Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mom's Turn

(This picture was taken mid-March. It seemed fitting though a bit anachronistic. And the glass in my hand is non-alcoholic wine. Did you know they make that? Ok, Mom's turn..)

Well, finally it’s time for me to add my voice to the blog. Jaci, despite feeling sick, took off this morning at 5am to a much deserved R&R visit to see Jon in Oregon; Jaime is back in California and Bess hasn’t yet arrived … so I have free reign for now. =)

It has been a difficult last two months, often heartbreaking and tearful to watch Erica go through with her many, many painful procedures and all the side effects she has had to encounter and endure, and continues to do so. She is truly a young woman of strength, courage, endurance, with the determination to fight this frightening disease that has crept upon her so swiftly and so suddenly with no forewarning. She hardly ever complains and is so stoic in her pain and constant nausea. And Jaci, her staunch supporter, her best friend, her primary caregiver, her loving sister who makes her laugh and see the humor in so many ways that only a person who is so in tune with each other can do. During all those difficult LPs Erica had to endure, Jaci never left her side, holding onto Erica’s tightly clenched hands to ease her sister’s pain. I am proud to call them my daughters.

Yesterday, Erica finally finished the last of her four LPs and the tenth radiation treatment in this second phase of her protocol. This week, she sleeps a great deal every day- maybe 18-20 hours are spent with her eyes closed, although she often tells me she’s not sleeping. The fatigue and discomforts she’s currently experiencing is expected after the radiation treatments, etc, and we’re hoping she regains strength during this week of no hospital visits. She now has the rest of this week to recuperate and rest up for the next phase which could begin as early as next Monday. This third phase would entail chemotherapy repeated every three weeks along with a special drug administered weekly. These treatments repeat itself in cycles of three week for IVs, oral medications and the one injection and only every 18 weeks would she need another LP. I have no qualms that she will weather this phase with as much courage and strength as she has shown so far.

How to thank all the people that has shown their caring and love in so many ways? All the prayers and cards and gifts that were showered upon Erica have just been overwhelming… her high school friends from St Joe’s in Santa Maria, her Oxy buddies in Pasadena, her multi-national Fletcher intellectuals, not to mention friends from jobs, Japan, who knows where she meets all these friends… my mother, my sister and brothers and family members, those close circle of friends who call me constantly to inquire as to our wellbeing, my co-workers at SF superior court who have all been so supportive, members of my church group… just too many to name…but THANK YOU all…knowing you are all there has been a tremendous help.

And how can I leave out the fabulous care that was generated at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and at Dana Farber Cancer Institute here in Boston? Their nursing staff and teams of physicians’ care have just been phenomenal. Not only are they attentive and caring but they all do it with a smile; are always so gracious and uncomplaining no matter what the request may be…even to taking care of Lola for a week. Where can you get that kind of attention and love? Last but not least, our own Dr. Sirulnik. Somehow you know that he cares for Erica and will do whatever he can to ease her pain and suffering and to carry out his Hippocratic oath to the letter. We were just so lucky to have had him as Erica’s attending physician.

Within the next month or so, Erica will discuss with Dr Sirulnik and the Transplant physicians the feasibility and/or viability of a possible bone marrow transplant. Meantime, please keep those prayers coming… Peace.


Jamie said...

Erica, Judy and Jaci,
Wow!! Judy that was an amazing blog. I have read every post on this blog since Jaci first started it and this was the first one that brought tears to my eyes.
It is very easy to see how Jaci and Erica became the amazing women that they are. I also now know where they learned how to write so well.
Erica Jean, my love, it was great to hear your voice today and I can't wait to come see you again soon.

Love, Jamie

adam said...

Thank you so much for this post, Judy. Erica and the Murray women that surround her (even Lola, the furry Murray) are an inspiration to us all!

Jon Endrikat said...

Hello Ladies!!
Mom, what a beautiful blog... I miss you girls so much and I've only been gone a day! I'm thinking of you often and am just a phone call away if you need anything.
Beek, Jon's roommate here, Court, has the IN at Fenway! :) we're sooo there! Oh, and who bought The Economist at the aiport this morning...??
I love you.

christine said...

Hi all,
Kaima, thank you so much for your blog update! That was truly beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I feel so blessed to have you wonderful Murray ladies in my life! The grace and strength, love and kindness, patience and determination are indeed an inspiration to us all! Hugs and kisses!! Stay well... and warm!

Kathi Baker said...

I have been following your story for a long time now...but today is the first day I've taken the time to post anything...and I apologize for that! I have been thinking of you constantly and sending every positive thought I can possibly muster! I know we haven't talked in a very long time, but you are always in my thoughts (and have always been one of my favorite former staff members!). Please know that there is a LOT of love coming your way...and my kids send hugs to you too!
Kathi (Kramer) Baker

yardley said...

Hi Judy,

This is Yardley from San Jose. Julie told me about Erica's situation when I was back in Shanghai in mid-March. You and your families have been in my mind ever since. I learned of Erica's site recently, and was overwhelmed with everyone's courage and strength every time I read.
Stay well and lots of love.


Leslie Edwards said...

Hi Sweetie,
Great picture! You all look so beautiful. I am so happy that Erica has you two out there with her 24/7, you are both such amazing people and make for such a wonderful family. I can't wait to come back and see you all in a few weeks! I love you guys.

Becky Taylor said...

Hi Erica Jean,
I just wanted to say hello and send my best wishes. Guess what - I just got back from talking to Leslie. As I was standing outside my office this morning I heard, "Is that Becky Taylor?".

How crazy/funny is this? Leslie works a whole 2 doors down from me! We just had a fun chat catching up on old times. I am going to send a care package with with her when she visits next week. Hopefully some fun pictures and faces from the past will brighten your day.

Did you know I also work with Shayna Hamblin's parents? She just moved back to the area and has a little girl that is so cute! I will send you a picture of them - the proud grandparents bring a new one in every day!
Bye for now,
Becky Jean
(the last Blog just reminded me of our common middle name)