This week was a full one with progress in Nikki’s (Anita’s) healing and recovery. Monday she got her last drain out. It just all of a sudden decreased output over the weekend. By Monday it was well within the range where the surgeon would take it out. She called for an appointment and got right in. She still has a little hole in her side but can cover it with a bandaid and shower. She did come home and take a long HOT shower. After nothing but sink baths since Jan 9 she enjoyed standing under running hot water and washing her hair and body. Everything got steamed and cleaned. Tuesday she had a chest xray and a bone density test as part of a screening for a clinical trial she will be participating in. After her tests (screenings) we went to Chemotherapy 101 – Yes, it’s a real class. They tell you everything you needed to know and some more. We got a tour of the infusion room. It’s a big room like an open emergency room but no dividers – just sections with 4 recliners with IV poles beside them. They are all about patient comfort. They have a TV in the center of these chairs and whoever starts first, or isn’t sick chooses the station to watch. You get sick, fall asleep, you lose control of the remote. They have baskets of gloves and foot warmers. A refreshment bar has broth packets, teas, hard candy, water, juices and the like. Patients bring their own comfortable clothes, blankets, pillows, books, work, music, computers, TV, or radios. There must be about 6 – 7 such areas in this room. And of course, there is a long counter with the staff behind it who produce the stuff you take. . Wednesday morning we got up at 5 and to the hospital by 6 for the surgery to have the portacath put in. Instead of having to get stuck each time with an IV and hoping they find a vein, she now as a port in her upper chest. No worry they can’t find the vein. It’s a round receiver device just under the skin that runs a tube directly in to a major vein. In preparing her for surgery they missed 2 times to find a vein. She came out looking like she had been beaten with a stick all up and down her arm. I think they do that on purpose to reinforce your decision to get the portacath. She requested no narcotics for surgery but rather the same drug they used for the original surgery in January so didn’t have any worry on being dull headed or groggy all day. She was discharged and home by 10 AM. I went to work and so did she. That afternoon she got fitted for new bras and a prosthesis, and is glad she is looking normal in her clothes now. She is scheduled for a MUGA (a heart scan) on Monday and if she is within guidelines, we’ll start chemo Wednesday or Thursday. Then it’s every 3 weeks for 18 weeks. She’ll be bald headed soon, and will have an array of several wigs to choose from – no caps or scarfs for her. If all goes according to plan, she should be finished by the end of June. She has talked to other women just ahead of her in the process and picked up some tips about what to expect. One thing she has learned from Louise Gray, the mother of Kristen’s roommate from Baylor, Bethany, is plan a soup week after each treatment. If you have a winner of a soup recipe please send it on. I’ll proabaly fix two or three different recipes that week and freeze some for the next soup week. Everybody doesn’t react the same way but generally soup is a comfort food so it’d be good to eat anyway. It’s hydrating, a good way to get vegetables, a one pot meal, and I like it too. Thursday we accepted a perk of her job. The Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a dinner at an Austin icon restaurant – Green Pastures. It was a nice dinner and we won a gift basket with beach type stuff plus a gift certificate for a two night stay at The Holiday Inn Emerald Beach in Corpus. She has received another offer from a resort on Lake Whitney for an overnight stay for 2, meals, spa and golf package,etc. which we will try to squeeze in for March or April. These getaways will be a welcome break for relaxation. Thank you all for your prayers and support. We can feel the outpouring of your love and it is truly amazing. Nikki’s goal is to see this as a journey and an opportunity to grow closer to God, and seeks to handle it all with grace through Christ.