Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chemo update-Week 23-Final Treatment #16-8/6/2014

While she lies sleeping I quietly dress for work wondering what dreams she has had throughout the night.  The roller coaster ride of emotions could only translate into dreams of a similar type.  Feeling helpless with the knowledge that I can’t rescue her I can only kiss her on the forehead, tell her that I love her and leave for work. This is a scenario that has played out almost every day since her diagnosis.  I am hopeful that as of August 6th 2014 her dreams will become better as we progress towards normalcy.

It was on this day, a day that we have anticipated since the start, that Angela received her 16th and final Chemotherapy treatment.  I remember clearly our first ride to the treatment facility as we both fought tears of sadness & worry in comparison the final ride was just as emotional however the tears were of joy and not of sadness.

Energy was flying high the evening before as my wife created a farewell to chemo sign that she would carry all day and keep as memento to remember her battle.   She arrived at the facility bright & early with donuts for the nurses and of course her sign.  She took the treatment like the veteran she has become and afterwards celebrated with the doctor and his staff and then we left hopefully to never return again for treatment.

So with this phase of our five year plan to defeat cancer now over I’m left to ponder the future and evaluate the past.  As for the past I started to list a few of the lessons that were learned.  Some we successfully incorporated into our lives others well
1. Be positive
2. Listen—I’m not good at this—I try to fix things
3. When nausea sets in leave her be- I tried to comfort
4. Tell her that you love her--often
5. Take care of yourself—I would say I did a good job but my wife would say otherwise.
6. Be there for her when she needs you.
7. Allow her to do that things that she likes to do.  I have to admit I battled her tooth and nail when she tried to vacuum the floor, clean the kitchen, do the wash or spend the day at the baseball field.  In the end I now realize I was wrong.
8. Do not allow others to abuse her kindness—for whatever reason there were some that were not sensitive to her illness & held her accountable for unreasonable expectations.  I managed this & managed it well
9. Let others do things for you & your family—this is not an easy thing for my wife or I but we realized early on we needed the help and it allowed those around us to have that opportunity to know they were needed.
10. Women are stronger than men—my wife was able to internalize her pain to put on a good show for the kids & I so we would not worry.
11. Sometimes no means yes—my wife is the type of person who will say she can handle something by herself because she does not want to put that burden on someone else.    I took her back & forth to every treatment despite her claim that she could do it herself however I regret missing the monthly checkups & the one CAT scan.  I should have been by her side regardless of whether they were the scheduled 15 minutes or if they extended to an hour.  
12. Disagreements/arguments  still happen-emotions don’t change because someone is sick—life continues—Instead of being reactive try to get a deeper understanding of the source of the disagreement.   Getting mad, doing irrational things will not solve anything & ultimately only introduces more stress into the lives of both parties.
13. It is okay to cry but once you’re done move forward and not backward.
14. Trust the medical professionals.
15. Go to church, pray to God and when doing so pray for others that are suffering as well.

The future holds change---change in lifestyle (diet, exercise,etc.) , change in responsibilities (kids & I will relieve her of duties), change in how we manage stress & finally change in our involvement with the community.    The outpouring of compassion, support & love expressed by the community has overwhelmed both my wife and I leaving us speechless and overwhelmed.   Once we are back on our feet again it is our turn to pay it back.

One final message to my wife is I love you dearly and I will always be by your side regardless of illness or any other challenge that may lie ahead.   You battled cancer and you are a survivor!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Angela's Facebook Post on 8/1/2014

My most dreaded treatment is more to go!!! I am flying high right now....the end is finally here : )

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chemo update-Week 22-Treatment #15-7/30/2014

 Excited or concerned I’m not sure how I should feel at this moment.  Excited & happy that Angela only has one more treatment but concerned that we’ll become complacent & not make changes that could reduce or eliminate the possibility of recurrence.   Each and every day I remind myself of what I was told when we started on this long journey and that was to take it one day at a time. 

Treatment 15 included the most lethal mixture of medicines that have resulted in the worst side effects.   We brace ourselves for the worst and hope for the best.  Typically the only side effect the day of treatment is sluggishness with the worst side effects rearing their ugly head two to three days later.   This week would be no different however the symptoms were not or at least to date have not been nearly as severe.  Bouts of nausea, lightheadedness & general sluggishness are symptoms that she has battled routinely so she put on her bravest face, smiled at what cancer had to offer and did it once again.

I wake up each day and could easily say to myself my wife has cancer and she is going to die however we do not do that in our house.    Though it was ingrained in my as a youngster to never give up there was never any substance to that motto until I watched my wife do battle with cancer.  Never give up are just three independent words that alone mean nothing however when put together and mixed with heart & soul they cannot be conquered.   My wife has taught me that there is meaning to life other than existence on this Earth.  i.e. love other people, do the things you want to do and smile and be happy.

As we approach the final treatment I feel lost without a clear path developed to lead our way afterwards but I’m comforted with the knowledge that with faith in God and the strength we share we can overcome.   Love you Angela!