Cabin in the Woods
Please note that the following post has absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming Drew Goddard/Joss Whedon/JJ Abrams film about five friends staying in a remote cabin that are suddenly attacked by a pack of angry pterodactyls (Alex made me write that). I also started this post before Alex’s major seizure the other night
It’s been over a week since the last update. Alex’s family rented a “cabin” on Lake Cavanaugh (it’s in northern Washington) and we chose to disconnect from the world for the time we were there. It was so relaxing and a great way to spend quality time with Alex’s family (which we don’t get to do too often). Alex was waiting to get his seizures under control before he started Chemo which ended up being a mixed blessing because it timed out perfectly with staying at the cabin and allowed Alex’s family to be a part of the beginning of this important phase of recovery, as well as Alex being able to start the treatment in an ideal (loving, relaxing, and peaceful) setting. When Alex first picked up the “Temodar!!!” he had planned on starting it Christmas night which when we told people this plan, they’d understandably frown and say something like, “Sorry your Christmas won’t be very Merry this year”, but I am very proud of (as I’m sure we all are) Alex’s attitude about the whole thing. His response was something like, “I think it’s actually pretty cool and symbolic…On a day in which most of us celebrate the birth of our Savior, I’ll be taking the biggest steps in my recovery to purify and cleanse myself of this Cancer.” (but throw in a couple more “dudes” and words and phrases like “allegory”, “In reality…”, “denouement”, “thematic elements” and that was pretty much what Alex would say), in fact on the day Alex picked up the “Temodar!!!” at the pharmacy, StaceMom told the woman standing behind them in line (who is actually caregiving for someone who is recovering from Brain Cancer and is familiar with the drug) about Alex’s attitude regarding the “Chemo/Christmas scenario”, and was floored, she told Alex and Stacemom, “That attitude alone will heal you…” and as Alex was handed the prescription the pharmacist added, “and lots of prayer too.” Everyone around them nodded and as Alex grabbed the prescription, he said “Absolutely! I got a lot of that going for me too.”
Sadly, Alex was still experiencing (minor) seizures on Christmas day so he chose to wait one more day. The day after Christmas, RuthMom, Alex and I packed RuthMom’s Prius and drove on extremely dark and windy roads while it rained/snowed and arrived at the cabin just in time for dinner. Alex’s brother Nate and his wife Cami (who picked out the cabin) were already there with their three kids (Daniel, Hannah, and Emma). When we arrived, Cami showed me the master bath which had a jacuzzi tub and said, “This is for you. Use it as often as you want.” Even though I love jacuzzi tubs, my first thought was that it would be great for Alex. As Alex and I discussed his approach to Chemo we wanted him to be as relaxed as possible when taking the medicine and Alex has developed a strong affinity for bubble baths these past few months so I couldn’t think of a better way to help create that environment for him. About 2 hours before starting his Chemo, we lit candles and started the bath. As Alex rested and relaxed, we prayed together and I read several verses aloud that focused on “healing”, “cleansing”, and “purifying” to help ease both our minds. The bath definitely worked in helping him to relax and when it came to take the rest of his meds, we instantly panicked because we realized that we had left Alex’s anti-seizure meds at home. It was 10 pm, still raining/snowing, and we were literally in the middle of nowhere (seriously, look it up on GoogleMaps…go to “Nowhere” and you’ll see Lake Cavanaugh right in the middle of it) but the stress of not having the meds was actually causing Alex to have tiny seizures so the family rallied together and we managed to get a prescription filled at a 24 hour pharmacy (that was still nearly an hour away) and we decided to wait one more day to start the Chemo so Nate and I drove in the middle of the night to pick up the prescription so that Alex could have his meds before it got to be too late. Thankfully it all worked out.
The next night (Tuesday night) went much smoother and we were able to start the Chemo in the ideal way that we’d hoped. Josh, Jenny, Jonas, and Vera showed up earlier that day (Vera had a fever on Christmas so they waited a couple days to make sure they were in the clear before coming to the cabin) and we all managed to do mostly nothing for the whole rest of the week. It was really wonderful to have the whole family together in a beautiful place, relaxing, playing games (and making games up), and cooking together. The time was really good for our souls too as it allowed everyone to recooperate inwardly. I found myself okay with staying in my pj’s until 3:00 pm and reading in bed, or playing on the computer, and it was great for Alex to REST in a comfortable environment surrounded by our amazing family.
The good news about Alex’s first round of “Temodar!!!” is that he did not experience any real side effects other than a little nausea and some fatigue, which were to be expected. What was beautiful was that Alex still had the energy to play with all of our nieces and nephews (neph-ieces) and enjoy the the time of being together, without feeling like he had to be in bed all day.
We could use your continued love and prayers as we walk through the chemotherapy journey and continue working out the anti-seizure medications.