Good Morning

Yesterday was tough.  Today has been much less so.  Maggie got better rest than she did Friday night but, in our little world, “better rest” means only getting up a dozen or so times to hack up a lung.  Still, we’ll take what we can get.  As a result of her more restful sleep, she was more energetic this morning.  She woke up hungry and wanting to do a little exercise.  I was all too happy to oblige.

After an easy breakfast of sweetened, plain yogurt and half a peanut butter Quaker Oats bar, she took all her pills to round out the meal: Xeloda (chemo meds) x 4, nausea, steroid, antibiotic #1, antibiotic #2, anti-heartburn, … is that all?  I feel like I’m forgetting one or two.  There’re just so many I always feel that way.  We then did some light stretches and I helped her work her leg and arm muscles.  We did simple resistance exercises where, for example with her legs, I’d hold her feet and she’d push against my hand as I let her straighten and bend it, back and forth.  We repeated this with her arms working both her pulling and pushing muscles.  It’s alarming how weak she’s become.  When she first pulled with her arm, I nearly didn’t detect any force at all.

Afterword, we had a brief chat.  She had a few smiles for me, too, which was great and we even shared a joke.  I reminded her yet again of how much I love her and how happy I am that we are (and have been) together.  No I-hope-she-knew going on here.  She reminded me, too, of the same.  Always wonderful to hear (and see – she always says it with a smile in her eyes.)  Of course, we both already know how we both feel.  Things that don’t need to be said get that way by being said often.

After watching her very, very slowly apply tiger balm to her abdomen, I delivered her iPhone to her so she could check her email and fidget while I showered and readied myself for the day.  When I returned, she was asleep, breathing heavily, iPhone at her side.  I am happy we had the time we did.

It’s extraordinarily painful to watch her struggle with the most basic of movements.  Typically, when she returns from her trips to the bathroom, she’ll ever so slowly crawl back onto the bed and remain in whatever pose she happened to collapse into when she finally gets her feet off the floor.  There, she’ll breathe shallow but heavy for twenty minutes or more, giving no indication of life other than the staccato bounce of her chest.

Mary, Maggie’s mom, popped in for a visit yesterday, timed perfectly to catch Maggie right after she hit post-bathroom catatonic.  Understandably, Mary was shaken badly by the scene.  It’s such a contrast to the late-night-dancing, bungee-jumping, wakeboarding, snowboarding, smack-talking, lawyering Maggie we’ve known.  Mary stood strong while she was here briefly but left to recompose herself.  Hell, I don’t blame her a bit.  I have to recompose myself 20 times a day, it seems. Maybe more.  I even bought some eye drops to re-lubricate my eyes because I keep drying them out with tears.  Between me crying and Maggie coughing up crap from her lungs, we’re damn near out of tissue paper around here.

Today on the docket, more friendly visits.  Right now there’s a circle of longtime girlfriends surrounding Maggie in our bedroom cackling up a storm.  Maggie’s got heavy eyelids but she’s enjoying the company.  The moms are in the living room talking about raising daughters (my sister, Carrie, Maggie and Lori.)  If they’ve hit on raising sons I’ve luckily missed that.

All-in-all, it’s been a good day so far.  So, yeah, the last post was tough and things looked grim but we ain’t out of fun yet.  I think I’ll Google a dirty joke to tell them all when I’m done writing this….

24 thoughts on “Good Morning

  1. So glad to hear that today wasn’t as tough as yesterday..lots of prayers and good vibes sent your way!

  2. There will be those rough gray skies and the thunderstorms, and then Maggie will all the sudden bring the sun out. There will be more sunshine, I just know it.

  3. I’m so glad to hear you are both having a better day today!!! I pray for many more happy days!! Try to take care of yourself, too.

  4. Neither of you know me, but I was one of Dr. Carrie’s students.

    Most everything has already been said, but I greatly admire your willingness and ability to chronicle these events. I’m sure much of it is therapeutic for you both, but also amazingly therapeutic for anyone else who may be going through the same thing. I can think of no better way to honor your amazing wife’s legacy than by helping to alleviate the suffering of others.

    Have as many good days and mornings as possible. I admire both of you greatly, and you are in my thoughts.

