February 26

Dad’s on the upswing from last week’s exhausted and sad mental and physical space. Today, on his second-to-last appointment for radiation therapy, dad was moving around with fluidity and vigor. It’s close to a miracle that dad, after 8 weeks of aggressive chemo/radiation treatment post brain surgery and terminal cancer diagnosis, has actually gained weight and headed into the gym for a workout. From what I’ve heard, many patients who take such an aggressive route of treatment end up having to drop out or taper the chemo/radiation because their body can’t handle it. 

I’m amazed by him, even during the low points and the sadness. On the rare instances where dad falls into a low place, he works hard to surround himself and keep himself vital. We just got him subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, and he’s still trudging through the History of the Ukraine. In this fundamental way, his cognitive abilities are in-tact enough to allow him to continue and deepen many of his most cherished activities. 

Tomorrow, mom, dad, Robbie, Shingo, Isabel and I will celebrate dad’s last day of radiation at a local steak house. Today he breezed around the house with a whole different air: relaxed, well-rested, and fully alive. I haven’t seen him like this in a long time, and such an improvement from just a few days ago. A note on the steroids: Mom and dad met with Dr. Ray today for a followup on the steroid dosage. We’re going to continue on 8mg / day for awhile, so as keep dad’s brain swelling, as well as mental and physical state in check. 

When dad got home this morning, we headed to a local sewing shop to pick out a belated birthday gift for Miles. He comes home this upcoming Friday night for Spring Break! Robbie and I are getting the car situation in order in anticipation of his arrival: we just picked up the Rav4 from the shop and have replaced the rear window. We also took dad’s car into the shop due to a broken taillight and detached undercarriage. Good fun. 

Things are smoother here than in my last entry. On my end, I was called into the hospital on Tuesday morning to support one of my pregnant mamas who was in labor. For me, there’s nothing like a birth to change your perspective on life. 

I’m eager for Miles to come home, and for this chapter of dad’s daily visits to the hospital to come to a close. 

With thanks,
Mikaela

February 24

With today behind me, I have a much better understanding of dad’s recent lapse in coordination and spirit. Robbie, dad, and I headed over to PAMF early this morning to have a checkup with radiation oncologist, Dr. Ray. Mom spoke with Dr. Ray yesterday about my dad’s concerning symptoms, so this was a checkup to get the steroid medication back in check. 

Dr. Ray is your typical doctor: balding, bifocal glasses, middle aged, and a refined bedside manner. He performed a physical on dad to determine his cognitive functioning. From there, we determined what the healthy balance for continuing the steroid. According to Dr. Ray, many patients continue on the steroid for up to six weeks post-treatment. We upped his dosage from 2mg / day to 8mg / day. This should help dad’s coordination, give him a bit of euphoria, as well as keep dad’s appetite as voracious as it has been since the surgery. Side note, dad is definitely not missing any meals. In fact, a surprising and entirely unprecedented belly has begun to emerge on his frame!!!! 

I stayed to speak with Dr. Ray privately while Robbie and dad went into radiation (only three treatments left!). Though it’s so difficult to pinpoint any explicit sense of what the future looks like, I’m trying to understand where dad falls in a doctor’s line of patients. I’d really like to know what the doctor sees when he looks at dad’s chart, because we’re all moving around blind here. Dr. Ray was as helpful as he could be, though I still struggle to understand. 

Robbie, dad, and I headed to breakfast once we finished up at the hospital. I’m studying for the GRE, so I’m carrying around a box of vocab flashcards. The three of us worked on the words together – no surprise that dad offered a definition for each of them without delay or question. A lifetime of crossword puzzles and reading will do that for you. 

It was that time again! Dad and I headed to the nail salon to get our monthly mani-pedi. I’m doing my best to draw the line between “taking care of” and “caring for”. Though I have cared for dad’s nails recently, I realize that it’s more enjoyable for both of us to get the nails taken care of. So we headed to Touch of Elegance where dad indulged in a long foot rub. We left happy. 

