We had our fourth dose of chemotherapy today. Jake got the chair he wanted. A brown one that reclines all the way back, vibrates, and heats up. Very fancy! His levels looked really great again. We have a PET scan scheduled for next Friday to check the progress of treatment. Our doctor, nurses, and Jake and I are confident everything will look great! He has been feeling and looking so good!
Our nurse was wonderful today. We chatted as she got Jake set up for chemotherapy. At one point she looked at Jake and I and said, “You know, you will learn lessons that some people might not ever get to learn. You probably already have.” Jake smiled. So did I, and then I started to think about some of the lessons we’ve learned so far.
I wanted to share one today.
Some of my favorite books growing up were the Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish. In my favorite book of the series, “Thank You, Amelia Bedelia”, Amelia gets in her usual mixed-up trouble. You see, Amelia Bedelia works for the Rogers family. She follows every instruction as closely as she can, but always much too literally.
On this occasion, Great-Aunt Myra is coming to visit. Amelia Bedelia has a list of things to do to prepare: strip the sheets, pare the vegetables, separate the eggs, and make a jelly roll.
When Mr. and Mrs. Rogers get home with Great-Aunt Myra, Mrs. Rogers checks on Amelia’s progress. She finds sheets ripped into tiny strips, vegetables “paired” rather than “pared”, three eggs as far away from each other as possible, and a glob of jelly on the kitchen counter.
Mrs. Rogers is exasperated with Amelia. She asks her how it is possible for her to get all mixed up! “Mixed up” reminds Amelia Bedelia of the delicious pie she has in the oven.
When she couldn’t get the jelly to roll, she made her specialty, an apple pie.
Everyone was thrilled. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers forgot about the sheets and everything else, and they ate a delicious apple pie with Great-Aunt Myra.
At the beginning of Jake’s diagnosis I think I felt like Amelia Bedelia. We entered a world full of words, symptoms, and scenarios we didn’t understand. It was a learning process. It still is.
Our first chemo treatment I had a numbing cream to put on Jake’s skin so when they accessed his port for chemo it wouldn’t hurt. I put it on 30 minutes before on the dot. Proud of ourselves and feeling prepared, we headed to chemo. Our nurse asked us if we got the numbing medicine on. We said yep! She pulled Jake’s shirt away to find a sticky mess. She sweetly said, “You know what helps? Putting a little bit of plastic wrap over it once you put it on. That way it doesn’t stick to his shirt. Don’t worry about it though guys. How would you know?”
We laughed. Just another thing to learn!
After that first treatment I called the cancer center a handful of times asking about things that turned out to be pretty normal for chemotherapy. Each person kindly answered my questions, reassured me, and told me to call again.
For those of you going through something, don’t worry if you don’t know everything. Just follow Amelia Bedelia’s lead. Do your best with what you know, and then do what you do best. Even if it’s just making an apple pie.
At the end of the book the whole table of people say, “Thank you, Amelia Bedelia”.
Amelia Bedelia was so happy. Jake and I don’t know everything about the current stage of life we’re in, but we’re doing our best, figuring it out as we go, and we’re so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!