My deep thanks to all of you who could attend our gathering yesterday. There were more than 30 of us, and Tina Benson helped us put together a lovely, supportive ritual experience. We had our circle on the upper deck, with full sunshine, a slight breeze, and the sound of water running down Fairfax Creek across the street. Many of us have mild sunburn today :-)
This morning, I took Nancy back to UCSF, where she is getting a 'port catheter' installed in her upper chest today (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_%28medical%29) and taking up residence in the heme-oncology ward in Long Hospital again. She will be back in the same place, the 11th floor, for the next four to six weeks, for her stem cell transplant. Just like her prior stay, you can visit if you are healthy, and you can always call her (starting tomorrow) on her cell phone.
In the mean time, her sister Janet is getting shots each day to boost her stem cell production, and she will be spending a day at the hospital later this week so they can be collected. The actual transfusion of stem cells should happen around April 12th, and Nancy’s counts should begin to recover two or three weeks after that. There are many articles on the web describing the procedure and the risks, just search for “allogenic stem cell transplant”.
It feels very different coming back to the hospital by choice. The first time, it was all about finding out what was wrong, and saving her life. Once she was in remission, she came home, and she has been feeling fine and doing her life for more than four weeks. Now Nancy chooses to return to the hospital, and step into this procedure because the cancer is already on it’s way back, and cannot be cured any other way. We drove through the back roads of Marin county last night, admiring the green hills and running water, joking about how we would rather just head up the coast and hide out at a bed and breakfast for a few months. But no, not this month. We choose the fire.