Sunday, 5/09

We’re just in from a 40 minute walk down onto the beach and back. Even at a less brisk than our usual pace, Elaine covered something more than 2 miles, remarkable when you consider that we’re at 13 days post-op and 9 days post discharge.

Last night, we spent an hour and a half at a 50th birthday party for our great friends Claudia and Giorgio Azzalin who, incredibly, were born on the same day in Torino, Italy and, even more amazingly, were both infused with a lighthearted sense of adventure, warmth and charm. Giorgio, in typical fashion, announced that having Elaine there was the best present of all.

And Friday, Elaine finally had her Foley catheter removed. (A free-at-last moment!). Her urologist was appropriately admiring, noting that she was “way, way out of the norm for recovery.” And when she alluded to her mile-a-day walks, he quipped, “Who DOES that after something like this!”
As pleased as we are that she’s come this far, we’re now focused on the larger, longer effort associated with the chemo-therapy that will begin shortly. We have agreed that, as careful as we’ve tried to be in our diet and exercise in the almost eight years since my open heart surgery, we need now to become even more rigorous, ramping up our physical activities and cutting out the fudging in the food department, all to optimize her chances of assimilating the treatments’ toxicity and coming out as strong as possible on the other side. We’ve learned the hard way in the past that these small sacrifices pay big rewards, especially when the stakes are high. And, frankly, a little more discipline wouldn’t kill me, either.

The outpouring of friendship and support has been overwhelming. Once she began to be more mobile, a steady stream of visitors began. Two days ago, she embarked on a walk around the block, but kept getting stalled as neighbors rushed out to see her.

And as the emails have poured in, Elaine’s become increasingly wed to and facile with her Blackberry and netbook. It’s amazing how the lines of communication become everything when being connected means so much. There’s some irony here, but I’m doing my best to keep that to myself.

It would be an error to suspect that things are getting back to normal. The threat that cancer represents is always there in the background and, as a friend who knows observed a couple days ago, it “suddenly takes over your entire life.” Nothing will become the same again until we’re safely beyond this, and that may never happen.

Still, we’re re-approaching a modicum of normalcy. It’s Mother’s Day, and the kids, who are always terrific, will connect with a heightened affection. There are chores to do around the house, and maybe we’ll catch a movie. Life goes on.

Thanks for being there.

(Elaine and) Brian

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About Brian Klepper

Brian Klepper is a health care analyst, commentator and a Principal in Worksite Health Advisors.
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