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Home Sweet Home … And The Irresistable Lure Of Cheesy Potatoes

Home Sweet Home … And The Irresistable Lure Of Cheesy Potatoes

This is Chapter 11 in the on-going story of Pelotonia rider Alex Kip, 23, and his battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Type B) cancer.

The smile on Alex’s face began to spread from one ear to the other when he got the good news on Thursday: You might be going home on Saturday or Sunday.

Later in the day the news was even better: Dude, you’re going home … on Friday. Tomorrow!

You can teach a man to fish ... or you can just give him a year's supply of Swedish fish

“He had the biggest smile on his face all day Friday,” Cindy said of her son, who was discharged from The James on Friday at 1 p.m., only two weeks into what he thought would be a three- or four-week stay for his stem cell transplant. Alex’s counts were still low and he was extremely fatigued, which is totally normal at this stage of a stem cell transplant. His nausea and fever were gone and his appetite had finally returned, positive signs that led to the decision to send him home.

“I couldn’t sleep Thursday night, I was so antsy and excited about going home,” Alex said on Sunday, at his Gahanna home. The smile was still etched across his face.

“We all just came home and collapsed,” Cindy said of the cumulative physical and mental exhaustion of the stem cell transplant and two-week hospital stay on Alex and the entire family.

“All I did was sit over there and watch DVDs and TV,” Alex said of his first few days at home, pointing toward the couch and recliner where he’s been staked out.

Liz (L) and Cindy helped Alex rest up and spend the weekend on the couch and recliner.

But he was home – and that was enough to make him happy. Brewster, the family dog, was thrilled to have Alex home and even more excited when Liz, Alex’s sister, came home from college a few hours after Alex returned from the James.

Brewster finally had his entire family back home with him.

It seems Liz is quite the expert at vegging out on the couch for long periods of time, as are many college students. She spent the weekend trying to teach her older brother, who’s more of a man of action, some of the finer points of doing nothing.

“One of my faults, if you can call it a fault, is it’s hard for me to sit around and do nothing,” said Alex, who did seem to pace around the house like a caged panther at times. “I need to be more like Liz, but I feel guilty when I’m not being productive. Oh well, I might as well enjoy this for now.”

One of the things Alex is doing, production-wise, is eating – as often and as much as he can.

Operation Get Fat.2 includes lots of Cindy's famous cheesy potatoes

“It’s Operation Get Fat.2,” he said of his goal of gaining back the 10 pounds he lost while he was at The James. Operation Get Fat.1 was a few months back after his second round of chemo.

Cindy helped by making a big tray of her famous Cheesy Potatoes, a tempting and tasty, calorie-filled dish made from mashed potatoes, cheese, sour cream, butter and cream of mushroom soup.

“It’s health food for me,” Alex said.

“Oh wait,” he added. “I have some Graeter’s left.”

Alex grabbed the pint of black raspberry chocolate chip from the freezer and commenced more work on Operation Get Fat.2 – and didn’t stop until he had emptied the container.

While he’s thrilled to be home and optimistic about his stem cell transplant, Alex is also realistic. And from time to time, he can’t help thinking “what if,” as in, “what if it didn’t work.”

Brewster was thrilled Alex was home - and there seems to be some sort of alien off to his right

He won’t know for sure for another month or two, after he goes through a series of radiation treatments and several scans to see if any of the tumor in his chest remains.

“I really think it worked,” Alex said. “But there’s a small part of me that thinks it might not have. It’s normal to think that, it’s human to think that. You can’t be in total denial. But it’s so hard to imagine, after all the treatment and the cards and positive energy and prayers people said for me that it didn’t work.”

Click here to read the previous chapter of Alex’s on-going story

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1 Comment

  1. Bud - February 16, 2011

    If that smile on your face was any bigger your ears would be on the back of your head, not the sides. HA! Way to go!!

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