Dad spent the rest of the day snuggled up in his sleeping bag reading the history of the Ukraine. When I got back from a run, I found him in the middle of an atlas, a world map, and his computer researching different aspects of the Ukraine. He’s retaining the information he reads, and is reading a ton these days. I’m relieved he got those skills back post-op; they were heavily weakened initially after his surgery. 

Dad got a Rosen session from mom after she finished up work for the day. From there, the four of us sat together while dad had a late dinner. He was evidently wiped from the day, and blissed out from the Rosen, and he soon went to bed for the night. Robbie, mom, and I spent the rest of the evening discussing all the options for further treatments and upcoming decisions that need to be made. 

I’m exhausted, but had a full, fun day with dad. Though he was a bit manic (side effect from the steroid dose increase), he was highly engaged and available. My hope is that tomorrow brings more of the same. 

With thanks, 

Mikaela

February 23

I’ve been worried about dad’s state of health a lot this weekend. Immediately after his surgery in December, he’d spill from the left side of his mouth with each sip of coffee, water, or juice. As he’s recovered, the spilling has all but stopped. The last few days I’ve noticed that dad’s been far less coordinated, and hasn’t been holding liquids in his mouth. I initially believed his clumsiness was due to the long walk he took on Tuesday afternoon. But the imbalance and lack of coordination has continued through to today. I’m worried that this indicates something about the growth of his tumor. His radiologist mentioned a few times that the effects of radiation and chemo to shrink and contain the tumor would likely continue well after the treatment wraps up on Thursday. I kept this in mind, but found it hard not to fear that perhaps a few days ago we had witnessed the peak in dad’s energy, motor control, and cognition. I know that he will return back to the wheelchair, but have recently worried that this would happen in the immediate future, rather than in a few months or even a few years from now. 

I encouraged dad and mom to take it easy, and to let him rest as much as he’d withstand. I’m worried about stifling his independence, but worry that his mobility will drop off precipitously, before anyone’s prepared to offer the necessary help, and before dad’s willing to receive it. Last night, I felt weighed down by the inevitability of dad’s disease, and also by the realization that dad’s progress (someone who is more or less entirely mobile, though still handicapped in some mental and physical ways) could deteriorate at any moment. 

Mom checked in with the on-call radiologist today to check in about dad’s symptoms. We learned that these could be explained by the recent change in dad’s steroid dosage. Remember the concerns about dad’s swelling after his surgery? The steroid worked to prevent the brain’s swelling, and the recent and steep drop-off from the steroid may have led to some brain swelling. This might explain his lower affect, clumsiness, and difficulty retaining fluids when he drinks. We’re going to up his steroid medication and decrease the dose at a slower rate than before. 

David, Arielle, dad, Robbie, mom, and I all hung out around the kitchen this morning. David headed back to Aspen this morning – it was really good to have him in town for the weekend. In the company of Mike, Andy, and Kelly, we shared a wonderful dinner last night. Arielle, too, headed back to Boston tonight. Though I wouldn’t give up these visits for anything, it’s tough to say goodbye to these loved ones. Mom, dad, Robbie, and I are now holding down the fort. 

I feel I owe this to my Kelly Johnson, after imposing two dog baths onto her in my previous Caring Bridge post. Thank you, thank you for your kind willingness to wash our stinky dogs. They are so soft now, though I know it was tough to get them this way. Kelly, it’s hard for me to communicate just how much I appreciate all that you do here, but gratitude for dog washing is the least of it!

Sitting here with dad in the living room, he chips in a thought: “So I’ve been thinking about this whole brain cancer thing, and when you think about it I really won the lottery.” Just looking up GBM on wikipedia supports this insight: incidence is 2-3 per 100,000. Dad goes on to say, “the doctors made the point to tell me that the cancer had nothing to do with anything I ate, anything I did. So all that stupid stuff I did… that had nothing to do with this.” Considering what I know about dad as well as my observations these last few months, I think dad will continue to find thrill in his suffering. That being said, it may not be to the same degree as his recent adventures in Bali and Australia, as well as the endless stories of dad’s stupid/awesome travails.

