Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two down

Round two of Mike's chemo went down today. It was supposed to be two hours, but ended up being more like an all-day ordeal. I'm learning that nothing in cancer world goes as expected. His blood pressure spiked to 190/103 during treatment and that set us back a while. He's ok but has to keep a check on things for the next 24 hours.

Another odd thing happened to us in cancer world since my last post. When Mike woke up Saturday morning, his face was swollen and he had a little trouble talking. One side of his face was drooping. The power of three Cherry women in the house convinced (or bullied, however you would like to interpret..) Mike to call the doctor who told him to take some steroids for a few days. I think in the back of our minds we were all thinking stroke since that's a risk that comes with the chemo drugs... Turns out, that night Mike had somehow managed to fall asleep with both of his hands pressed against the tumor in his neck. Apparently, he caused some trauma to his facial nerve, we learned today. His speech is fine now and the swelling has gone down, but his sweet smile is a little crooked. It will get better, but in the meantime, I'll have to stop being so funny.

I got my jury duty postponed until January so I could go with Mike today. Once I tell them I have a full-time job, a toddler and a husband with cancer, surely they'll dismiss me. Especially since I'm a journalist of sorts. If that doesn't work I'll tell them I'm in favor of the death penalty even for minor traffic infractions.

I'm not trying to get out of doing my civic duty -- in fact, anyone who knows me, knows I would love nothing more than to be on a high-profile case so I could be interviewed by Nancy Grace once the trial was over. But right now, I'm a little overwhelmed.

Monday, September 22, 2008


It was a Cherry fest (or as Lisa calls it -- a Lens Crafters ad) at our house this weekend. We had Sue, Lisa, Frank, Nick and Mad.
And Julia was in heaven -- so many people to watch her tricks.
Here are some pictures of what I like to call her theater-in-the round. She had captive audiences all weekend. She sang, she danced, she modeled jewelery...

Anyway, we had a great time eating, drinking, laughing, drinking and hanging by the pool. I finally remembered the last time we were all together -- Mike's 50th birthday cruise back in 2006. Julia was just a blob on a sonogram then...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Waiting game

Mike having chemo every three weeks is good and it's bad, I've decided.

It's good that we're not having to make trips to the infusion center every week, that Mike's not feeling run down all the time and that as soon as he starts to feel better, it starts all over again. It's good that his hair has even started to grow back.
Things have become very normal at our house.

But last night, I had a mini meltdown because it just struck me -- my God, Mike has cancer.
It's not like we've forgotten, but the downside of having treatment every three weeks is that it almost seems like nothing is wrong or it almost feels like we're not fighting. Mike said he wishes he were seeing the doctor every single week. It would be good to hear how things are going. Are we making progress? Are any of the tumors shrinking?
It's just the nature of this chemo, that we just have to wait. His next appointment with the doctor and his next chemo are Sept. 24. Guess where I'll be? JURY DUTY! Can you believe that?

Anyway, we've got a fun weekend coming up to help distract us from all this. Both of the Cherry sisters will be here, as well as Uncle Frank, Nick and Madison. We haven't all been together since...well since I don't know when. Yikes. This will be the first time Aunt "Soup" will be in the same room with both her nieces and her nephew. We really do need to move closer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The small things

In thinking back on this day seven years ago, of course I remember the planes flying into the towers and how they crumbled, the shock, the unknowing, the tears. But it's some of the smaller moments of the day that really stick out.

I remember how it was one of those perfect almost-fall days. It was just as clear and crisp in Charleston, W.Va. as it was in New York that morning.

I remember being on deadline (afternoon newspaper...) and Stadelman walking out of his office to tell us a small plane had crashed into one of the towers and we needed to hang on to page 1 because we'd probably need to make some changes. I wish I could remember what was really slated for the front that day.

I remember my friend Steven was supposed to fly that very day to wine country for a vacation with his wife.

I remember, before we really knew what had happened, joking that we would probably be sent out to the tall buildings in town asking if they were planning to evacuate. We were all about localizing national stories. Sure enough, by day's end, I know at least Laidley Tower had closed, maybe others.

I remember I was supposed to go South Charleston High to interview people about a proposal to change the school start time. I was on the phone with prinicpal Bill Walton to cancel right at the time the plane hit the Pentagon. I told him what happened and he said "Holy shit" and hung up the phone.

I remember our publisher coming into the newsroom and working on the city desk. I don't know how many editions we published that day. I remember one reporter selling copies out on the street.

I remember going to Mulligan's at the end of the day to have some drinks because none of us in the newsroom knew what else to do and we just needed to unwind and try to grasp what had happened. I remember my friend Brad saying he was glad Al Gore wasn't president...

I remember being really proud of the paper we put out that day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Election fever

We're gettng excited about politics in our house. I can't get enough coverage. Mike managed to turn away from the U.S. Open a few times to check out some of the convention speeches. And even Julia has picked her candidate...

This is what I like to call her Sarah Palin up-do:

The chemo finally caught up with Mike on Friday. He wasn't sick, just an extreme fatigue. He decided not to cover a football game so he could rest, but in typical Mike fashion, he went back into the office late that night to help the staff edit and proofread...

So we're just taking it easy this weekend. I'm thinking an activity like furniture shopping wouldn't be too exerting. I'm on a mission to get rid of my college love seat! I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So far, so good

Mike had his first new treatment yesterday and he went directly from the treatment chair to his cubicle at work. Right now, he's home taking care of our sweet girl, probably even taking her on their regular morning walk, and will be covering a football game late into the night tonight. He's unstoppable. Sometimes, I want him to just take a day and rest but it's not in his nature, and maybe it's good in these circumstances... just keep doing.