Tuesday, September 14, 2021

An eventful week (part 2)

Early on Thursday we threw some clothes into a suitcase, threw the suitcase into our car along with our 12-lb. chihuahua-Terrier mix Abby and her pink crate -- okay, we didn't really throw the dog or the crate into the car -- and made the four-hour trip over to Alabama to spend a few days with our daughter and son-in-law.

You will remember that we couldn't be there on Wednesday when she had lumpectomy surgery for breast cancer because on the same day I was receiving intra-vitreous injections in both eyes for macular degeneration.

Late in the day on Thursday, we received the news we had all been waiting for and did not have to wait two weeks after the surgery to receive. Our daughter's surgeon called to tell her that she had had a "pathologic complete response" (pCR), which means there are no redidual cancer cells in her body. She is cancer-free. There were some very happy people around here Thursday afternoon. Our daughter had chosen to receive chemotherapy first, then surgery (this approach is called adjuvant surgery) and it proved to be successful. This method of treatment works best most often for women who are HR positive (HR+) and HER2 negative (HER-), but our daughter was the complete opposite going into this; she was HR negative (HR-) and HER2 positive (HER2+).

I have learned that HR stands for hormonal receptors (for hormones like estrogen and progesterone) and HER2 stands for human epithelial growth factor 2 receptor. Scientists have determined that HER2 is located on chromosone 17 in humans. Science has certainly come a long way since my mother's mastectomy in 1949.

On Friday we received the sad news from our second son that the family had decided to put down their black Lab, Sharpie. One of the sweetest dogs we have ever known, Sharpie was nearly 17 years old; he joined the family when he was a 3-month-old puppy. In his old age, he had become both blind and deaf, and for the past few months had grown weaker to the point he had difficulty standing, let alone trying to walk. It was time, probably past time, and we will all miss him greatly. I will remember him in his happier and stronger days when he was running in the yard.

On Saturday afternoon, we learned that an old friend, Walter Turner, had succumbed to Covid-19 while on a ventilator at Floyd (County) Medical Center in Rome, GA. He had been diagnosed as having pneumonia, Covid-19, and colitis. He was in renal failure as well. Walter and his wife Margaret, who celebrated their 47th anniversary in August, have a daughter, Claire, and a son, Christopher. Margaret is also in the hospital with pneumonia and Covid-19. For several years Margaret was choir director at our church and Walter sang in the tenor section. Margaret also taught piano at a university about two hours away in Tennessee. At the time of Walter's passing he was pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Rome and Associate Chair of the Religious Studies Department at Beulah Heights University in Atlanta. During the years that Margaret directed our choir, I was its accompanist, and many of us often stopped on the way home after choir rehearsals on Wednesday nights to eat at a Waffle House or an International House of Pancakes. We would talk and laugh, and one memorable night we stood in the parking lot of the Waffle House while Walter, Margaret, and I sang "Love, Mercy, and Grace" (#153 in the old Cokesbury Hymnal) from memory. The others in the group, who had not grown up using the Cokesbury Hymnal, stood around with their jaws dropped open in disbelief. This is all by way of saying that we are going to miss Walter very much and are fervently hoping that Margaret will recover soon.

With Paul's death a couple of weeks ago and Walter's on Saturday, five people I knew personally have died of Covid-19.

Other things happened this week that I had intended to write about in this post also, but somehow they suddenly seem unimportant.

15 comments:

  1. I am thrilled to hear that your daughter is cancer free! That is wonderful news for her and the whole family. I'm sorry to hear about Sharpie. Our pets really are a part of the family and it is difficult when we lose them. I am sorry also to hear of the death of yet another one of your friends from Covid. I hope his wife is able to get past her Covid. This pandemic has sure been hard on so many of us. I hope you and your wife are very careful when you go out. It feels like we are going into another winter like last year even with the vaccine.

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    1. Bonnie, thank you! We are thrilled beyond words about our daughter. Part of this post was a blessing to be able to write but parts of it were very hard. We have both had two Pfizer shots and plan to get the third booster later this year. Thanks for caring.

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  2. I am pleased to hear it is good news for your daughter. As for Covid it is a deadly virus when it comes to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

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    1. Rachel, I’m glad we had good news to share. My two friends who died recently were 73 and 94 but I don’t think either one had major underlying conditions. Both of them were reasonably healthy.

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  3. Bonnie, I decided to fill these last two posts with details about the ordinary happenings during a single week of my life because so many blogs I read do just that and I hardly ever do. I found it very difficult to do and do it justice at the same time. I probably will not do it again any time soon. It definitely wasn’t my normal modus operandi . Thank you for wading through it all!

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  4. Very good news about your daughter. what a relief for your whole family.

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  5. Red, yes, truly. Thank you for commenting!

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  6. So much to deal with, a great deal of pain, and I'm very sorry to hear about your losses, it's been an onslaught, but your daughter's results are quite wonderful, what a fighter she is! There is some therapy in blogging the personal ups and downs, I've definitely found this to be so, but I do understand your normal M.O is one of entertainment and fun, and that too lightens the soul. Much love to you all. x

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  7. Ruby/Michele, this week has been like living through a cyclone and unwinding another cyclone at the same time. Very stressful, to say the least. I don’t think I could maintain a diary style of blogging for very long.

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  8. It was a week of highs and lows!
    You must be able to breathe easier knowing your daughter is cancer free, thats wonderful.
    Sharpie has gone where all good dogs must go. Its terribly sad but a privilege to farewell them, I always think.

    I'm sorry about your friends, covid is just not nice. I'm going to look for that hymn on you tube.

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    1. kylie, highs and lows indeed! We are simultaneously mourning and celebrating. It is a fine line to walk; I'm not that compartmentalised.

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  9. Firstly I am very happy for you and for your daughter.

    The other news is, of course, saddening both for what your friends have gone through but also for those left behind with their grief.

    I'm very glad that you wrote the post. Those of us who follow blogs because we enjoy the people who write them as well as the blogs usually find occasional personal blogs very welcome because they put a personality to the writer. I have followed blogs over the years where I have become friends in 'real life' with the bloggers. Some, such as you, I am unlikely ever to meet face to face so the snippets of your real life that I see bring a human touch to what can, in some other blogs, occasionally be a rather sterile relationship.

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    1. Graham, Than you for your kind words. We are, of course, thrilled over our daughter’s recovery and quite sad over the unexpected loss of our friends.

      I am happy to learn that you and others enjoy reading about my “real life” (life outside the blog) so I will try to do more of it occasionally. I don’t think I could manage to do it on a regular basis, though. I find it draining. I do feel that we are friends even though we haven’t actually met.

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  10. Wonderful news about your daughter. I am thrilled for all of you.

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