With love.

February 21

This is the report I was working on this morning: Dad is still recovering from the 4.4 mile walk from Tuesday. Consistent with his nature, he overdid it. The last few days have been spent resting and dozing in the sun, while finishing up The Second Machine Age. At the moment, we’re getting ready to head to radiation, and are drinking coffee and reading the NYT. He’s also started listening to NPR on his phone throughout the day, so he’s accompanied by this soundtrack as he moves through the house.

Dad’s mood has been pretty low the last few days, which is something I’ve felt very sensitive to. The last few days, probably since around Monday, have been a little bluer than the previous weeks where dad’s energy disguised for any of our concerns of long term prognosis. He’s still pretty physically active, but a little less sure on his feet: losing his balance, trouble with fine motor control, among others. He’s also neglecting some of the basic self-care tasks like changing clothes and brushing teeth. I’m a bit concerned, as personal hygiene is really important when you’re undergoing treatment. Additionally, his energy is more frenetic, and he’s much less focused in our conversations. 

Danny came to help out yesterday. By the time they got back home at 10am, dad was wiped. He went straight to Hunter’s room for a nap. We made him some lunch and let him be. He was happy to finish up one of his books, but otherwise spent the day outside in the sun. 

Today was a different kind of day compared to the rest of the week. Having rested for three days after his long walk, dad was higher energy and more engaging. My dear friend Arielle is in town for the long weekend. She dodged the Boston winter to come spend a few days in the sunshine with me, and we’ve been spending some good time outdoors. Arielle, dad, and I headed off to radiation this morning (only four more sessions left!) and spoke with his radiologist after his treatment. From the looks of it, the radiology therapists look forward to seeing dad: every time he walks into PAMF for treatment, he’s met with a warm welcome from the team members. He’s usually talking about music, bike accidents, trips, or books with some member of the team. Today, one of the therapists gave dad a CD with all the tracks of the Batman soundtrack. No idea where this came up in conversation, but dad was happy to receive the tracks. 

Under orders, we’ve been lowering the steroid dose, from 2 pills twice a day to a half a pill once a day. He’ll wrap up taking the steroid come Thursday. Dad’s radiologist, Dr. Shifner, explained that euphoria is a common side effect of the steroid dad’s been taking (to reduce brain swelling, specifically). This side effect may explain some of the lower-than-usual moods dad has experienced this past week.

Dad regularly leaves radiation (especially later in the week) exhausted. We usually go home where he’ll rest for most of the rest of the day. Today, we walked to a nearby cafe for some pastries and french onion soup. Dad was engaging and talkative, and more himself than I’ve seen him in a long time. It’s often difficult for me to describe what it is about him that’s usually missing. From my time with him today, I realized that what’s so often missing is a level of clear-headedness and personal investment in the things he talks about. We talked about books and philosophy and travel, and in those moments I felt that he was back. 

Having rested for the previous three days, dad was eager to do some light isometrics at the gym. Arielle and I did some of the exercises with him, and I was reminded of how strong and focused he is in his rehabilitation. He sets up a plan and adheres to it. But even more impressive is that he’s listening to his body (most of the time) so as not to push it when he starts running low. 

Dad rested and read for most of the remainder of the afternoon. David Clark’s in town for the weekend from Aspen, and the six of us (mom, dad, David, Robbie, Arielle, and I) headed out to Thai for dinner. I realized while we were at the restaurant that this is the first time we’ve gone out to eat for dinner since before dad’s diagnosis. For the last few months, dad’s energy has dropped off pretty early in the afternoon and he’s been in bed by 6pm at the latest. His stamina to stay up has increased quite a bit, and this dinner is a wonderful indication of his current abilities. 

