A night at the ER and a visit from friends

On Saturday, we were blessed by a visit from our friends Erin and Eric.

Erin has been a friend of ours for almost 10 years now…and she met her husband Eric on eHarmony a few years ago. I remember her telling me about him, when they first met online…how he was a few years older than her…very nice…very smart…good looking…and a cancer survivor.

Eric went through treatment for testicular cancer 5 years ago. His cancer, and Rich’s cancer, mirror each other in so many ways, it’s almost eerie. It was an amazing blessing to talk with Eric…hear his experiences…be encouraged by him…and just hang out with someone who has gone through this entire experience, and has lived to tell about it…

After Eric’s battle with cancer, he rebuilt his physical strength by hiking and climbing mountains. He founded a non-profit called Wilderness Reconnection Experiences (WRE), with the vision of helping cancer survivors reclaim their lives, by hiking, backpacking and reconnecting with God’s creation. (Eric, I’m sure you can describe this much better than I am here…feel free to post a better explanation in the comments…)

Anyway, at the end of Eric’s visit, he and Rich had outlined a backpack trip they will do on August 13, 2010…a backpack in the Desolation Wilderness up by Lake Tahoe…and other hikes before then to get Rich into the shape to take on such a physical journey.

Right now, taking a shower is a big accomplishment for Rich. The idea that someday his body will be able to backpack, and enjoy the wilderness again, is an amazing thought. And seeing Eric…someone who had been through almost exactly what Rich is going through…tell him that he’ll be able to do this next year…was a huge gift. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Eric!

While Rich and Eric hung out, I was able to hold and love Erin and Eric’s little twin daughters (so much for testicular cancer affecting your fertility!)…Elsie and Emmy are dolls, and it was so much fun to be with them. It’s amazing how much you forget about having a 4-month-old, when your kids are bigger. Erin, you are an amazing mom to those babies, and they are so blessed by you already!

On Saturday, Rich was actually up to joining us for a picnic at Bass Lake (where it was cold and almost stormy), and had his first Forks burger since this journey began. He said the chemo makes the Forks burger taste “different, but still really, really good.” It would take a lot to make a Forks burger taste bad…

We got home from the Forks, and things took a turn for the worse. Rich began having a steady fever of 99 on up…they say that if your fever is 99 for more than a few hours, that you should go to the Emergency Room. So, at 10:30 that night, my mom came over to watch the kids (thank you, mom!), and Rich and I headed down to the ER.

They ran bloodwork on him, did a chest X-Ray, and found that his white blood cell count isn’t GREAT, but it wasn’t terrible either. They sent him home at 6AM Sunday…

The fevers continued. I was firmly convinced that he fevers were a result of the Neupogen (the medicine he’s taking to increase his white blood cells)…but I’m not a doctor. And I’m certainly not an oncologist.

Thankfully, last night we were able to call the Kaiser call center…they called the on-call oncologist…who remembered Rich. He thought the fevers were a result of the Neupogen (I was right!) and said, “He’s a big guy…he should take Aleve. And he should double the dose, because of his stature.”

Thanks to this doctor (and Aleve), the fever is gone, Rich was able to get a good night sleep, and we didn’t have to go to the ER again last night!

So now it’s Monday. We have 2 trips to Fresno this week…one on Tuesday for chemo, and one on Thursday for a pulmonary function test (to make sure the chemo isn’t hurting Rich’s lungs).

I know a lot of people have offered to babysit, and to drive Rich to appointments. Would you do me the favor of reminding me who you are…email me, or post a comment?

Also, we have some friends and family members who have mentioned they may come for a visit this summer. I thought I’d post to see if anyone has a vacation home or “mother in law” setup available…let me know if you do, and how much you rent it for! It’s hard to find reasonable accommodations in Oakhurst, this time of the year!

Thanks so much for your prayers and support. We have had so many phone calls and notes that have truly sustained us.

Love, Susan

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4 Responses to “A night at the ER and a visit from friends”

  1. Laurel R Says:

    I wish I could help, since I too know the drive to Fresno oh-so-well. Alas, these days it would be a bit more of a jaunt! Sending warm regards and thoughts of glowing good health your way though. 🙂

  2. Eric Hagen Says:

    Rich and Susan, I want you to know that you are not far from my thoughts and prayers. Sorry I have not been around recently, after the next two weeks I should be able to help during the weekdays if you need anything. I am glad to hear that things are better with the fever.

  3. againseminoma Says:

    Neupogen gave me a fever as well. I took something for the fever (Tylenol), fell asleep, and woke up OK. Also gave me soem big pain. Not a fun drug at all but great way to get your WBC back up

  4. erin Says:

    We love you guys and you are amazing! Thank you for the testimony of your lives! Thank you for letting us hang out! Thank you for holding and loving our babies! Thank you for so much!!!!!

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