I know its only been a week since I last posted on here but it feels like forever! There has been a lot happen in the last 7 days but I’ll do my best to update you on everything without getting to off-topic. 🙂
If you have any deductive reasoning skills, you’ve probably deduced that treatment was rough on us last round. I didn’t even have a chance to comment on the final day of treatment due to the whirlwind of emotions, events and days that followed. Linds went in for treatment on Friday and felt tired but nothing too abnormal. However, as the treatment wore on, she began to feel more and more tired. She was in pretty good shape when I visited for lunch with my Mom and Deb but she said she was feeling very tired by that point and we hadn’t even started the Etoposide, the chemo drug that causes the most exhaustion for Linds. Knowing her stubbornness, she fought the sleepiness before eventually succumbing to her exhaustion and taking a nap as soon as I got home from work at 3pm. She stayed in bed until after daycare kids had left and basically woke up to eat the delicious meal provided to us by a few daycare parents, thanks Beth and Joe! Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to eat more than a few bites of the delicious meal due to her upset stomach so we got her a grilled cheese and decided to go lay in bed together for the rest of the night to get some rest. It was a pretty rough afternoon/evening, watching her be overtaken by the drugs that were freshly coursing through her veins. That’s super disheartening as a significant other, going back to my feelings of helplessness I talked about earlier; watching her suffer and being helpless over the situation sucks.
However, that night didn’t prepare me for Saturday morning. I woke up around 5:30am to some faint sounds of what sounded like dry-heaving. I immediately recognized what was going on and pretty much ran to our master bathroom but Lindsay was nowhere to be found. In a panic, I darted towards the stairs, thinking she had woke up without me and got sick downstairs. On my way down the hallway upstairs I noticed the hallway bathroom door was open with the light on and Lindsay was curled up in front of the toilet, in obvious distress. She looked at me, dark bags under her eyes, a blank stare and her mouth ever so slightly agape from wanting to avoid the terribleness that was vomiting bile and said in a quiet voice, “This sucks.”
I’m pretty sure I watched my heart fall out of my chest and hit the bathroom floor and shatter into a million pieces.
My worst nightmares of this situation had come true, Lindsay had gotten sick from her treatments. Thankfully, up until this point (25.5 weeks) we hadn’t experienced any of this so I guess in that sense, we avoided this for quite some time but it was here now and it sucked just the same.
Saturday wore on very slowly with Linds and I balancing the fine line of maintaining Lindsay’s nutritional nourishment of Baby Joey, maintaining hydration and not inducing the nauseous feelings or vomiting. Needless to say, we were pretty unsuccessful in all aspects except she didn’t vomit with the exception of that morning episode that was still all-too-fresh in my mind. We basically spent the morning in between our bed and the couch with me taking a “break” to go mow the lawn. We had been invited to an old friend of mine’s wedding (Congrats Adam and Kelsey!) that was in Springfield, about 90 minutes away, that two of my best friends and I went to. Lindsay stayed at home with Sam to watch some OITNB (Orange Is The New Black for all you non-cool kids) while I went to represent us at the wedding but she still wasn’t feeling well at all. Lindsay was in bed by the time I got back from the wedding but had informed me on our way home that she was feeling better and less nauseous than that morning or afternoon. I walked up to give her a kiss before returning to our living room to watch the Hawks game 5 win in Tampa. Even though the Hawks were on and won, my mind was elsewhere that night and I was just glad to see that day end, it was a long and very emotionally exhaustive day.