I think the way for dad to feel sustained and energized is to keep his energy up while not overdoing it. At times – like his 4.4 mile walk, or his 2.5 mile walk (25 miles according to Charlie) a few weeks ago – he depletes his stores that allow him to really participate in the world. When he pushes it, it takes him a long, long time to get back to feeling good. I’m working hard to find a comfortable balance with supporting him and letting him be in charge of what he does, and with talking him through the trends I’ve noticed with his energy. I’ve found he’s very receptive to observation and conversation, so it’s a matter of bringing it to his attention before he takes the 4.4 mile walk. 

Tomorrow dad’s spending the morning with David, and then we’ll all spend the evening with Andy, Mike, and Kelly. Fingers crosses that Kelly will wash the dogs – they’ve developed a noisome odor that plagues any and all who pet. 

Today was a good day. 

With hope,

Mikaela

 

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February 18

Dad walked 4.4 miles today! And this was after his swim at the gym this afternoon. 

After radiation and a meeting with his oncologist, dad came home with Danny. We spent some time together at the house, trimming his beard and relaxing. Around noon I made him some (fresh) eggs with avocado  – one of dad’s favorite meals since Bob introduced it to him on his visit – and he headed over to PAC with Danny. 

After Danny headed out this afternoon, dad took a really, really long walk through Menlo Park. He headed to the hardware store, and then to the library. He got home around 7pm, and seemed relaxed and tired from his long day outside. He also picked up a spicy hotdog from 7-11 (I can only imagine what that must have looked/tasted like). I’m really impressed with him today: his first solo trek since before his diagnosis in late December. I imagine he feels a growing sense of independence and sturdiness as the days go on, and I feel relieved to see him setting off on his own. A also feel relieved that he has (so far) stayed away from another drive around the neighborhood. Dad may have been be reckless and accident-prone, but he has been moving deliberately and with caution since surgery. 

Grand theft auto, part 2: my Rav4 rear window was busted today in Palo Alto. Perhaps it’s karma for the poor Ford’s demise, I don’t know. The only thing stolen was the purse I got for my graduation. Despite the rather manageable hassle this introduced, I lost it. I’m calling it an early night. 

To a better day tomorrow–

February 17

Sitting here in front of the fire with the dogs and Robbie, I feel a sense of gratitude and peace from today. Radiation was cancelled today due to the holiday. After heading to the 7am meeting with mom, dad came back exhausted and spent the rest of the morning asleep. Hesitant to wake him up, we all headed out on our separate errands. When I heard from him, he mentioned he thinking a lot about things. From the nature of our conversation, it was clear that he was having a pretty low day. I encouraged Hunter and Miles to reach out to dad, checked in with mom, and made my way home as soon as I could. 

When I got back, we spent some time discussing what was going on in his head, and where he was at with respect to the current reality. He’s pretty low, and working hard to stay in a positive mental space. The way I see it, the prognosis is what it is. The doctors can’t make an accurate prediction because every case is different. Though the news is grim and the expectations are difficult to swallow, there are a lot of things in dad’s control at the moment. Such as, his exercise and his nutrition. The fact that he’s able to exercise and improve in his strength, flexibility, and motor control means that he’s in a better physical condition to move forward. And the mind feeds off of the body’s state, especially with the help of good food. Anyways, we discussed the nature of general health, and looked at it from the perspective of his illness. Though dad’s pretty sharp these days, he really appreciates being reminded of important things to keep in mind. He’s incredibly receptive to ideas and explanations for decisions. In many ways, we’re all dealing with a lot of the same questions and realizations, though these strokes of insight weigh heaviest on dad. It’s healing to discuss our understanding of the situation together, and helps piece together the way we approach the future. 

