BRIMMING TO THE TOP

Less than five percent intact.

Trashed.

Basically nothing left.

Though the platelets recovered from the transfusion; his baby white soldiers dispersed.

The glass isn’t half empty or full. The life-giving liquid may even evaporate before it makes its way across the slick side to his parched lips.

The hospital machines apparently won’t even register any lower numbers.

It’s like his body has said, “Enough!”

Can’t take no more chemo.

Stumbled across the breaking point.

Decided to put everything on hold. In complete opposition to my natural instinct to take more action and fight.

If only the cancer would obey, raise the white flag and cease to take over his spinal chord.

In the mean time, we gave him an injection to hopefully encourage bone marrow production.

Three forks ahead in the road.

Monday we’ll prick his finger to see if the injection rallied the troops.

One week later we’ll do the same.

Another week later we’ll scan the entire chord and lower brain.

Each fork will help determine our path forward.

“This is a dangerously poor response to this current chemo therapy,” says Dr. Nick rather emphatically. “Any infection at this point would be life threatening.”

Teddy takes it all in behind lowered, guarded eyes, “So we can still go do a movie and Fettuccine Alfredo, right?”

Always grasping for hope in this new level of normal.

“Sorry, Teddy. No public places or crowds until your body regroups.”

Back to our hotel room in downtown Denver.

Brought the creamy pasta to the kid.

Snuggled deep in his makeshift bed. Portable DVD player squawking intergalactic skirmishes. Light sabers flashing. Yoda pronouncing goodness, hope and the perils of falling to the entrapments of the dark side.

Spent most of the night clinging to his deep, rhythmic breathing; hoping and praying that his glass slowly fills back up.

Brimming to the top.

Overflowing.

On our way back home to Durango sometime this morning, will be packed in tight, and wearing yellow, disposable masks for Teddy.

Sitting in a downtown coffee house.

Waiting for Laurel and the kids to wake up and pack their bags.

The man on my left seems to have suffered a stroke. Fingers jammed into his ears to block out the noise as he methodically reads the morning paper.

The woman on my right is smiling and talking cheerfully to a friend or loved one across the table whom is no longer visibly there.

Outside steam pushes up through a metal grate. A young girl sits cross-legged on the ground, clings to her backpack, and soaks in the warmth of the morning sunshine.

Below freezing temperatures last night.

Taking a very serious look now at our remaining option.

The six week sprint…


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