The month of August was fantastic. Aug 1st I began the hike that was truly the peak of my Summer. One more item on the "Things I thought I would never do again list" that was erased. The following week Jason and Rebecca came to visit for a week. They wanted to spend some time Caitlin before she left for college. They went with me on the 9th and 10th for my biannual heart check-up where I get the echocardiogram, doctor check-up, right and left heart cathterization, 10 tubes of blood work, EKG and heart biopsy. I also went to see Dr Schrier at Standford to figure out what to do with my chemotherapy. I was hoping he would allow me to stop for a while, or, if not, switch to Velcade since the Revlimid doesn't seem to be working as well. He prescribed plan 3; stay on the Revlimid and Dexamethasone and add Velcade on top. I could just imagine the adverse reactions with that. But, I do what my doctors tell me. He did say that if all goes well, later on I might be able to drop the Revlimid. (I see a high probability of that occurring) All of the tests came out great. The heart is a champ and there is no sign of amyloidosis in my new heart after 3 years. It looks like this pump is good for a while longer.
My heart birthday was spent in the OR and the 'rest of me' spent a quiet day driving to stores to by me some shirts on the 19th.
Saturday was stake conference and President Perez asked me to speak in the evening session on how having a change of heart is a similitude of our acceptance of the atonement of Christ. It was a very emotional talk for me as I shared very specific experience of all that I had lost until all that I had was my faith in God to keep me going. Recalling these memories is never painful. Rather it is a reminder of how blessed we have been and how much we are loved.
Barbie directed the choir on Sunday. She did a wonderful job. I love singing in her choirs. She truly has the gift of making an average choir sound wonderful.
Monday we had an impromptu party for Caitlin for her last day in California. That same day she finished her demo CD to audition for her major; five songs that she wrote and performed. Her mentor and engineer was Brian Rhodes, a man of amazing talents and boundless kindness.
Leaving Caitlin at BYU was like be dropped into the Salavador Dali painting, "The persistence of memory" It was surreal. For 25 years we have had children in our home. And then one day you give your youngest a hug and a kiss, tell them you love them and then walk away. The drive home was quick and quiet. Caitlin already loves everything about BYU. I don't think she misses us too much (which I guess is good)
Apropos, August ended on the 31st with me getting my Revlimid and Decadron at 7:30 AM and my first shot of Velcade (now subcutaneous to diminish neuropathy) at 8:30 AM and then off to see my first clinic patient at 8:45 AM. The best month in years abruptly came to an end.
I don't regret the down days because the subsequent days and weeks of lightness and elevation feel so new and amazing. The sweetness of being is fully manifest.
For our entire family: Jason and Rebecca, Alexandria and Jeremy, Michelle and Samuel, Caitlin, and Barbie and I, It was a great time of new beginning. The future is just getting started.