. The greatest blessing you both have is each other and I can see how you and Lana are drawing strength from being there for one another.

Bill Crider said...

Sounds like a turnaround to me, and I hope the improvement continues apace!

Paul R. McNamee said...

Birds in action always cheer me up.

Here's hoping Lana gets through this soon and with good news on the scan.

Randy Johnson said...

Sounds like things are on the upswing. Keep It up.

Richard Godwin said...

Charles I am so sorry to hear Lana and you have gone through this. I wish Lana all the best of health and you some relaxing times.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, her strength is coming back, and I am so happy for that.

Chris, thanks, man

Alex, indeed. I appreciate it.

Prashant, it's a good feeling to see her feeling better and enjoying things again.

Bill, hope so indeed. Thanks.

Paul, I'm going to try and spend a couple of weeks not even thinking of scans and doctors. Just peace of mind. :)

Randy, thanks, man.

Richard, much appreciated. I'm very glad things are improving.

Keith said...

I hate to hear things have been so rough, but I'm glad they seem to be improving. I'll continue to pray for a full recovery and more little joys to show up in your lives.

Merisi Vienna said...

My heart goes out to both of you.
Wishing you and Lana many points of light while she continues her recovery,
Nerisi

Deka Black said...

I ... i don't know what to say. Only that i really really hope lana continues to feel better. A friend of my dad suffered also cancer and i have a small idea of .. In any case. My best wishes are with lana and you. And i hope you have friends helping you!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Constant prayers! And now Lana and I are FB friends. That will certainly cheer her. (LOL)

James Reasoner said...

Rough times indeed. May they continue to get better! My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

laughingwolf said...

finally, a bit of sunshine from all the gloom!

good to hear lana's making a bit of progress... praying she continues to improve!

Snowbrush said...

Charles, thank you so much for the update.

"we will schedule her next full body scan."

You know, of course, that these things equal hundreds and hundreds of individual x-rays, but I guess there's no reasonable option, is there?

Gary William Crawford said...

Charles, you and Lana have been through hell, but you were together--that made all the difference. Gary Crawford

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks for the update, Charles. To hear that Lana was out taking pictures made me very happy because it showed how much better she was feeling and how much stronger she was. I hope the rest of your lives will be filled with much joy and laughter.

Charles Gramlich said...

Keith, thank you, man.

Merisi, we certainly appreciate it.

Deka, thanks for keeping us in mind. Much appreciated.

Terrie, indeed it should. :)

James, appreciate that, my friend.

Laughingwolf, it's so wonderful to see.

Snowbrush, no. I'm afraid not. She had one when everything started. this will be her second.

Gary, thank you. we appreciate your kind words.

Shauna, it was definitely an indication of her strength and at least some joy coming back.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Outstanding news, my friend!

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for the support, everyone. I'm happy to receive so many well wishes.

I'd hoped my suffering wasn't hurting you too badly, Charles. You've done everything you could--you've been my angel all along and I can't possibly thank you enough for that. I'm glad to start feeling better now and I look forward to continued improvement (and getting out much more!)
Love you more than anything!

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, yes indeed.

Lana, you are my heart.

Tom Doolan said...

Happy news, Charles! Hugs and heartfelt smiles to you both. :)

David J. West said...

So glad to hear that for the both of you, all the best.

memignon said...

So good to hear this, miniscule as it may seem to you. May your smiles widen to more oranges and flatwoods scapes and cardinals and chickadee pranks. May you taste joy and drink peace very, very soon, and for a long timem you and Lana, Charles.

Christina said...

That is excellent news! Can't wait to see those beautiful pictures.

moonrat said...

thinking about you, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, appreciate that very much, man

David J., thankee.

memignon, Your kind words mean a lot. Thank you.

Christina, yes, so good!

Charles Gramlich said...

Moonrat, much appreciated! Good to see you.

Kate Sterling said...

Big, huge hugs to you both! I'm so glad Lana is able to get out a bit, and that you are feeling something to smile about.

Charles Gramlich said...

Kate, yes, we're both feeling far more normal than we have in months.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

That is great news, and your devotion and caring make a difference. Fingers crossed for good news on the 15th. Prayers and thoughts are with both of you.

Rick said...

I am so glad there's some hint of this affliction drawing to and end, Charles. Never met nicer people on the Web than you two and sure wish you guys never had to go through it. We'll keep praying for her and sending good thoughts your way.

Ron Scheer said...

You have me smiling, too. We have been through many months of pre- and post-surgery here, with slow, slow progress in a months-long recovery. I know how suffering is shared by a couple, and how a "good day" (meaning one even slightly improved from the day before) is a weight lifted from the soul. May all continue well for you both. Best to Lana.

jodi said...

Charles, A tiny trickle of light is moving towards your and Lana's dark days. May it be a full on large white beam very soon. I am so happy to have been updated on her and your conditions. Keep the faity, babe!

jodi said...

Faith!

X. Dell said...

This is welcome news. But I pray that even better news comes in a couple of weeks.

Lana, I am rooting for you.

Greg said...

Glad to hear things are turning for the better! Hope that trend keeps up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sean, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

Rick, much appreciated, man. Lana is indeed a sweetheart. Me, not so much. :)

Ron, it sure is. Just one improved day makes everything brighter. You feel a bit of the weight lifting.

Jodi, will do, and thanks for checking in on us.

X. Dell. Indeed so. We're not thinking too much on that yet.

Greg, thanks, man.

Cloudia said...

You are so fearlessly true, with the talent to express it, that you made me ALMOST understand what hell you 2 have lived in recently. What a blessing to hear that there is light in Lana's eyes again. Very kind, a true friend you are to let us feel that amazement and re-birth with you.

Fond blessings to you BOTH! I'm sure I speak for many when I say "We love you guys"



Aloha from Honolulu,

Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

> < } } ( ° >

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

sage said...

I can feel only a bit of the pain you both are experiencing and it is sad, but I am glad that you also find a little joy wherever it may be. Blessings to you both.

the walking man said...

Aye.

Angie said...

I'm so glad Lana's feeling better, if only a bit. I can't stand feeling nauseated and can only imagine what it's like to feel sick like that for weeks, much less the other things. I've been thinking of her, and hoping things will go well. Best wishes to you both.

[hugz]

Angie

Heather said...

My eyes are full of tears for you both. I hope Lana continues to improve and I hope she's much more comfortable now. I know I'm way far away up in Canadaland but if there's anything at all that I can do please, please don't hesitate to ask.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks again, everyone. I appreciate your kind well wishes and am glad to be back on the road to recovery.
FYI, all of my doctors expect me to be completely cured. Let's all cross our fingers for that!

Lauren said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry to hear that you and Lana have been going through all that. I'm glad that she's feeling well enough to get out and take some photos.

G. B. Miller said...

That is fantastic news. Been following this on FB as well, and it's great to hear that Lana has finally turned the corner (so to speak) and is putting that nastiness behind her.

I'm sure that Mother & Father Nature are beaming with joy to see the both of you back outside enjoying what they have to give.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Sorry I missed this post on the day you posted it: so glad Lana is feeling better and getting her taste buds back. And taking pictures! I continue to pray for you both--even when you don't hear from me.

Travis Cody said...

When I had my experience with Hodgkins, it was always harder on my family than it was on me. All I had to do was follow the treatment plan...step by step by step.

But my family had to wait, understanding that they had nothing to do. During that time, I was kind of unaware of it. But after, and since, I reflect on how afraid they were. I never was, but I realize that they were and that it was draining for them in a way that I couldn't really appreciate.

I do now.

I'm glad to hear that Lana has turned a corner and is starting to feel better. You too. Stay strong.