Wednesday, January 12, 2011

His Last Chemo

The last chemo treatment ... 

There is silence in my heart when I write that. 

There are at least 4 more radiation treatments. 

Still kinda numb - not unlike Don who is kinda numb but not numb enough. 

I wonder how much Don will remember of all this. The brain has a great way of blocking trauma. 

He struggles to sleep at night, the pain awakens him. He needs to eat but he just sits there and puts his head on the table, dreading the pain of swallowing. 
He has been using his Christmas equipment we are glad to say.  He rests on the couch. I tell him to go ahead and rest cause this is the only time he will be allowed to lay around. 

But I do have this funny story to tell you ..

Picture Don - all a mess. Losing his hair on the back of his head, skin darkened and peeling from the constant burning of the ex ray. Won't eat anything, says it all tastes horrible. Barely drinks water, only has enough to help him as he struggles to get little tiny pills down his blistered throat.  He falls asleep as soon as he sits down.
 The poor guy is exhausted and wiped out. 
We expect all that. We all understand his depleted condition. And so we do everything we can to lighten his load.  No big deal, it's family. 

He gets a phone call - he answered the phone and on the other end is some guy that he did a survey for that needed some clarification for the city .. about some buildings and stuff. 
The next day after the call (which I knew nothing about) when we were packing up to drive to Durham, around 7:15 am, Don starts gathering survey stuff to put in the car. 

Here is a guy that struggles to talk, eat, drink and walk with out stooping - packing up the car with survey equipment. I know it had been days since he ate any real food, and with that I mean 1 cup worth of protein, milk and ice cream and he thinks he is going to go survey. 

Surveying is an occupation that requires a lot of careful detail. Down to the smallest degrees of numbers. So, here is Don, drugged and spacey ..  planning on going to the customers house to help him out. 

I drive us to Durham cause it's a long drive and Don gets pretty tired - as we were driving I was trying to get across to Don his weakened condition,  I went ahead and explained all the reasons why him helping this guy out was not a good idea. I called Benjamin - asked him for his advice on how to handle this .. he told me .. "Dad will do what dad will do - good luck"

Don was having particular medical problems that day so we had to stay late to talk to the dr. 
I thought for sure since we were delayed and he was SO tired that for sure when he called the guy that he was going to cancel due to illness .. but no, instead he called him - speaking with a hoarse voice just told the guy his radiation went a little long that he would be an hour late. 
The guy was fine with that and they set a time. 

I have to tell you, I was mad. I couldn't believe he would be so ... well, something ... to agree to doing that - even after I explained to him the lack of wisdom concerning that course of action. 

Mr. Don just set his jaw and said that not only is he going to South Boston to do this survey but I was driving him there and would I get going cause he didn't want to be late. 

grrr.  Knowing my stubborn man I decided that I will indeed drive him from his radiation treatment in Durham - to South Boston (over and hour and a half drive) - while I drove he slept, exhausted the whole way. 
To be perfectly honest .. I cried. 
There were so many things going on in our lives and this was just to much. 

We finally arrive. I was hesitant but cooperative - he told me I could just stay in the car.

 In the freezing cold he got out of the car and measured all around the property with that guy for over 45 min. He was walking and talking and moving just like normal! 

He finally finished the physical measuring, got back in the car with his note book, pencil and numbers and started doing his planning. Meanwhile I finished my nap - he got back out - gave the man his adjusted plat and then got back into the warm car. Ready to go home now. 

But the part I absolutely love about this story is the look in his eyes when he got back into the car. He had a look of stubborn accomplishment. 

He had surveyed! 

Weeks of chemo, radiation, starvation, lethargy and exhaustion did not stop him ... He still had what it took to do the job. 

I laughed out loud ..  I had to give him credit, he did it. And he loved it. I was very proud of him. 

One of Don's favorite sayings that he tells Benjamin, his grandsons and the young bucks God's brings into his life  ... 

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. 

And I guess Don did just that. 

The rest of the story .. not ten minutes down the road .. he was fast asleep in the passenger seat.   Exhausted but happy. 

Note from Don ... 

thanks brothers and sisters for your continuing prayer support!!!   but specifically for these final weeks, I need His assistance in patience and strength as the treatments are completed, my throat is very sore, hard to swallow, I've lost over 30 pounds now, the chemo side effects last 5 days now so I cannot get anything done, Mary is very faithful, trying to feed me and medicate me but I tend to not be very cooperative. I received my last chemo today, but still have 6 more radiation treatments, then another week or two downhill before recovery begins.      thanks for you continued prayers!!!!!!!!      Don


Elisa Mary Abele said...

I LOVE THIS STORY!!! And I can totally see dad's face, and the twinkle in his eye. I'm so glad for him that he was able to survey. :)

Good job, dad!!

And I'm SO thankful that we're coming down the home stretch in treatments!! Praise the Lord.

Dee Dee said...

We love y'all for who you are. So happy cancer has not changed who you are!

Cathi said...

You are such a testimony to God's faithfulness! Isn't it amazing that He encourages us with moments like that? Giving you the strength (and stubbornness ;)) to survey?
We love you! Praying for you as you see the light at the end of this tunnel!

Scot and Kristen said...