The only way I can describe this past week is it felt like a tunnel. A very short, narrow tunnel that must be traversed on one's knees.
I knew if we just kept plodding along, we'd get out, and be able to stretch and breathe.
Just a recap of details, since I feel a bit scattered on what information has made it past the fringes of my own mind. Dom was admitted on the 11th for the second round of chemo. Prior to admission, he'd been struggling with fevers and a rash. The chemo he receives is different from week to week. If you remember, he sailed through the first course.
This time was so very different. It knocked him flat out. He had a fever for over a week. I cannot imagine having chemo on top of feeling poorly. He didn't just have a reaction to Bactrim. He had a very bad and possibly dangerous reaction. And then they threw the chemo at him, that as his covering doctor said, "oh yeah, that stuff, it will tear your guts out." That was his response to Dom after asking Dom how he was feeling and Dom sharing that he couldn't hold anything down for several days.
I felt helpless.
I'd cry. I'd get mad. Never at Dom. He did not ask for any of this.
But, he just endured. I searched my mind for the last time I'd felt really sick. I have the constitution the doctor expected Dom to have. I do not get sick. But, I did get sick, once, on a Saint Patrick's Day over a decade ago. I was out with friends having drinks and dinner. I had not had more than a sip of anything. I realized I was quite ill and got up. There was a very long line for the wash room, and I nearly fainted waiting. I stumbled outside, and laid in the parking lot in dirt and grease and was very sick. I picked myself up, weak as a kitten, and after a few steps, had to regroup by laying over a trash can. I kid you not when I tell you that a man who had watched this entire episode came up to me and asked me if I was there with anyone in particular or could we "hang out."
But I digress. That is probably the sickest I have ever been. I felt like someone had kicked me repeatedly the next day. And I remember just laying as still as possible so as not to feel any more sensation than I had to.
And I looked at Dom. And knew he felt a hundred times worse even than that.
He was supposed to be discharged last Saturday, but that day came and went. As well as Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday.
I went home last Monday and picked up his sister and brought her to the hospital. It tore my heart out to leave him there feeling so down; but only one of us can stay over night. And I knew sister brings healing love.
I took advantage of a day to clean the house, and by Wednesday, he was being discharged. But not before a round of chemo on Tuesday! When he told me he was coming home, I was shocked.
His white blood count is about zero. They don't usually release someone with a blood count so low. Last I'd seen him, he was so quiet and sick.
When I returned, he was up and eating and walking and putting on normal people clothes.
We've been home a few days now. Today, Saturday is the first day I do not have to drive to Sacramento and Dom does not have to be poked or prodded. So we hope. He's getting his energy and strength back. He just ate eggs, bacon and toast, so I'd say he's doing all right.
So we know, we've said this before, we say it again. This is only now. We hang on to the moments that feel good. Every time I see him come back to life after being brought to the brink, it gives me hope, and calms my spirit. I know we'll have more struggles ahead. I hang on to a thought that perhaps he has faced the worst in enduring the toughest round of chemo whilst already sick from the Bactrim, on whose bottle I have drawn a skull and crossbones and frowned at many times.
He and Sam and I are still in our pajamas this morning, just relishing these moments of ease. *Edit, I'm still in my jammies, and they're off on a walk. We're refueling for the fight ahead. We're enjoying the semi normalcy of home. The kitties are enjoying a new friend to cuddle and open the door for them a hundred times a day. I'm enjoying how far away the hospital feels, and I'm writing on my heart that we are loved and cared for, and today's now feels good. We'll hold on to the good.