AYNSLEY:Since last Thursday, Mom has continued to feel better and better. She responded so well to the increase in IV fluids and since the port area was redressed, she's much more comfortable. She attributed the vomiting to pain and since Thursday, hasn't had any more of that and only limited nausea. Limited appetite, but at least she's able to keep what she does eat down.
Friday I didn't get to see my parents at all, I had so many last minute errands to run before the wedding. Well, I ran into my dad as I was leaving the house and he was arriving; we had a pow wow from our car windows, but that was it. I spoke with Mom a few times and each time she sounded better and better: more fluids, less pain, more rest. Cousins of my dads were in town and spent a lot of time with them on Friday, which was wonderful for both of my parents. They were so happy to get such nice quality time and I didn't feel so guilty for not being there.
Saturday I arrived at the Kline around 2pm and Mom had just come out of the shower. She was relaxed and ready for a nap, so I went upstairs to do hair and make up while she got situated in bed. I don't think she had been eating a whole lot for the past few days, but she was trying and eating little bits. Dad came upstairs for pizza and wedding rehearsal while Mom's BFF got her ready for the wedding in the evening. She had also arranged for Mom to have a special wheelchair and a special nurse friend with her throughout the night-it was perfect. The wheelchair had a very high back and could recline, so if Mom got tired of sitting up but wasn't ready to leave the reception, she could lean back a bit and still be with everyone. Before the ceremony, Gary's parents came down to Mom's room and, along with our special witnesses, we signed our Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract. All four of our parents held the Ketubah, said a little blessing, and passed it to us. It was a beautiful little ceremony. In December, I wasn't sure that Gary and I would be able to have all four of our parents physically with us as we married and that moment reminded me of that fear and of my mom's fierce determination to be there. She so desperately wanted to be there for me and for her. And she was and it filled my heart.
Mom was amazing at the wedding. She came upstairs exactly at 8:30pm as the wedding was about to begin. My adorable 3 year old cousin was the perfect flower girl: she marched down the aisle with her head held high until she got about 1/3 of the way down, then panicked and ran back to the start. Her daddy was there and pointed to her mommy at the end of the aisle and after a few moments, convinced her to go back down so she could reach her mom. I've never seen a child run so fast in party shoes, but she sprinted down that aisle. I was giving Mom the play by play as everyone laughed. When it was time for us to walk down, Dad pushed the wheelchair and I walked on his arm. Mom started crying and seemed a little confused, but when I came around to hold her hand, we realized she wasn't confused at all. She was the Mother of the Bride and it was emotional. (Honestly, I may have been the only person in the entire room who didn't cry that day. Dad was crying, Gary was crying, I heard sniffles in the seats...) We came to the chuppah and had what may have been the shortest authentic Jewish ceremony ever. We were all extremely mindful of the time, knowing that Mom was determined to give a toast, hear other toasts, taste cake that we cut and dance with my dad.
She did all of those things. Her toast was heartfelt, loving and honest, she sampled the cake and the dance was gorgeous. Dad lifted her out of her wheelchair and held her close as all of the guest applauded. Gary and I started dancing and soon most of the other guests were, too. We all danced the entire song. Okay, I'm almost done with wedding stuff. Just a note, so y'all are informed: though I am extremely honored to be Gary's wife and part of his family, I am not changing my name. It's been cute to see some things addressed to Mr. and Mrs. but I'm still boring old Ms. Kirshenbaum. Also, I thought some people might enjoy a photo, and our amazing photographer sent this one for exactly that purpose. Gary and I spend most of our time laughing and this day was no exception
On Sunday, I was afraid that Mom would experience a significant let down after all of the anticipation and maybe even get sicker. But when Gary and I arrived Sunday afternoon, she was radiant. She and Dad had eaten wedding cake for breakfast, they had entertained some cousins and they were happily remembering the wedding. Mom knew exactly who she had spoken with and was sorry she didn't have time to talk with some of my friends and some of Gary's family (the reception was an hour and a half, tops). Gary and I stayed with her for about two hours, then went to enjoy a little 12 hour hotel honeymoon: massages, naps and room service.
Today was more of the same, except Mom seemed even a little better. She ate half a container of Starbucks oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts and a tablespoon of butter for breakfast. The nurse practitioner who we adore was back (not the awful horrible one from last week who agreed to supervise then was nowhere to be found, among other transgressions) and she talked about gradually reducing the IV fluids now that Mom is feeling better and adequately hydrated. She also talked with Mom about her return to chemo and if she has any concerns. The main worry is that our regular oncologist is out of town this week; Mom's being treated by one of the guest oncologists we had in December who couldn't access the O'Maya Reservoir and hurt her during chemo administration. Dad is determined to help advocate this time around so that doesn't happen.