Things are going pretty well here. The last time I posted about this, we had tried reducing Kate’s steroid dose and the aphasia came roaring back, and we were just about to begin the second round of chemotherapy.
The chemo — five days of pills, with a doubled daily dosage — went off with almost no side effects, and the increased steroids have worked well. She’s gone from “can barely get a full sentence out” to “some hesitation and occasional wrong words.” The steroids do carry some undesirable side effects, including facial swelling and tremor, but for now we will just have to live with them. The next round of chemo begins later this week.
At the moment Kate’s biggest problems are strength, stamina, and balance. But those are all better than they were, and her mental energy and concentration are improved; she’s being all ambitious and proactive in a very encouraging way. She does have some memory issues, which may or may not improve with time. But she’s been cooking and decluttering and doing crossword puzzles and knitting (slowly) and just generally being more Kate-like. She can walk faster and farther than before, and doesn’t have to take several naps a day any more. Still not driving, though, and I don’t think she has the stamina to take the bus, so when I go out of town I still want someone in the house to help her. We both hope that won’t last forever.
We have continued trying to walk a lot, exercise several times a week, and eat right. Spring is definitely here (we’re well past crocuses and daffodils and into tulips and cherry blossoms), which makes the walking easier and more fun. And Kate has started working with her trainer at the gym again, which can be exhausting and sometimes kind of discouraging but a very good forward step. We could both be exercising more than we are, but what else is new?
I’ve been doing pretty well myself. Progress on the novel continues, I’ve seen some short story reprints, and I’ve been working on a novelette that I hope to be able to tell you more about soon. I’ve been doing weekly yoga and got a couple of days out of town on my own. I also got a small spot removed from my nose (“It’s probably nothing, but let’s take it off and have it analyzed”) and finally got a clean bill of health on my lungs, which we’ve been watching for possible sarcoidosis for the last year and a half.
Thanks to Janna, Andi, Dave, Will, Brenda, Ariel, and John (and possibly others I’ve forgotten), all of whom came by for a short or long visit. It’s greatly appreciated, because we haven’t been able to go to a convention or square dance for months. However, we are trying to get back to dancing (we’ll see how that goes) and will visit Las Vegas in late April. This trip is a bit of an experiment, which will help us figure out what we can and can’t expect to be able to do on future trips. In May I will fly to Southern California for a week to record some more technical training videos for lynda.com, and we hope to attend the annual square dance convention in St. Louis. After that, who knows?
Thanks for your visits and cards and letters and emails. This is a marathon, and your cheers help keep us going.