Dr. Manny walked into the examination room at the Allison Cancer Center Friday morning and victoriously declared, “The Penultimate Procedure!”

Yes, sir, the next-to-last “Red Devil” infusion intended to completely annihilate any remaining cancer cells hanging around my wife Carrie-Anne. Friday’s treatment was number fifteen out of sixteen total infusions, the third of what I’m calling the Final Four. These last four are the ones doctors and patients in the breast cancer community call the “Red Devil” because of its unmistakable color and its nasty side effects. For Carrie-Anne, these side effects have been minimal and short-lived, relatively speaking. But this past weekend was a little more difficult than the previous two. She was light-headed and woozy all afternoon and evening on Friday. She spent most of Saturday and Sunday completely wiped out physically and wrapped from her waist to her ankles in heating pads and electric blankets to soothe her sore and aching bones. But no mouth or throat sores. And no nausea (the only nausea C-A experiences is driving in the car with me to the oncology hospital while I’m eating a cheese and jalapeno sausage kolache). She is experiencing a loss of appetite for the first time and some minor changes in the way things taste, but none of the worst things we were assured would happen with these final four treatments.

Praise God. He has been very merciful to us, gracious beyond what we deserve. And we are so grateful.

Carrie-Anne has begun losing some of her hair in the past couple of weeks, which makes everything a little more emotional. But she started out with so much, I think she could lose half of it before anyone would notice. We’re still doing the frozen caps on chemo days, still keeping the temperature at 35-degrees below zero and changing them in and out of the dry ice and onto her head every 25-minutes for eight hours. And you can tell from the picture we’ve added another strap, the yellow one, to lock that thing onto her head even a little tighter. And she holds it against her scalp with her hands now, doing everything she can to save that hair. By God’s grace, it’s working better than anyone at the Allison Cancer Center has ever seen. In fact, during our past two treatments, two different doctors have come to the infusion room just to marvel at C-A’s hair and overall health. We keep being told by all the experts she does not look like someone who’s gone through five months of chemo. And, again, we give all the glory to our God.

One more infusion remaining. June 16. Less than two weeks away from completing the treatments and getting most of our lives back. At that time, I’ll write much more about the woman under that awkward cap. She is remarkable in more ways than I realized. And I’ve known her and loved her for 34 years.