January 24

Dad made huge strides today! Real strides: he was up walking with serious fluidity and grace throughout the morning. 

It all started when my mom accidentally forgot to pack the wheelchair for their morning runs. Dad, a pretty good improvisor all his life, took the opportunity to work on his walking, and spent the morning walking around with nary a stumble. The two of them walked to Patagonia after radiation, and picked out another beanie (today’s fixation). 

Mom and dad arrived back home around 11am, where they were greeted by Dave Haas and Bob Wilkie: two of my dad’s most historic friendships. Dad grew up with these two in Northern Oregon, and the two made the trip out for a visit this weekend. Dad lit up being around them. When I walked into the house this morning, it was as if I had time traveled back to three months ago: dad was sitting in one of our living room chairs (rather than his wheelchair), looking polished and centered. He was talking about books, and came off as totally engaged. As I’ve noted in my earlier entries, dad has been less present the last few days. This was a very different person sitting across from me today. I have a hunch it has something to do with his visitors, as well as the 10 out of a total 25 treatment sessions. He’s making his way through the treatment: once he finishes the 25 radiation therapy sessions, he’ll be maxed out on radiation, thus putting an end to this page of the illness. 

Dad shared a lunch with Dave and Bob, and then meandered back into his makeshift bedroom (our old living room) for a long afternoon nap. He was briefly interrupted by occupational therapy, where he worked on rolling out putty with his hands (I imagine something for precision grip and strengthening of his hands). Dad also demonstrated how his left arm (up until this point, the part of his body that has faced the most apparent physical consequences of surgery) has regained a lot more strength. He was moving it up and down, shrugging his shoulders, and increasing his mobility. This was a great step for him as well. Now the trick is for him to stay on top of his physical therapy before the exhaustion hits each day. This is tricky, because his energy can drop in a matter of minutes, and anything following his crash is soon forgotten. 

Dad also mentioned a working goal for him in his recovery: walk the 10k Bay to Breakers. I plan to take him to Sawyer Camp Trail in the upcoming week, or even this weekend, where he can start stretching his legs at a greater distance. I’ll post more on that when the time comes. 

I’m here snuggled up here with Kelly. It’s so nice to have a full house of visitors – keeps the energy and spirits high. I feel a humbling degree of gratitude to all my close friends and family. The Boston front (Hunter, Robbie, Erin, Arielle, and Dan) came together to move all my stuff out of my apartment. Today I get to sleep with “my” pillows and blankets – like my dad has said, it’s the small things that make the biggest difference. Boston family, I don’t have words to express how deeply I feel you over here. 

Dad and I were talking today about the reservoir of love that has come his way in the last month. While he may not be the most communicative person at the moment, know that he feels and savors the energy coming from each of you. 

With love,
Mikaela

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