Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rad Grad

I'm sorry to not update this blog more frequently.  When I get feeling better I get too busy to sit still at a computer for very long.  Such has been the case.

End of treatment:  What a joy!
Radiation ended for me on Wednesday February 27th.  That was a glorious day. I have quite the "healthy glow" these days.  It was kind of a high priced tanning salon but it was worth it.   JoLynne had secretly arranged for all my children to gather at the radiation clinic with balloons for a party.  It was quite the surprise when I finished my appointment with my doctor and walked out the reception area to see such a gathering.  It was tearful and wonderful.  My family has been so supportive of me throughout this ordeal.  I don't know how I could have made it through without them.  JoLynne is so tender and caring.  I am constantly grateful for my wonderful wife.

The doctor warned me that the pain would continue to increase for at least a week after treatment.  I hoped that he was exaggerating but he wasn't.  The next week was pretty nasty.  It has been hard to hold onto my weight during these treatments.  Eating has been an ordeal.  Thankfully, as a dentist, I have access to some pretty powerful topical anesthetics.  Typically at mealtime I would simply numb my mouth and throat and that would make it possible to swallow.  Even so, I have lost about 25 pounds over the course of radiation.  I wish it was all fat but a lot of it was muscle.  It looks like I have chicken legs now.  All that will come back, of course, over time.  It has now been two weeks since radiation stopped and the pain has continued to diminish.  It still isn't really comfortable to eat but I don't need topical anesthetic to swallow anymore.  According to the doctor it will be 6-9 months before my sense of taste returns.  (I still have good taste in women, it's just my mouth that was affected).  My next scan will be the end of May.  The doctors are very hopeful.  Because my tumor was extremely fast growing, it should have been very sensitive to radiation.  Every cloud has a silver lining.

Up up and away
50's party attire
March 2nd was a great day.  That is the day that JoLynne turned 50.  If you ask her she will tell you that she is turning 25 for the second time.  The night before her birthday I informed her that we had an appointment at 6:00 am the next morning.  She was pretty dumbfounded.  I wouldn't tell her where we were going.  After a while she said, "Eric, I don't want to go swimming on my birthday!" (I often swim early in the morning).   I offered to teach her to flip turn but she still wasn't going for it.  Early the next morning we drove up to Heber and launched off in a hot air balloon over Heber valley while the sun came up.  It was amazing.  I guess we were up for about an hour.  Later in the day we planned a surprise party for her at the church.  One of my assistants suggested that we hold a 50's party for her to celebrate the event so that is what we did.  She had no clue.  After dinner I handed her a bunch of 50's clothes that I had bought on the internet and told her to get ready because we were going out.  She had a poodle skirt, matching socks, scarf etc.  She looked great.  My good friends had offered to let me borrow their 66 Mustang to drive up in.  It was amazing.  When we arrived at the church the parking lot was pretty full.  She said "Please tell me that all these cars aren't her for my birthday"  I just smiled.  The cultural hall was full of people that love JoLynne.  Our daughter had gathered pictures of JoLynne and posted them all around the walls from every year of her life.  Our kids and neighbors had put together all the decorations, refreshments, music etc.  We danced, drank root beer floats, did Hoola Hoopes and just had a great time.  All in all it was a great birthday.  Oh, and I bought her a little red something to drive around in.  At fifty you kind of have to have a midlife crisis of some sort.
A little red something

Elizabeth as "Queen Elizabeth"
On the following Sunday Peter and Spencer were awarded their Eagle rank in scouting.  They both worked hard and it was kind of cool that they could have it awarded at the same time.  We are proud of them.  Yesterday was "Images of greatness" for our daughter Elizabeth.  Each child was to choose a historical figure, learn all about them, write a paper and then dress up as them for the evening.  Elizabeth had chosen to learn about and portray Queen Elizabeth the first.  She and her mom went all out on her hair and her costume.  I loved watching Elizabeth prancing around the house after the program looking at her reflection in every mirror and other piece of glass in the house. Really they grow up too quickly.

One week from today our son leaves on his mission to Barcelona Spain.  For the last several months I have had the chance to have him work at my office.  Boy we are going to miss that boy.  Every morning he informs us exactly how many days and hours he has left before departing.  I think he will be a wonderful missionary.  He will be speaking in church this coming Sunday.  His visa has has not yet arrived so he will be spending time in the MTC here in Provo instead of Madrid.

Every day brings me something to be happy about.  As I was dancing with JoLynne during her party it struck me how close I came to leaving this life early.  It's hard to express how grateful I was to be standing on a dance floor holding her in my arms at that moment.  Life is truly beautiful.  I cherish each moment.