After lunch and our conversation at home, Robbie, dad, and I headed to Tae Kwon Do. We all trained at Golden State for years, and it’s been really nice to go back to training now that I’m back in town. I’m hoping to move forward with my training and teach beginner’s TKD to the youngest kids (around 5-7 years old) now that I’m back. Watching me teach class and the visit with the instructors and other students was a happy break for dad today. Though he doesn’t always remember seek it out, he seems so cheery when he’s able to spend time with historic friends. It’s been about a week since Bob left town, so I imagine that the craving for visitors has started to resurface. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent running small errands for dad, and getting some groceries. As I’ve discussed in previous entries, dad thinks of small errands to do to get organized. Bags, tech products, hats, belts, and other things are all small fixations that he comes up with to get his work and living environment all situated. He’s happier when things are in order, and it’s a quick task for the rest of us. Plus, some of the best time together takes place getting from one errand to another. 

When we got back home around 6pm, Robbie and I started cooking dinner for the four of us. Dad set up the fire, which soon lured the dogs inside. Mom, dad, Robbie, and I enjoyed a slow meal together discussing future plans in CA. 

I look forward to tomorrow, and hope dad’s mental state is lighter. I know he’d appreciate phone calls and/or messages from each of you. 

With love.

February 14

This week, dad’s gone to the gym three times. As I mentioned in a post from a few days ago, dad spent some time in the pool swimming laps. Yesterday, he stayed on the upright bike for around 40 minutes. He talked about how much stronger he experiences his left hand to be today compared to even yesterday. The work he’s doing at the gym and around the house has been incredible rehab. I noticed a dramatic difference in his left hand from before and after my trip to Boston. Additionally, dad noted how he finds the stationary exercise itself a bit dull, as he’s sitting / standing there without much distraction (for good reason – he needs to be intently focused on each of his movements so as not to fall off or trip). Nonetheless, he seems really satisfied and content after these trips to the gym. One Kennism from the trips: “I’m using the machines that are all dusty because nobody likes to even be near them. But it’s great. I’m at least 10 yards from any lycra.”

Yesterday was a fairly straightforward day for dad: meeting, treatment, lunch, hangout, read, dinner, and bed, with some naps interspersed through each of these activities. He learned recently that one of the best ways to work on speech rehabilitation is to read aloud. When Robbie and I were heading out for a trip to a cafe for some reading and studying, he told us that his big plans for the night were to read aloud to the dogs, his eager students. 

On the dog front, I’ve realized that Lyle (our conniving, neurotic dog) has been taking advantage of our absentmindedness: he ate an entire frozen salmon, and has taken to sleeping on the top of our couches when nobody’s looking. He is also prone to stealing cookies of varying compositions. 

This morning mom and dad went to an early meeting, and Robbie and I met them at the center after radiation therapy. Dad has a weekly meeting with Dr. Shifner, dad’s radiation oncologist. In the meeting, Shifner noted how sharp dad has been looking the last few times he’s seen him. In contrast to the first few weeks where dad was wheelchair bound, very limited in his motor control, and in comparably low spirits, dad’s spirit and body have improved dramatically. When asked about the trajectory, Shifner encouraged us to avoided dwelling on numbers and data, and rather to look at the treatment as it is reflected in dad’s state of being. He mentioned how the way someone appears in person can often contrast to how an MRI would predict someone’s health. Better to take the news as dad wears it: he’s responding to the treatment well. I also learned today that the effects of the radiation continue for longer than the 6 week period of receiving the treatments. In other words, after dad finishes his radiation treatment in 2 weeks, the radiation will continue to shrink the tumor for up to three months (give or take) following. Paired with the chemotherapy (aka biological therapy) and we’re able to postpone the onset of tumor growth. That being said, Shifner also strayed from speaking about average patients, as he’s treated every possible kind of response to the treatment. 

After treatment. dad, Robbie and I headed off to University Avenue to grab some coffee. Dad, clad in flip flops and a pair of Hunter’s jeans navigated the stairs, wet pavement, and ramps with ease and skill. He walks as fast as ever, but seems to be moving around with greater care. He tired very quickly on our trip out, so we soon returned to the house for some lunch and nap. 

