Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March 28, 2006

[This is a photo of Erica about to undergo radiation. The plastic mask is form fitted specifically to her face and the technician snaps it down to the table to keep her cranium still as she is only receiving the radiation to her brain. It is so difficult to watch her go through this--even for the mere minute or two it lasts--but she enjoys the music playing in the room during this time. The only complaint she has mentioned is the smell of burning during the procedure... it's even more creepy to realize it is herself that is indeed causing the odor.]

Just an update on our latest situation...
Each day, Erica is getting better and better. The pain in her neck and back are slowly subsiding. After an MRI showed us that there was possible leaking of her spinal fluid after an LP last Monday, it helped us understand her pain patterns. After laying down on her side for twenty minutes or so, the pain would nearly dissipate. However, shifting from a horizontal position to anything remotely vertical (i.e. sitting, standing, or merely propped up in bed) caused flashes of INTENSE pain all down her spine. Then back down from standing (with dull lower back pain) to laying down would trigger the pain once again. Throw in a few days of consistant nausea and our week is covered. Needless to say, last week was filled with sadness and boredom.
As the weekend approached, she was able to move slowly and this allowed some freedom from her bedrest. Jamie was amazing and helped out for the entire week and Jonathan & Ted, Auntie Shirley & Uncle Jimmy came to cheer her up for the weekend. Before the visit was over, she was walking around and socializing! I know the medications help her physically, but the support and love from friends give her inner strength more than anyone realizes. Each post on this blog, we talk about! Every time someone calls or emails, when Adam bikes over unexpededly from Medford MA to drop off mail, when Kent shows up with donuts... we talk about it. Words don't begin to cover it... thank you so sincerely.
She still has four more radiation appointments and three more LPs during this second phase of treatment. Unfortunately, tomorrow is a big day of both. Since we know what we *think* causes it -- yea, we pretend to be MDs -- we are taking precautions to hopefully avoid another tough experience. I'm trying to get her to drink as much fluids as possible to buff her up before the spinal tap and we plan to have her lay down for a few hours after her LP. Truthfully, I'm nervous... I will report back asap.
Our house is turning into a home as most of our boxes are unpacked and we are building a daily routine. Per Marcin's suggestions, we are looking forward to so many day trips around beautiful New England! Fishing, walking, bird watching (I'm still trying to convince her that we are just not OLD enough to do this), and letting Lola run wild sounds like heaven! Soon enough... :)


Nick Buckler said...

I wanted to make you laugh or at least smile a little, and I just couldn't figure out how. Odd stories from St. Louis, or lame anectodes from my own recent experiences?? Nah...I decided on a joke I recently heard. It's ok if you don't laugh:

What is red and bad for your teeth?
... ...

A brick. (ba-dumdum-tsch!)

I hope it worked!!!

Laura said...

Hey Erica! If I send some DVDs over with Marcin, would that help with the boredom problem? I'll send good ones, I swear! Email me at laura.zusman@tufts.edu or ask Marcin to email me, ok? I hope today is going well.


Lariba8 said...


I wanted to say hello, still thinking of you and your family in my prayers daily.


V-Omega said...

Holy Monkies that is a freaky picture. I'm so sorry you have to go through with that. When you get radiation treatment, are they irradiating your entire body?

I'm amazed by your spirit and by the love/dedication of your sister and mom, and of all those that have visited you.
May your vitality return 100-fold.
Peace, Nate V.

TheDarkerUma said...


So, I was looking for some inspirtional poem to post, but I couldn't find one I liked or more importantly that you might like. Then I thought, why not write one myself? That didn't work so much either. So, I decided to go OLD SCHOOL and write one of those poems you wound do in elementary school where the first letter of each line spells a word.

Moral of the story: 1) I shall always be old school/juvenile 2) I suck at poetry.

The Inspirational Erica Murray Poem:
By Uma Nithipalan

E - xcellence in scrap booking - ex. cutting out cute letters out of pretty paper perfectly (speaking of which, I just found a pair of pink scissors with the initials JM on them - haha, that's right I still have Jaci's scissors from freshman year.)

R - ighteous babe who can see all sides of the coin (not just front and back)

I - ntense focus on reading.

C - lever in such a way that she sneaks up on you without being arrogant, but rightly making you think.

A - wesome ass. Sorry, I can't be completely clean. But you do have a great ass! =)

IMPORTANT NOTE: New word beginning.

M - ucho Gracias! For the extensive lessons with the bannana. (man, it's just so hard to keep it clean)

U - tter belief that life should be filled with globe trotting, children (harumph!), and pants that fall off when I try to put them on. (Erica gave me these sarong type pants recently, that you have to tie up to keep up...and no matter how hard I try...you know.

R - esolve to have fun even though one might fall on one's ass (I sense a theme)in the mud while wearing white pants.

R - rrrrrr...what else begins with "r"...Recycle? Don't forget to separate your paper and plastics.

A - lways appreciative of a good line dance.

Y - ay! This joke of a poem is done.

Oh dear, this doesn't really seem like a poem now. Alas, I hope its something that you and Jaci (I'm not expecting Judy)can talk/guffaw about.

Love you guys,

Erik said...

Erica, since my wife apparently does not know very many words that begin with the letter "R" (and she had to resort to giving you Recycling advice in her poem to you!), I thought I would help her out with some "R" words that she could use the next time she writes you a poem:

Radical ('cuz you're awesome)

Rump-shaker ('cuz you kick ass on the dance floor)

R-rated ('cuz Uma's not the only one who can't always keep it clean)

Resplendant ('cuz you're hot)

Real ('cuz you tell it like it is)

Rooty-tooty ('cuz it IS hard to come up with words that begin with the letter "R", but as gibberish as "rooty-tooty" sounds, I think Erica is pretty rooty-tooty)

Recycle ('cuz it IS good advice)