Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friends, food, fillies, and a flute


"This has been the best visit with Erica I have had in the past year. The
change in her medication along with the finishing of one of her chemo
injections has added more sparkle to the already glowing Erica we all know
and love. Erica, Jaci, Jamie and I paled around the city enjoying some of
the most fabulous meals I have ever had...check out Dulce Vida?? in the
little Italy section of Boston for the best Italian food ever. There was
plenty of down time just relaxing at Erica and Jaci's apartment just truly
spending wonderful time together. The weather overall was excellent and
between Jaci's flute playing, Erica's comments on her neighbors, Jamie's
juggling three cell phones maintaining her busy work life in LA from Erica's
couch and my getting lost everday driving in Boston, the best part was..."


"...arriving into Boston on Thursday morning, greeted by amazing weather AND by a surprisingly strong and energetic Erica. After I arrived, I was informed that I had a surprise awaiting me on Saturday morning. Erica, Jaci, and Jon then spent the next two days trying their hardest not to spoil the surprise . . . and they almost made it. Literally, no more than five minutes before we were to walk out the door, Jaci (the queen of secret keeping, no joke) spilled the beans . . . we were going horseback riding!

Erica, being the amazing friend that she is, remembered that I had never been horseback riding and signed us all up for a trail ride. An hour’s drive out to a tiny little town called Agawam, and we were ready to saddle up. Erica, Jaci, Jon, and myself, mounted White Stallion, Gramps, L-7, and Gilligan and took off. We spent the next hour riding through a beautiful forest, singing songs, and laughing our heads off. Jaci lead the way (well actually the crazy trail guide led the way) but she was always right behind him looking very natural and stoic on her horse. I followed close behind feeling very comfortable and excited about my new experience. Erica and Jon brought up the rear, all the while marveling at the amazing scenery (Erica), and holding on for dear life (Jon). Just kidding Pup!

Riding through the forest with three of the most amazing friends a girl could ever have, I realized how lucky we all are to have each other, and the reason we do, is Erica. I have always said that Erica has the most amazing ability to bring people together, and more important, keep them together. Her charm, sense of humor, wit, intelligence, and selflessness are ever present and no amount of chemo can strip her of that. Her ability to see the beauty in everyone and everything during such trying times is just one more reason why I am so proud to call her my friend.

After we said our goodbyes to our new found filly friends, we headed back to Boston and, on our way, discovered Jaci’s hidden talent . . ."

"...yes yes, it is true: i am like the Pied Piper of Boston with the recorder.

All that Jonathan said of Erica's newfound energy, outlook, and personality
is TRUE!! She has been a whole new person--well actually, more like a whole
OLD person, the same spirited chic we all know. We are pretty sure that it
is attributed to a change in her medication. For all intents and purposes,
she has begun her final phase of treatment: maintainance. This means that
for the next 15 months (calculated so that she is treated for two full years
since the date of remission) she will no longer be receiving one particular
chemotherapy that is TOUGH (to put it kindly) called Asparaginase. So we're
told that this drug is highly effective and crucial to her treatment, but
from the patient's perspective, this is one drug that continuously knocks
her down. It is given once a week for 30 weeks (yea: 30 WEEKS!!) in a phase
called "Intensification". (I'll let you figure that one out.) So now that
she is out of these 30 weeks, it was like a switch was turned off and the
fog has lifted... It's funny that as we drive around Boston to places she's
been to many times, she is now for the first time SEEING it. She notices
scenary, buildings, directions... just that we are simply leaving the house
regularly is amazing.

Another change from the Intensification phase to the Maintainance phase is
the lowering of her steroids which we're told will have a huge impact on
her. As she came off 5 days of high-dose steroids every three weeks, it
caused her muscles to ache, back to hurt, and as you can imagine, mood
alterations. Although we have a few more weeks left of the high-dose
steroids, it is literally a JOY to see how well Erica is adapting back to a
daily routine. It only makes me more excited for the change in steroids as
I imagine she will keep improving!

She told me the other day how much better she feels by simply that she walks
into the kitchen when she's hungry and fixes a meal. Now, this may not seem
like much to you, but for the last 10 months, she was unable to do this
simple task. Standing for such a long period of time was impossible because
the muscles in her legs wouldn't allow her. This only frustrated her more
to know that she couldn't do it and she would try to force herself to do
these things, building the disappointment if she failed.... Now, she can. I
don't think I can express how happy the little things can make me. :)"


TheDarkerUma said...

sounds yummy. i miss you guys and the food as well!

Anna said...

Hi there! I'm glad to hear that things are going better in phase two. I also miss you and love to see your smile in are such a warrior. All my love to you, let's talk soon!

AnitaBean said...

Erica~ I miss you lots, but it does my heart good to see you doing so well! You look happy!

Jaci~ Bring the flute when you come! :)

Artineh said...

How nice it is to hear you are doing so much better! Here's to improvement every day and a smooth sailing fourth phase.

miss you!