We met with Jordan's doctor on Friday and got some more clarification on what the end of her radiation treatment cycle looks like. On Wednesday, September 20th after her last Radiation treatment and her last day of Chemo she will get some well deserved time off. The time off will allow for her body to rest and also to prevent any false readings when they perform the next MRI scan. We weren't given an exact date on when the MRI would occur. After the MRI, she will begin several more rounds of Chemo. Each round will be brief (5-7 days) and will increase in strength with each round. She will not start Radiation again (news to us) because they are currently giving her the maximum dosage possible. I just imagine the doctor behind the scenes doing his best Scotty impersonation during treatment "I'm givin' her all she's got, captain!". So we are continuing to count down the days of Radiation (16 days!) as we are also preparing for school to start back.
Jordan and I have been together almost every moment this summer. Our brief times away from each other have come in the form of our friends giving Jordan a ride to treatment. I start back work early tomorrow morning. I have this small sense of worry in me for the first time ever that the universe is going to come unglued at my house while I'm gone. Is this what my mom always felt when she was struggling to decide if it was ok to leave me at home by myself? I never burned my house down cooking a frozen pizza or got kidnapped as a teenager so I think Jordan and the kids should be ok until the Calvary (in the form of family) starts arriving this weekend.
|Possibly one of the most Oregonian things I have experienced recently was a flight of donuts from the farmers market. The best of the bunch was the earl tea glazed one of course.|
|Enjoying some homemade blueberry sorbet.|
|Before the back to school hair cuts.|
|And after! A friend had to clean up my neck line as Jordan's hand isn't steady enough for clippers currently.|
|Dinner at a friend's house the other day included a bowl of live snakes as the centerpiece for the boy's table. Don't forget the fancy glassware!|
|Benton was doing really well until he drove Jordan into a light pole. Don't worry the wheelchair is only a rental.|
So I took that gifts and strengths assessment (probably because someone twisted my arm into doing it). I don't remember much about the results except for one small detail. I was comically low in the empathy department. Like off the charts low. The results were probably filed away in a drawer somewhere as exhibit A just in case I commit some heinous crime in the future. Besides the occasional joke that summer I never thought much about those results.
A few years later I had a mentor tell me that I had Olympic sized expectations for myself and others. He told me that could make it tough for myself and anyone around me to feel like they were ever being successful. That statement rang true for me the day after I woke up from finishing an extremely long running race that I had spent years training for with the simple thought of "Whats next Brack?".
I've always been a relentless forward progress and pull up your bootstraps kind of guy. So what in the hell do you do when you wake up in the morning and you can't sit up without help, much less pull up some metaphorical boot straps?
Jordan is struggling mightily right now with her mobility. We've got a home full of ramps and medical contraptions to make things easier for her. Even with all these things and me being there 24/7 it has still been hard. I don't own a shirt without a food stain on it but she is quickly catching up because eating has become a challenge. Fine and gross motor skills come and go. There are times when she walks well with my help to the bathroom only on the return trip to struggle just to pick up her left foot with each step. Her speech also bears a slur now that gets worse as she gets tired. This I know is maddening to her as she feels like it is a burden on others to carry on a conversation with her.
We still manage to laugh when she innocently bumps into something or steps on my foot while we are walking. Sometimes we pretend we are dancing or that she stood up just to give me a kiss or a hug. She even occasionally laughs when I make a fart noise every single time I help her stand in the presence of others.
I'm not always the kind hearted super husband though. Yesterday it seemed to take an hour to complete a five-minute task in the kitchen because I was looking for a dropped phone again or adjusting a pillow. I don't need the memory of a survey to remind me of my criminally low empathy in those moments.
There have been so many high and low moments this summer. Usually several of each in the span of a single afternoon. One of the things that I have learned though is that I don't understand what Jordan is dealing with each day. I sure do try though. I listen, I anticipate, I pull strings behind the scenes, I ask questions, I coordinate, I give the kids the eye and do whatever else that I can. Deep down though I can't fully understand.
As per usual though I have learned by being around our village. I have been witness to so many kinds of empathetic gestures. Some people have slid into our lives with the comfort, grace and gentleness of Mr. Rogers. Others come bumbling in the front door with the awkwardness of an episode of The Office. The beauty of it all is that everyone in our lives is trying their best. That seems to be what Jordan and I are doing each day as well.