Wendi leaves tomorrow morning with Mark, his first appointment at MD Anderson is on Monday the 23rd. Also traveling are 16 year old Jim and 6 year old Gabriella. Gabriella will provide the cute energy distraction component ("let's play a game!"), and Jim will provide the backup responsible person component. This will split the family evenly in half for the duration. I could have gotten the time off work at Clark PUD to be there no problem, but feel less able to leave considering my secondary job as resident firefighter for East County Fire. We live in a house owned by the Fire District that serves as a fire station, and I run calls with the rescue squad when I am not away at my full time job. It would not be fair to the Fire District for Station 96 to be idle for weeks/months.
They will be staying at the Rotary House, a hotel attached to MD Anderson, for the first few nights while they acclimate to the campus and surroundings to get their bearings. It had appeared that there would be a delay getting into the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) for maybe a few weeks, but as of today praise the Lord it looks like they might get in right away on Sunday night. This is not a for-sure thing, no guarantees, but it looks likely. Being able to get in there is a huge break and huge blessing! Right now we're just waiting for Wendi's background check to clear. It is reassuring that adults staying at RMH are screened.
In another bit of good news, the RMH advised us that there is an exception to their normal 45 day stay limit for patients undergoing proton therapy, and Mark will be permitted to stay up to 90 days. Amazing news, Yay!!! Mark is undergoing six weeks of treatment, which would come up to 42 days. With a week of pre-admit visits and prep on the front end, and a few days on the back end (probably no one wants to travel the very next day after completing six weeks of chemo), the 45 day limit was becoming a concern. No longer.
Last night, big sister Genny cut Mark's hair really short, so that it won't be as traumatic when it starts falling out. Making it feel real. Being separated for so long will be hard, and Mark is going to be a changed person when they get back, so this departure is becoming pretty emotional for me, and writing here is getting a little harder. But this works OK because I will be here at home and Wendi will be with Mark, and it is for this reason Wendi is taking over the blog, this is probably my last post for a while. I don't know how often she will be able to keep it updated, but I think she has high hopes to be on here frequently if not daily as much as possible.
We give thanks for getting so many breaks and assistance, and give thanks for so many words of support and prayer from so many places, the outpouring is overwhelming to me and I just cannot express in any meaningful way the depth to which this has touched us. Thanks so much to all of you for caring and staying in touch. Thanks for reading.