I’m 75% done! One more Taxol-Herceptin treatment this year, two in January, and I’m on to just Herceptin.
This week’s appointment was scheduled as early as possible because Wednesday also happened to be our youngest child’s 5th birthday. Since he was too young to travel to Austin with his brother, sister, and grandmother to visit my brother and his family during winter break, he has been left at home with us. The poor little guy — no siblings, no preschool, no birthday party (delayed until late January after I finish chemo and no longer have to worry about being exposed to kiddie germs), and no parents for a good part of his 5th birthday. We had to do something.
Luckily, a small army of loving adults stepped in to save the day. On our way to the infusion clinic, we dropped him off at my friend Truc’s house. She was already waiting with a living room filled with her own children and two other little friends. Together, they celebrated his birthday with a morning full of indoor archery, bouncy balloons, and all around fun.
Next, my brother Dale and his partner Tom drove down from Concord to take Oliver out to lunch. I had suggested a trip to Peninsula Creamery, a local spot offering up milkshakes, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and onion rings (Dale and Tom were only too happy to comply on this point). However, when asked where he wanted to eat, the little birthday boy requested Ikea. Ikea??? I should interject here to say that this was no outlier — the combination of simple but agreeable kid food (pasta, chocolate milk, carrots with Ranch dressing, and Swedish almond cake) paired with the nearby play area in Children’s Furniture has made the home goods store a not infrequently requested treat for him. Visions of onion rings were thus swapped with Swedish meatballs, and off they went.
Afterwards, the trio drove to our nearby pool. Outdoors. In late December. (Hey, it’s Northern California. We pay good money for the privilege.) Birthday boy strapped on his flippers and demonstrated how he can now doggie paddle through the water, no doubt delighted with the new, rapt audience for monologues on his ability to twist around, zoom left, zoom right, and swim backwards. One spritzy locker room shower and a thermos of hot cocoa later, they were on to the next destination: the candy store!
Needless to say, by the time he was returned to us mid-afternoon, he had far more fun than he would have had with us, and far more fun than we had at Kaiser. That’s not to say our day at Kaiser was unpleasant. The atmosphere in the infusion clinic was slightly more festive than normal, with nurses wearing ornament earrings and patients arriving bearing baked treats for the staff. Beneath the veneer of holiday cheer, however, it was business as usual and since cancer apparently doesn’t take vacations I expect to see many of my fellow patients again next week just before the new year. At any rate, because our early clinic arrival meant that my treatment wasn’t delayed by a day’s build-up of other patients’ complications, we were able to finish by early afternoon and finally make our way home to celebrate the rest of our 5 year old’s special day.
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