  5. I have been following your posts for the last week or ten days after I was contacted by a friend of Maggie’s. I am a vibrational healer in Austin and just wanted you to know that I have joined your circle of compassionate hearts that are following your chronicles. I also join the others in sending prayers and light to Maggie and your family. with many blessings, ~R~

  6. hi Maggie. Listen to Leslee. She knows what she is talking about. Sunshine follows her around just waiting for her smile to spark each sunrise. I didn’t know you before today, but I am putting you in my pocket so that I can carry you with me always. I will give you my smile today…it is goofy but it gets me through. I hope it finds you just as silly. When you are feeling better, you can give it back okay? ~Quay~

  7. Dear Chris and Maggie,

    We read this blog every day and perhaps even several times a day, especially lately. Most of the time we’re at loss for words and we don’t know what to say and, honestly, even a little afraid to say anything in fear of it coming out awkward.

    I wish we could write “we pray for you Maggie” but that wouldn’t be 100% honest since we aren’t religious and you guys know this. We do wish you to get better with all our hearts. We want this very, very, very much, please know this. The way you two are riding this crazy adventure is absolutely amazing.

    I think many readers of this blog have asked themselves the question if, when facing a similar situation, they could be as strong and full of life as you guys have been. I certainly have been thinking this, and I wasn’t very sure if I could. Maggie, you’re like a legendary book character living among us. There’s a handful of individuals of comparable caliber in my book: Maggie, Einstein, John von Neumann, Ghandi and perhaps Jesus (and I’m having some reservations about this one). You see! Not a single U.S president made my list! Your decision to continue your education, to open an office and to… basically continue being normal Maggie – funny, smart and full of life… That was absolutely mind blowing!!!

    Ughh this is tough… We wish we knew you two better, but I’m thankful for what we’ve got, for the lessons you guys taught us. It’s scary to think we would have never known you guys if I didn’t know what a PID was! (Chris’ interview question)

    Lets hope for some more nicer days ahead!


  8. The strength you both show on a daily basis is so inspiring. More importantly, though, the love you share with each other and those blessed to know you is the biggest gift anyone could give.

  9. I guess by now you are getting a glimmer of how many lives you both are impacting. I’m a spouse of another stage IV person, and just one of your many loyal Canadian followers. So many of us out here – (including the many of us that you don’t know) are honoured to get a glimpse of your journey. I do hope that you can feel the vast amount of hopeful and grateful energy that is out here for you as so many of us think and meditate and pray for you both. LN

  10. Maggie and Chris–It was great to see you both on Saturday. Hang in there and know that we are all thinking of you constantly!

  11. Chris, I was your Mom Nickie’s Administrative Assistant in San Angelo for many years, and I have been following your website since the very first day. I want you to know that I have prayed for you and Maggie and your family since day one as well.
    I met Maggie at Carrie’s wedding and I remember how your eyes lit up when you introduced her to me. I could tell then that the two of you were so in love. Also, I could tell that Maggie was something special! There was this vibe about her, this wonderful feeling. I think now in hindsight it was her amazing spirit! It was shining then just as it is now.
    I will keep praying because I truly believe that prayer heals.
    Again, many good thoughts, much energy, and many, many more prayers from College Station…

  12. Maggie,
    I know breathing right now is difficult for you, but picture that with each exhale, you rid your body of the tumors. Inhale healing, positive energy, and all the love, thoughts, and prayers of those who have you in our hearts.
    Chris, you are an exceptional husband. May God reward you and Maggie with a miracle soon.
    May God’s peace and comfort be with the two of you.

  13. Hi, Maggie and Chris!

    You both are spiritually very strong! I hope that my prayers in God of the Catholic faith are reaching you, also.

    Aunt Pat Valente
    Daly City, CA

  14. I find myself praying at the oddest times — at 3:30 p.m when my puppies wake me up to let them out to the backyard; when driving to work; just whenever you pop into my mind. I ask God to give you comfort, strength, and the miracle of recovery. My church and choir keep the two of your in our prayers.

  15. Dear Maggie and Chris,
    My name is Jennifer Gazzo, and I know of you through my sister, Karen Shanahan, who was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer two years ago.
    I wanted to write to let you know we are all praying for you. I am thrilled to read you are not giving up. Keep fighting. Miracles happen.

  16. I printed a short prayer here at work and posted it on my monitor. I am constantly praying it. My friends, family and I are constantly praying for you two. God Bless

  17. Maggie & Chris,

    Your strength and love continues to amaze me! You are such an inspiration. You are both in my thoughts and prayers.

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