Friday, February 4, 2011

The Himalayan Hike continues

Hi, all.

This is a newsy update, as we continue our trek through the annals of medicine and biochemistry. Nancy's first chemo round did not put her in remission, so she started chemo round two about 24 hours ago. This is a shorter, more intense round, lasting three days I believe. I understand that this round should knock her leukemia cell production down to the point that her immune system can recover some function. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to talk to her attending doc, Dr. Andreatis, so I don't know the full scoop.

We expect this will take about another 3 weeks (she's already been in the hospital 3-1/2 weeks) and the long stretch in the hospital is hard for her, as you might imagine. She will get a break after this, assuming all goes well, as her doctors want to get her home for some recovery time, to prepare for the stem cell transplant. And to recover her sanity.

Her brother gave a blood sample for testing today, and her sister will be doing the same early next week. The stem cell match results will be available in about 10 days for him, and 14 days for her, so we will know more about where we stand about finding a donor in mid-February.

On a different note, we have another loss in our lives. Nancy's stepmother, Vangie, passed away last night, after several years of decline with Alzheimer's, and several months of skilled nursing care. Her Connecticut family is gathering out here for the funeral early next week, which Nancy of course cannot attend. I'll be there.

I also attended the funeral for my ex-wife's father Edward Malcolm on Wednesday. He was a fine, loyal, opinionated man, Armenian descent, native Californian, WWII B24 bombardier, Star Trek fan. May he rest in peace.

2011 has been about non-stop loss and change so far. I'm too sad and fatigued to do the dreamwork at the moment. It's hard to lose the ones we love, but for me right now, it's harder to see those we love in prolonged discomfort, receiving a poison as a cure. Reminding me of my favorite mantra

Om asatoma sadgamaya,
tamaso ma jyotir, gamaya
mirtyor ma amritam gamaya

My loose translation, forgive me, my Hindu friends:

Oh, great unknown divine,
lead me from the unreal to the dawn of knowledge,
from the ignorance of my incarnation to illumination,
and transform my poison to my nectar


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