I have been a little lax in posting. I have this weird thing where I feel like it’s disingenuous to post a first-person blog post unless I am actually THERE to witness the events. I also got caught up in a giant malaise of staying home alone, getting our first meals from Hello Fresh, and starting the final season of Walking Dead on NetFlix Sunday night. 24 episodes of that soap opera with the undead had me on the couch nearly every night. Add 30 minutes of cooking food and the general apathy of going out after I get home… And you get a boring week.
One night I did break away for some time with Regan and Daryl. That was easy since I had seen Regan earlier that day and I would have no excuses for hiding. This week, I will try to bust out a show with Daryl, hit the county board meeting, and promised to have a beer with a co-worker one night as well. I think I will have a harder time hiding this week. Likely, by the time I have to go back to Memphis, I will be in a giant rush and will forget something. That’s how I roll! More on this at the end.
Thanks to those folks who said they read through the post about the horses getting loose. I thought it was unreadable… I still feel like I should go back and tighten it up. But, its a blog… I probably won’t!
This week, Summer and Angela were at St. Jude trying to get her counts to bounce back from the “A” chemo treatment from 2 weeks ago. It’s been a constant battle to keep plugging more fluids into her so that her energy and mobility can return.
For the past few weeks, even when I was there… Summer has been talking about a birthday party that was on her radar for this weekend. When she was talking about it… We were in the hospital and the thought of doing anything outside or beyond a day out seems like crazy talk. I never make many plans for a week or 2 down the road because of the ups and downs of Summer’s treatments. Summer knew on Friday that she would get more blood tests on Saturday morning. Those tests would determine if she would be free for the dinner party at Flame Ramen in Memphis or occupied at St. Jude instead. Summer told me she went shopping for some presents for her friend and had wrapped everything Saturday morning in anticipation.
Unfortunately, the week had been building up in a way that Summer needed to be back in St. Jude Saturday afternoon for more transfusions. There was still hope around 1 PM that she could be in and out before the dinner party with her friend. When I talked to them again at 3… Hope was fading for dinner. I have lived through some highs and lows lately… This one, while highly anticipated, was not the lowest of lows. Summers friend, a St. Jude patient herself, understands how it works. They rescheduled.
In the meantime, I had a party to be at.
Ironically, the night that Summer was planning on having a birthday celebration for her friend… We had a party planned for my Mom. Julie is 70! For this family gathering, Don and Dawn opened up “Happy Thoughts Ranch” (Their home name) to the mob of friends and family who want to party like it’s 1969. Anyone who has seen the pictures will know it was a theme party. 1960’s attire requested.
I am terrible with costume parties… So, I showed up in olive pants and a denim shirt. Fortunately, I can always count on Uncle Mike and Dan to have my back on things like this. Neither of them dressed up either! But, as usual, Tim and the sisters were all psychedelic!
It was a great party. Aiden came home from Wisconsin. I had not seen Dan and Courtney in ages as it seems like their kids are always sick! I got to see other extended families that I have not seen since before COVID. There was a lot of talk about Summer and it appears that EVERYONE is reading this blog to keep up with the news. Very cool. Thanks.
At one point, the other siblings were forwarned that we were asked to say a few words about Mom in front of the fam. I KNEW this was going to happen!!! Ugh. As a grown man, it’s hard to accept that your emotional state is fragile. I knew I would get emotional saying 10 words in a row about my mother in front of the family. It was actually pretty great. Don, as always pumps up the room, Sylvia takes all the glory of being the only girl and I said a few words about how “tough” my Mom is. I remember the dark days more than anyone, (as the oldest kid would). I know that she weathered some of the hardest storms anyone could be asked to go through and because of that, we are all here today. I was short and sweet. Dan has an all-time classic… The time he screwed up and Mom told him that she would “Lie Cheat or Steal for him… But if she had to do that… She would kick his ass!”. I will never tire of that one.
At about 10 I got a message from Angela in Memphis. Summer was having some problems and they were back at St. Jude.
Summer cannot swallow anything without feeling like it’s stuck in her throat. The doctors thought it could be anxiety and tension. But in the meantime, they have placed her on a “liquid diet”. These are tough to do if you are trying to hold weight. This morning, Summer said it still hurts. Some of her friends at St. Jude have reported similar swallowing problems and she thought medicine will help it.
Summer did confide in me that she needs more Smoothie King gift cards if anyone is inclined. Someone asked me last night if we needed anything… I said no. That’s Murphy’s law apparently.
I was hesitant to write this last part. It’s not that I try to hold back emotions or anything… I just don’t like overshadowing anything going on with Summer to talk about our world away from the St. Jude experience.
Yesterday afternoon, I was driving from Tremont to the “Happy Thought Ranch” and started to get a little sideways with my emotions. I could easily have come up with an excuse to go home and avoid uncomfortable conversations for Saturday night’s party. But, knowing that Aiden was playing cards with his friends later that night in my basement was also an initiative to keep me from pretending I could stay at home away from people. Obviously, I went.
I remember when Angela and I were driving to the Fort’s Christmas party in December… She and I talked about this very thing and we humored the idea of not going to avoid the same thing. I know that’s what I did Thursday night when I missed the Libertarian meeting. I get psyched up and “check out” before even leaving the house. That solves any desire to leave.
It will even hit me in my office sometimes. My emotions will get so hot and cold just thinking about the situation, that I feel like a menopausal woman???
I do believe it’s harder to be here in Illinois than in Memphis. At least when you are there, you feel like you are helping. Dad has said it a few times that 2 weeks or more of separation is too long to do on a regular basis. I think he has a point, but I don’t like admitting when he is right.
Maybe this week will be better with my list of activities.
Summer is loosely hoping to be able to get to Carbondale this weekend… If so, I will be home till Sunday. If not… I will head down this weekend to be with her and Angela for a day or 2.
Oh, and we talked a lot about Mail Call… It’s an amazing time of day in Memphis when Summer sits on the couch and combs through the mail.. Here is a refresher on the mailing address for Summer if you are inclined to drop a card or note.
6 thoughts on “St. Jude – Two Parties and hiding”
Eric , please know that when I pray for Summer I also pray for you and Angela and Aiden and your parents and Linda. All of you are giving of yourselves to help Summer. You are all united to help ease the load for each other. May God continue to bless each of you.
Birthday parties mean so much to friends at St. Jude; I hope they can reschedule soon.
I think everything you feel and go through is completely normal. None of us know what it’s like unless we experience it ourselves.
Thank you for sharing and letting us have a little peek inside….
Stahl family: I always read your blog Eric and want am thankful for your updates which may be difficult when you have so much going on. You and Angela amaze me with all the coordinating of schedules and working besides. Summer, I think of you every day now. Wondering if your week is going well or not. You are wonderful family inside a wonderful family. My thoughts and prayers continue for all of you. God Bless
We continue to pray for Summer and family. I know it’s hard to be so far away while she is going through so much. I am glad someone is with her at all times. The way you all juggle your lives right now is remarkable. And btw your mom looks amazing!
I’m following your posts and will continue to pray for eradication of the cancer. The courage your family has is amazing…God is giving you the strength you need! I’m praying for continued strength and courage for all of you, and peace and comfort.
There’s no doubt your strength and sense of humor helps keep the family putting one foot in front of the other. I pray that God continues to fill your bucket Eric! – I haven’t figured out who everyone is, except of course Angela!
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