Dad’s been increasingly more independent, so we’ve been giving him more time at home alone. Unbeknownst to mom, Robbie, or I, dad took a joyride through the neighborhood today. We all freaked out. He definitely, definitely shouldn’t be driving around, and especially when nobody “in charge” knew that he was out and about. While he got home safe, he realized that he probably shouldn’t be driving around, given how he feels behind the wheel (as well as his doctor’s orders). This endeavor illustrates how strong willed yet dangerous my dad can be. His thought processes and strategies aren’t complete; however, his physical improvements overshadow many of his remaining cognitive weaknesses. Though his physical progress is remarkable, he continues to require careful supervision and help. The lesson: continuous adult supervision is probably a good idea. 

Mom and dad picked up some new glasses, and we successfully mailed all the clinical trial paperwork to their respective addresses. This is an achievement in itself, regardless of whether or not we choose to seek out the trials. 

On my end, today wasn’t an easy day. Going to the hospital and meeting with Dr. Shifner broke down a lot of my willful efforts to see dad’s progress and improvements as healing and full recovery from these difficult two months. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s so natural to have a back-to-normal approach when looking at dad’s independence in household tasks and his increasing ease in navigating physical challenges. But going to the meeting today brought the reality back into view for me, which made my denial much more difficult to sustain. 

Tomorrow’s a new day. I’m looking forward to celebrating Kelly and Anna’s birthday via Mexican feast, and to cooking with Mike. 

February 12

Wednesday was a smooth day for dad: relaxed meeting and treatment, followed by some downtime and paperwork back at home. We’re researching different clinical trial options. While we recognize that Duke is a fantastic clinical trial facility, we’d like to pursue other comparable (if they are in fact comparable) programs somewhere more local (say, UCSF?). So, today consisted of a lot of copies, faxes, phone calls, and paperwork for the clinical trials at both Duke and UCSF. 

On dad’s end, he was relaxed and patient. He visited the gym early this afternoon, and swam 20 laps (!). I can’t imagine better rehabilitation than swimming in the pool. I’m amazed he was able to swim at all, and so far, and with such focus. He’s motivated to recover as much physical mobility as possible. Yesterday he told me that all week he’s been thinking about jogging on the treadmill. Looking back on his workout yesterday, he told me where he was at with respect to his fitness and rehab: “man, if you say you want to do something, just make it happen!!!” Very Ken. I still laugh remembering his 2.5 mile walk that will be remembered by Charlie and Bob as that 25 mile walk. Dad was wiped, but not quite as much as his companions. I’d really like to bring him to Sawyer Camp Trail, a paved and relatively flat trail that follows alongside the Crystal Springs Reservoir. 

On the homestead, Robbie has returned for another visit from Boston. We’re all working together to get all the paperwork in order, and to keep dad feeling surrounded and supported. 

With love,
Mikaela

February 11

I feel happy to share that dad walked on the treadmill for 40 minutes today. An unexpected and proud ‘welcome home’ for me. Dad started the week off somewhere between powerwalking and jogging – a happy pace for someone who is still a bit wobbly from surgery. 

It always feels like so much happens day to day, so catching up on a week will be challenging. Some of the major movements in the works are: getting dad involved in a clinical trial at Duke. Specifically, we’re hoping to enroll dad in a trial at Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC) at Duke University. This effort is due to my mom’s efforts, for which she should be recognized. We will accompany dad to Duke when his treatment wraps up, which will be sometime in March. There he will be evaluated by the doctors and nurse practitioners to determine if he’ll be a good fit for the trial. The trials sound very interesting: injecting the tumors with polio virus to delay the growth of the cancer, among other trials at Duke. Check out this website for more information: http://www.cancer.duke.edu/btc/modules/leadershipmain20/

In other news, our dear friend Bob Wilkie headed back to Washington after spending three weeks out here with us. Words don’t touch on how appreciative I am of Bob for his generous stay. We all loved having him around, especially dad. Bob was incredibly perceptive, and also willing to take dad wherever he wanted to go: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Mountain View for ramen or pho, Half Moon Bay, among other of my dad’s favorite spots in the area. Dad is so fortunate to have Bob as his friend, and I feel lucky to have been able to spend that time with him. Bob was smooth when tensions were high in the house, and I found his presence immensely comforting.