Sunday was an improvement over Saturday but she still felt really crappy and “off” mentally. I had decided prior to treatment that I wanted to do something for her to lift her spirits during last weekend so Linds and I decided to paint Baby “Joey’s” room and setup his crib and changing table that each of our parents had so graciously bought and given to us/Joey. 🙂 My Dad, Grandpa and Mom came down to help get he project done in a reasonable amount of time and boy, was a I glad they came down. We painted Baby Joey’s room a lighter blue (I say baby blue but Lindsay says “It’s not baby blue!” so I guess it’s not baby blue) but left the darker gray paint that was separated by a white colored plate rail that spanned the room at just above head height. Ok, it’s head height on me and Lindsay anyway…we always say we’re going to have “ginger midgets” due to us both being pretty short and red hair running on both sides of our families. We mean that VERY lightheartedly and of no offense to any little people or redheads out there. 🙂 It turned out really cute and will go perfectly with our Monster’s Inc. theme! We got the painting done and turned our attention to the crib and changing table to finish up what we had for our incomplete nursery. The room was going just as planned but when I came down to have Linds come look at it; she was sitting down on the living room couch, she began to get upset. She was upset because she couldn’t move much at all without getting nauseous or exhausted and then she explained that she was really upset because she should be able to be helping with this stuff, and be able to get excited about her son’s nursery or help put together furniture or hang decorations for our Monster’s Inc. theme but she just couldn’t. The chemo had taken its toll on her mentally and physically for the first time and I remember thinking, “Shit. How did I overlook that? How did I not see this coming, as I’d feel the same way.” The feeling of involvement during cancer and chemo treatments becomes on of the primary things that you want and cling to. Involvement in your choices for care, involvement in choosing your treatments, involvement during appointments and treatment weeks and yet somehow I overlooked this involvement. My heart obviously broke for Linds, I wanted her to be able to do all those things and now I can’t take those first few steps toward nursery completion back and I felt terrible for it. I knew that when she was able to get up and see it and see it all put together and starting to take shape that she’d love it, and she did, but it still pains me to know that I made the mistake of making her feel uninvolved.
Monday was another Monday, it was a long and exhaustive day but ultimately Lindsay was on the mend so it was a pretty uneventful but Lindsay was feeling better than the previous 2.5 days so we just took it easy and I made sure she was resting as often as possible. Then Tuesday happened.
Lindsay called me at work at 8:37am and as soon as I saw her number my stomach started turning, she NEVER calls me at work without texting me first or if it’s any time other than her usual 11am phone call. I answered with a short “Hello?” with a tremble in my voice. Lindsay, in a stress-laced and hurried voice, said “So I called Dr. Leonardi’s office about the cramps I’ve been having and the decreased baby activity and they told me to go to the hospital right away for a pre-term labor check.”
If you have ever been kicked in the testicles; we’re now on the same page with how that felt hitting my ear drums. My stomach twisted into a knot, I closed my eyes and everything got eerily quiet in my mind and I could hear nothing but Lindsay’s breath on the other end of the line. I was scared, I wanted to cry and all I could think was “Why the hell does this bad stuff keep happening to us?”
“Why don’t you just call Dr. Svientek’s (our regular OB) office and we can go there?” I said. “Well that’s what I’m doing, they told us not to go to the hospital, ever, unless our water has broken or it’s absolutely necessary so I already called them. We’re going in as soon as Claire gets here.” Claire is Lindsay’s daycare assistant and has been an awesome resource and friend to us during this whole experience, being super accommodating to our crazy schedules and making this whole process smoother so thanks, Claire. Anyway, Claire was in around 9am so Linds left immediately after she got there. I sped towards the hospital, making sure I was focused on watching for any police cars that would most certainly write me a ticket, but the attempt to focus was pretty futile, I was all over the map emotionally and mentally at that point. Anyway, we got to Dr. Svientek’s office around 9:10am…thank God we live close to a lot of awesome physicians! One of Linds’ friends, Jess, the awesome receptionist at Dr. Svientek’s office, took us straight back to the pre-term labor monitoring room and another nurse came in and started hooking straps and small monitoring sensors up to Lindsay’s belly. I was a nervous wreck at this point, FYI, and could feel the sweat on my hands and back reminding me of it. They had her hooked up for about 30 minutes but it felt like 30 years. Thank God, after the monitoring was done it was determined that the cramps and decreased activity were most likely a result of dehydration from being sick and not being able to stay as hydrated as usual over the weekend. I seriously felt like the Empire State Building fell off my back, I was so relieved. Dr. Svientek came in to talk to us about the situation, how to avoid it going forward and did a general health check before sending us on our way. While I’m on the topic of her and the Women for Women office, Dr. Svientek is an outstanding OB/GYN and extremely helpful throughout the entire pregnancy process. I would recommend her to any expectant couple and her office staff is phenomenal as well. It starts up front with her amazing receptionist and checkout ladies, Jess and Lisa who are always so smiley and bubbly, you can’t help but love them. Then is the awesome nursing staff, we’ve only dealt with Stacy (Dr. Svientek’s “roomer”) and Courtney (Svientek’s nurse) both are extremely caring, knowledgeable and easy to talk to. Lastly you have the entire doctorial staff that is awesome but I am partial to Dr. Svientek, I really cannot say enough good things about her or her staff.
