January 13

Today was the start of treatment for dad: chemotherapy and radiation. The plan is to have radiation for 5 days each week, for six weeks. Chemotherapy pills will be taken each evening, 7 days a week, for six weeks. After those six weeks, dad will continue to take chemo pills one week each month. 

This morning, dad had a PT appointment. The idea is to get as many PT/OT appointments in the bag before his treatment starts – this was made more complicated by the holiday and the long and unanticipated ICU ordeal a few weeks ago. The worry is that my dad will be too exhausted to get anything out of the appointments once the chemo and radiation start. So today, my dad did some strengthening exercises: squats, toe lifts, heel lifts, and practiced walking with his PT instructor. We will work on these exercises twice a day – his energy permitting. 

The house was packed with people today – lots of fix-it’s happening to make the house a safe place for my dad given his limited locomotion. Dave, our plumber is working on raising toilets, putting metal bars in the bathrooms for balance and stabilization, and installing a detachable showerhead. He also cured our garbage disposal, which was demoralizing for all of us. 

On my end, I got a lot of the necessary “to-do’s” done today: applying for a handicapped placard, making appointments, organizing his schedule, and picking out various things for the house. Robbie made this point the other day, but time is filled by all the tasks of a given day. Three errands may take an entire day, but one errand doesn’t take a third of the day. I find myself constantly reeling through my log of to-do’s, and have found it especially difficult to relax even when I’m relaxing. Thankfully, we’ve had a lot of extra help here the last few weeks, which got the house all organized before Robbie and Miles depart (today and tomorrow). 

Our nanny, Carol took dad to PAMF for his treatment today. Usually radiation takes about 15 minutes, but today there were a few more preparatory meetings about the initiation of this treatment, various side effects, etc., so they shared a very long day at the hospital. We reunited over burritos this evening and processed the day, as well as talked about what’s in store in the upcoming weeks. 

Mom took the night shift, and helped organize dad’s medicine, did taxes, and get him all ready for bed. Miles and I attempted a rescue mission of our fourth car, our grandparents’s old Ford Escort, which has been abandoned at Santa Clara Valley Medical for the past three weeks when Miles locked the single key (no spare) in the car. I won’t go into details, but the rescue failed. I’m sure I’ll face another bout of dealing with it in the upcoming weeks, but it was a fun night with Miles. He leaves tomorrow to start back up at Emerson for the new semester. 

Dad was utterly exhausted today. We weren’t expecting to see such a rapid transformation with the treatment, but it appears that the onset is quick and long lasting. I suppose we’ll all know more as he continues his treatment. 

Thanks to David Cohan for the huge gift of a ramp! David, we’re so grateful for your attentive generosity and willingness to help out in subtle but vital ways. 

Kennism of the day:
“If life were easy, you wouldn’t need toilet paper.”

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