Now the house is back to normal, or whatever you’d call normal considering this constant state of flux: Mom, dad, and I at the house. I got back from Boston late last night. When I woke up this morning, dad had lit the fire and was up walking around making coffee. I was taken aback by his strength and agility. Mom and Bob took dad to get his head shaven, so that he didn’t continue to lose his hair all over the place. Aside from a shaven head and a different demeanor, he resembled the dad I grew up watching romp around the kitchen making coffee and lighting the fire in the mornings. 

There are important deficits and differences, but today I was very struck by how much more strength and precision he had developed in his left hand. Today he was more comfortable moving his hand and fingers around. Though he still struggled with two hand jobs, such as opening plastic bags, the improvement from last week was striking. I mentioned how strong he appeared, which he really appreciated. Like anything, it’s hard to see how much you’ve improved when you’re so stuck in the day to day trials and errors of your own life. 

Other things: dad was very conversational today. We did a fair bit of driving together (pho lunch with Bob and Melissa (Bob’s wife), heading to the gym for dad’s workout and shower), and spent the time we had talking and catching up. Granted, the conversations still feel different, but I appreciated his relatively greater availability in our conversation. 

Dad is also far more self-sufficient these days. Bob, Melissa, and I were able to leave dad napping at home while the three of us picked up some groceries. This felt like a huge change, since before I left Boston dad required 24/7 supervision. I know he appreciates the freedom, as do we!

It was nice to be back with dad today. It was hard to be away from him this past week, and I’m happy to see him so full of energy today. 

Until tomorrow, I send off peace to each of you!

With gratitude,

Mikaela

February 3

High energy day for dad today. 

After his morning meeting with mom, dad and I went to radiation and then headed over to a French café near PAMF. We had a slow breakfast together, and sat in the sun while we checked in with each other and shared updates. Dad’s upfront about how he’s feeling and what he’s going through, and acknowledges how difficult this time is for him. His perspective lately follows something along these lines: “each morning I wake up and feel frustrated about my left hand, and then I realize, hey! you had fucking brain surgery!” He’s not short on perspective, and is easily reminded of how fantastic his recovery has progressed. 

When I asked him what his adjectives would be were he to describe his current state, he simply replied: challenged, uncertain. 

Dad did his best to get through some of his work stuff, but unfortunately he seems to have forgotten his password to log into his computer. This is so frustrating for him, and requires a lot of accommodation and assistance for getting past this first and fundamental step. After we attempted logging in for awhile, dad and I sat outside in the sun. He was himself today, and I found him very easy to talk to. Bob and Charlie returned shortly afterwards. Charlie made some delicious bean dip, which we enjoyed out on the deck. 

I headed off, and returned a few hours to an empty house. I checked in with Charlie, and learned that the three boys were out on a walk. About 30 minutes later, they came back in a pack. They walked 2.5 miles! This is 2.5 miles of unassisted, without-a-wheelchair walking. A huge feat, considering walking more than 5 blocks was an overwhelming challenge for dad just a few days ago. 

We sat around and enjoyed some coffee, and dad retired to his room shortly after. 

I feel so proud of him. Dad’s good attitude sets him up for a strong tolerance to adversity with his new limitations. He’s rehabilitating strikingly well, and the exercise keeps him well-oxygenated and in high enough spirits for effective treatment of his cancer. Tomorrow is a new day, and we hope to help him to be in good spirits, showered, exercised, and well-fed. 

With thanks and appreciation,

Mikaela