Following is an email written by Cheri that was recently forwarded to us. We also learned there will be a spaghetti feed/benefit... probably on May 7. Local folks... I'll keep you informed.
Hello, all our dear friends!
We left the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHAD) Wednesday evening, and now are settling into Barbara and Roger's house. As many of you know, the kids and I were just meeting Dan's family for the first time during this New Hampshire vacation, but not to worry -- these folks are definitely NOT strangers any more! Dan's family has been absolutely wonderful, and we are developing life-long bonds during this trying time.
Dan's nephew Matthew, who is 19 years old, generously gave up his HUGE room for us. He's moved into his sister's old room, allowing all four of us to share his room and finally be together as a family again. That's good for my soul.
So now, we are: Barbara, Roger, Matthew, Nadine, Levi, Cheri, Dan, four dogs, about 15 cats, 27 goats, and what appears to be hundreds of chickens. A BIG and relatively happy family for the time being.
Nadine, as you know, received her first chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday, before leaving CHAD. The drugs are administered with a syringe, through the medi-port in her chest, over about 4 minutes each. Being the strong-willed, inquisitive young lass that she is, Nadine decided to give herself the treatments. So, with her nurse's help, she held the syringe, and gently squeezed the chemo into her own port. God bless her, she is so strong.
So far, so good, with the potential side effects. They gave her (actually, she gave herself) an anti-nausea medication before the chemo drugs, and that seems to have worked beautifully. She has complained of an upset tummy a few times, but nothing to speak of, really. The only effects Dan and I have noticed are that she is definitely tired -- taking long naps in the afternoon, and her voice is raspy (that one is breaking our hearts, just because it is a physical and therefore, obvious, thing).
The oncologist said that she will probably begin to lose her hair by the end of the week, and by the end of week two, she'll probably have lost it all. We have decided to broach this subject when it happens, rather than to tell her now and get her worried about it. I did buy a really cute pink (what else?) hat in the hospital gift shop, and we're saving that to give her when the time comes. Keep your eyes open for pink bandanas and cute hats!
Too bad we can't hang on to those wonderful gifts called Shock and Denial... The reality of all this is beginning to sink in, and as you can imagine, it stinks. It's strange to be far from home and friends and the familiar. On the other hand, it's great to be here where there is such great medical care and Dan's family. So......
The best thing about being here is that we totally trust her physicians. I think it would be an even harder trial if we questioned her care. But we love her oncologists, her surgeon was amazing, and we believe she is in the best possible hands. So, thank God for that.
It's sunny and spring is coming to New Hampshire. Every day when I look outside and the sun is shining and the trees are beginning to bud, I thank God. I thank God that this happened now, and not a few years ago. When I was doing my Wilms tumor reading, I discovered that usually Wilms tumor rears its ugly head before the child is four years old. Five years old is rare. Six years old is really at the OLD end for this.
When Nadine was younger, I didn't know God's amazing presence in our lives, I didn't have my pillar of strength -- Dan, I didn't have my cutie Levi, I didn't have my prayer group and my steadfast Helena-based friends, and my parents lived 2000 miles away. So this awful life-changing event had to wait. And now that it's happening, I have God, Dan, Levi, all of you, and my parents right there to help prop us up when we need strength from an external source!
For now, Dan and I are feeling strong. We are anxious to have a treatment plan and to know when we can go home, but meanwhile, we're in relatively good spirits and the kids are doing great. The hardest thing for me, right now, is that we're back in "vacation mode" while this is definitely not vacation any more. We are here in Tilton, just waiting until Monday when the radiation starts.
So we're trying to have fun, and fill our days with family visiting and goat milking, and maple-syrup-making. We're trying to keep our minds on the good and off the bad. We're looking toward Monday and beginning to tackle this thing head-on, while at the same time dreading the next six months.
And we are always grateful that you all are in our lives. Your prayers and support are felt and appreciated. We couldn't do this without you all.
We love you,
Cheri, Dan, Nadine and Levi