Thank goodness the rest of this week has been pretty mundane, Lindsay has been on the mend ever since Monday and she’s feeling about as good as can be expected at this point so I couldn’t be happier! The week finally turned around and we’re back to positive events and thoughts but man was that a rough patch! What would a blog post be without a message, right? I’ll focus this message on Father’s Day, as it’s right around the corner and it’s a holiday that holds a new, special place in my heart. What does being a Father mean to me? Being a Father has so many different facets and I’d be naive to think that I could put them all here but there are some that I feel strongly about and ironically, or maybe not, a lot of those fall in line with what my Dad taught me or showed me growing up.
Being a Father is being a rock for your family; financially, emotionally, mentally, physically and metaphorically. Being a Father is always being there for your child when they need you most, not somewhere else like at work or out-of-town. Being a Father is carving out a moral compass that is so strong and so true that there is no way your child can misinterpret it. Being a Father is sacrificing things in your life to be able to better provide for your wife and children; it’s not about you anymore. Being a Father is accepting the fact that your life is forever changed and you have a new ‘wolf pack’ and it’s no longer you, Stew, Phil, Alan and the boys. (Hangover movie reference, anyone?) Being a father is being a coach, an on-call repairman and handyman, a cheerleader, a voice of reason, a pillar of honesty, a defender of your family, a silly and unashamed big kid, a fellow rough-houser or princess for your child on a whim, a symbol of strength and courage and most importantly, an unwavering and unflappable displayer of love. One of the more powerful quotes about being a father that every time I read it reminds me how important it is that I convey it to my son was written by the most beloved children’s authors of all time, Dr. Seuss.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. -Dr. Suess
This quote envelopes a lot of the qualities that I mentioned above and delivers a message that is very important to me. Everyone in this world is unique. Everyone is different. That’s just how it is and you know what? That’s ok. Encourage your children to be crazy, be silly, be kind. Teach them to laugh, to love and to show affection. Be their biggest fan and their biggest supporter, they need that more than anything in this world. My son is going to be the best thing that ever happened to Lindsay or I and he will be very aware from day one that he has our full support to be the “you” that God and he intended him to be, I just hope that a little bit, no matter how small, comes from me. 🙂 (I’m ready for hire, Dr. Suess…)
Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there. You all have played such a huge role in shaping your families and society and this weekend is a celebration of that. Make sure you call or if you can, go visit your Dad this weekend. Tell him how much he means to you and how much you love him, we never say those things enough to our loved ones, do we? My Dad told me at one point during this pregnancy that all of these feelings and reflective thoughts would hit me. Maybe it is true, maybe your Father really does know best growing up? If you’re under 20 and reading this, trust me, it will scare the crap out of you how much your Dad’s (and Mom’s) teachings come back full circle in life or how many “I’m turning into my Dad/Mom” moments you’ll have.
I love you Dad (Coach Weber), you’ve made me the man I am today and it’s almost time for me to take the torch and “coach” Baby Joey all the things that I have slowly learned from you, that you knew all along.