October was a weave of so many unexpected threads.
I neglected to explain in September’s post how shocking it was to have any negative health news about Gus to begin with. He had always been a healthy, athletic, vibrant, soulful individual, so to have anything slow him down by any degree was dismaying. Since getting back to their own team of doctors and new oncologists, it was determined that they would begin with chemo for 8 sessions -checking for changes around half way mark- and then likely do surgery and then evaluate the situation once more after the completion of the rounds. Chemo was an overnight admittance to the hospital for the administration of the drugs and this pattern would commence every other week.
Meanwhile, we soldiered on with the kids activities, playing Uno with Amara all throughout each day – as it was her new obsession. Her strategy and card awareness increased by leaps and bounds over the next weeks of playing – that occurred during any pause in other activities. There was also trips to the playgrounds to swing, practice the monkey bars – something Amara also excels at, slide and just release the kind of energy that all kids store up to be released in fun ways.
The first week without Nana, Baba and Mom felt delicate as we were also suddenly dealing with additional life and death events. We received news that one of Lara’s housemate’s and dear friends younger brother had just died from a motorcycle accident. The tenuous structure of life as we were also packing and dealing with the ever changes in existence was an elixir that left us unsteady at times. I will say that the energy in the house, while sometimes fragile, was also strong with the support and reliance that Adrian, Lara and I were developing and drawing upon. It was a very intimate time of being a part of this group and in working through all that was a part of each day. We had all started this with a great bond, but the intricate weave of all that we were navigating through was a beautiful web stronger than could be measured.
Then, as if we weren’t having enough to steer through, Galen called to say he was going to see a Dr. about a lump he had on his leg. This was on a Friday and his report after the appointment was not alarming, so he was just to await the report from his consultation. On the following Monday, he called me while I was out running errands and told me he had received his report and that he had lymphoma! My head began to spin at the implications. He said that they wanted a follow up procedure, but didn’t know when it would be scheduled yet. I questioned if there had been a biopsy? What exactly had they done at the appointment? What the heck? I also told him to pressure them for the next follow up appointment as this cannot be taken lightly. He said I need not come immediately home since they did not yet know more. We spoke for a while and I then relayed that I needed to get back to their house and needed a moment to process this new information. He said he understood the need as he had been processing it for around three hours prior to calling me. I told him to send the report to me and I would call him once back at the house. I was incredulous at the amount of really hard crap we were all dealing with. While driving back to their place, I contemplated if I could even tell everyone this new bit of awful news.
I stopped the car nearby the house and pulled up the email that Galen had texted to confirm he had sent. Taking in some deep breaths, I read the medical terms and analysis. Shaking my head with incredulity, I began to process the information under a new lens. My son was not suffering from a cancer of his lymph system, he was instead sporting a fatty lump beneath his skin and apparently, a deficiency in reading comprehension. I immediately texted him to re-read the info and gave him a link to what a “lipoma” is so that he could stop going down the road of terrible news. Lymphoma, Lipoma – close? Not really. When I later told Devin this story, (to which he thought was hilarious), his response was, “it’s the extra letters that will kill you”. Easy to laugh about it later. To finish this thread, he did have an ultrasound to confirm the lipoma diagnosis and was told it will likely go away on it’s own.
Yol’s decided to stay a bit longer in India to be there for the first chemo and make sure all of the help that they had set up was working out as desired. Back on our end, one of her oldest friends from childhood who resides with her hubby and two kids in Chicago, had planned to come out to see them all before the move to Korea. She was bringing the family with her and had been warned that by the time they arrived, there would be very little furniture left as the movers would already have come and taken away most of the household. Luckily for the rest of us, they had been able to push the movers out a week, so that most of our time there was still in a well stocked and furnished home -albeit a bit disheveled from all the sorting. Malika and family were not as lucky as us.
I had wondered about the wisdom of Malika and family still coming with all that was happening, but in the end, it was really nice for all of us. Yes, there was some sleeping on the floors, but I for one, got the chance to hear stories of childhood in India that I had not heard prior and while I have gotten to know many of their friends over the years, it was really good to go deeper into the well of friends and get another sip of the long history. We hung out in a cavernous house, where it actually gave the kids tons of room to just run and do anything. We also went to the beach and shared in good times together.
Lara flew back to San Francisco to complete necessary tasks and work out the logistics with her job for her to get to India as quickly as possible. The plan between the girls was that they would do all that they could to make sure one of them was in India for support as much as possible. As Lara was no longer going to be in San Fran as much for the foreseeable future, I floated the idea that I should just take the extra car to Colorado until it was needed for longer term in California. Everyone agreed that the idea made sense, and now it was just a matter of deciding if I would still take it first to SF to unload the boxes that had been set aside as belongings to be available for future visits or just take the car and contents to CO.
I had purchased a cold weather sleeping bag and a single burner stove figuring that any route I chose to take home would likely be a multi-day excursion and I could simply camp in the car no matter the route taken.
Yols returned to a near empty house, a list of last minute duties to be completed before they left the country and children overjoyed to have their Mom back in their space. I packed up the items to be stored either in the car or in SF and my things and left the following morning.
Read about the next part of the journey in part 2.