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Wednesday morning Chris got a call from the post office.

“You have some birds or something. You need to come pick them up.”
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I’m so glad I didn’t put my phone number on the duckling order form. I was MIA at training all week, it would have been pretty interesting if I had needed to sneak out to get them.

So yeah, we have a lot of ducks now. 10 Black Crested Pekin, 9 Indian Runners, and 10 Cayuga. There was one casualty as the ducks made their way from Oakland, CA and Denver.
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Chris made his way to the post office as quickly as possible to pick them up and get them settled into their new home. Thankfully, we spent most of Saturday getting ready for ducks. Kai got to go to one of Chris’ favorite stores of all time on Saturday, Rural King, where, ironically, there were plenty of ducks for sale.
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Now we have a giant kiddie pool full of ducks in our garage. Who doesn’t, right? They seems to be pretty high maintenance so far. The wood shavings in their pool need to be changed daily, plus they seem to need fresh food and water twice per day. Even Duke just gets one feeding. [Duke free feeds, so it takes him about 24 hours to work through his bowl of food.] With Chris’ insane travel schedule, I am pretty sure that I will be quite ready for the ducks to move outside when the time comes. Of some consolation is the fact that Kai seems to be quite amused by watching the ducks. I’m glad that she appreciates them.

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No, they haven’t arrived yet.
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But a few things just occurred to me.

  1. Chris was gone all week and these guys could have arrived while he was away. What the heck would I have done with 30 ducklings?
  2. Chris has definite plans to travel in the future. I obviously have time to take care of ducks in addition to my normal daily activities. Riiiiigt.
  3. I wouldn’t know what to do with a duckling if I had one.

Gosh, I hope he is here when they arrive.

I’m kind of regretting this decision.

Animal lovers: Not to worry, I will absolutely care for them no matter what, but perhaps I would have yet again vetoed the idea if I had thought through it more thoroughly. Buyers remorse anyone? And no, Chris doesn’t have it, he is still stoked.

I have said this before: Chris is fairly charming and he often influences people to do things that they wouldn’t normally agree to. Um, yeah, case in point.

So I survived treatment number one. That means that, in theory, I only have either seven or eleven to go.

All in all, I would say that it went pretty well. I did not get sick, which was huge. Going into this, I made sure that my bathroom floor was clean in case I ended up hanging out on it. So glad that I didn’t end up using it!

I would say that the biggest symptom that I faced was being extremely tired. Chris and I did make it out running on Saturday, but I came home and took a short nap straight away. Psychologically, the run was very important. Physiologically, the run may have been the tipping point to extreme exhaustion. You know when you are so worn out that your bones just feel hollow? Yeah, like that.

Sunday morning, of course, Kai wanted to get up bright and early, she doesn’t understand why I want to sleep so much. We made it through the day, Chris doing the bulk of the Kai care, but by 2 pm I could not believe that there were five plus hours until she might go to bed. I was toast.

As an escape, I cut our grass yesterday. It seemed like mowing would be easier than holding Kai for hours while Chris mowed. Although I wore SPF 30 sunblock on my face, I still burned. I was warned that I might be more photosensitive than usual, but I was surprised that it was something SPF 30 couldn’t handle. I’ll remember that for next time.

I’m relieved that things went fairly smoothly, hopefully things don’t get much worse with progressive treatments.

“I don’t believe you’ve never brooded ducks before.”

I don’t believe that Chris has brooded ducks before.
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Against my better judgement, I just ordered us 30 ducks. Chris has been talking about this for years and finally, the time came.

Thank you eFowl for your awesome selection and free shipping!

Ducks, I truly hope that Chris’ duck brooding abilities match the confidence he has in his skills.

Saturday morning I sprung out of bed to the sound of the baby monitor. As I raced across the house to tend to Kai before she became hysterical, Duke sprung into action too. At first I didn’t think much of it, after all, most dogs like to get the day started right away when their family wakes up.

After I got Kai changed and settled into our favorite chair with a bottle, Duke started pacing by the door.

I let it go for a moment. It was pouring rain with thunder and lightening. It was nasty outside. I needed to get Kai settled down enough that I could leave her in her crib while I got suited up in my rain coat, pants, and galoshes to take Duke out.

He kept pacing, more intensely now. The kind of pacing that made me wonder if he was going to explode into a poopy mess in the middle of my living room. Ugh.

As Duke got more rowdy, Kai did too. Figures. Finally, in exasperation, I opened the door. I did not want to clean up an indoor mess from a 200 pound dog.

Chris often lets Duke out, patiently waits by the door while Duke does his thing, calls him, and Duke prances happily back into the house.

Things initially seemed to be going as planned. Duke did his thing, I called, and he began to lope back in my general direction. I breathed a sigh of relief. A bit too early. Duke hung a left and took off into the swampy part of the orchard.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Suddenly I found myself putting a soon to be screaming baby into her crib, dashing off to put on my rain jacket and pants, and unable to find my galoshes. I quickly settled on an old pair of running shoes and took off into the swamp after Duke.

Within several steps, both shoes had been completely submerged. Sweet. Good thing I didn’t have long pants on under my rain pants.

After a few more steps, I lost one of my untied shoes in the quagmire. You know when the mud just sucks the shoe clear off of your foot? Awesome.

I freed the lost shoe and continued in pursuit of Duke. When I finally caught him he was soaking wet and covered in mud. We made our way back to the house where, strangely, I stood in the rain and hosed him down.

Of course Kai was as upset as I was by the end of that whole ordeal. Thankfully she settled down quickly and we were able to continue with our day.

Next up was grocery shopping. Not much to tell there, the fun began when we got home.
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You guessed it.

As I came into the house, arms full of groceries and a car seat, I left the door between the house and the garage open for just a second. Our kitchen is about five feet from that door and the plan was to leave Kai and the groceries in the kitchen floor while I went back to reach into the garage to close the garage door. In that split second while I slid the car seat and grocery bags off of my arms, Duke escaped.

He went bounding towards the pond with me trailing steps behind him. For some reason, he stopped short, dropped to one hip like he was sliding into home plate, and skidded across the wet, muddy grass. Careful not to do the same thing, I reached his side a moment later. Excited to see me, he began rolling in the mud, feet in the air like he thought he would get his belly scratched or something.

Fat chance.

Back to the hose we went, fortunately not in the pouring rain this time, for Duke’s second bath of the day. Lucky for me, Kai slept through this one.

I kind of felt like I had my hands full that day. Although things have gone smoothly since then, at that moment, Chris could not come home soon enough!

That’s what my doctor told me Tuesday morning as he drilled into my pelvis to take a bone marrow sample.

He was kidding, of course, he followed up with a “well, today anyway”. As far as he can recall, he has done in the neighborhood of 3000 of them, so I was in good hands. Chris was quite relieved that the doctor ordered a bone marrow biopsy as he wanted to cover all of our bases. He may have secretly been curious about seeing medical power tools in action. When it came down to it though, I think that Chris discovered that he was pretty grossed out by watching the doctor extract a bone marrow sample with something that very closely resembled a miniature hole saw. Kai seemed unphased by it and just babbled away in the background.

Tuesday was my first meeting with the lymphoma expert and it went quite well, all things considered. He was able to tell me that it is Stage 2XB, which basically means that the mass is more than just the initially affected lymph node, that it is a bulky tumor, and that I had secondary symptoms (namely night sweats). He sent me off for a battery of additional tests such as another CT scan, a pulmonary function test, an EKG, and an echocardiogram. The CT scan was to assess tumor growth, while the other tests were to establish baseline heart and lung function so that we can monitor whether the chemo is affecting them.

This morning we met with him one last time, at least for a little while, and got the go ahead to start treatment in Indiana as soon as possible. On Monday I will meet with an oncologist at home to see if he is willing to collaborate with the guy in New York and deliver the treatment. I’m fairly certain that he will, if not, I’ll keep asking around until I find someone who will.

I also need to find out if the guy in Indiana will make me get a port. A port is a titanium implant that can be inserted into your chest that chemo can be delivered through. The New York doctor recommended that I don’t get one as he anticipates that I will only receive 8-12 treatments in total, but that decision will likely be made at the discretion of the Indiana oncologist.

Long story short, we finally have enough information to get started, probably in the next week or two. I won’t lie, I’m kind of terrified, mostly of the impending hair loss. If that wasn’t on the agenda I would be feeling pretty good about the situation.

As we headed back to Indiana on Friday I spent a good deal of time researching hair replacement options. Chris seems to think that it is unnecessary, but I want to have at least one option on hand when I need it. Obviously I am quite shallow, as I feel like the threat to my hair is the most upsetting part of this whole ordeal.

After checking out my options, I made an appointment at a place on the north side of Indy with a lady who specializes in fitting and cutting wigs, or, as she called them, cranial prosthesis. Somehow buying a cranial prosthesis sounds less threatening, particularly because many devices by that name are covered by health insurance.

Saturday afternoon, Chris, Kai, and I arrived in a suburban Indianapolis neighborhood and let ourselves into the wig salon. There were tens of wigged heads staring at us from shelves on the wall, we were surrounded on every side. It was beyond weird, I considered bailing immediately upon arrival. The only thing that stopped me was that I know that I will have to put myself in that situation at some point if I want to maintain the appearance of having hair, or even just the option to have hair sometimes. Geez, talk about high pressure.

So, there we sat, in the middle of the room, all eyes on us, discussing the finer points of cranial prostheses. We decided that I would want something hand knotted, all lace, synthetic, blonde, and a bit below my shoulders. [As an aside, can you imagine hand knotting a wig? Talk about a tedious job!] She had just one option available that met my requirements and it only came with a right part. I part my hair on the left. It looked strange, in large part because it was the mirror image of my hair.

We decided not to buy anything. It was such an odd experience and I think Chris and I were both too uncomfortable with the situation. As we drove away, I began to research options in New York. The wig lady had mentioned that she had the best selection in Indiana, she thought the only way to get a better wig was to go to Los Angeles and have a custom wig made. I don’t think a trip to LA is in the cards in the next few weeks, but I was correct in guessing that New York had plenty of custom wig makers. Hopefully I can visit one this week when we go back there. In the meantime I will deny away the likely fate of my hair.

*For my family: Please don’t discuss my hair situation with me. I’m comfortable discussing it on my blog, but I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet. I still want to pretend that it won’t be a problem.