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Monday, May 16, 2011

Cancer - A Long Overdue Update

Part III – A Long Overdue Update

    It's been a while since I've updated this part of my blog; things have been a little crazy. My wife has now completed five of her six cycle of chemo, with the sixth one scheduled for Friday. Before the last cycle we received some amazing news; she's now cancer-free!

    She's still suffering from the side effects of the chemo, and she's confused as to why the sixth cycle is required, knowing that the side effects are cumulative (each cycle is worse than the last) and that she's cancer-free. The doctor has explained to her that the minimum treatment is six cycles, but she's concerned that the chemo drugs are indiscriminate in their killing, and that if there are no remaining cancer cells to kill, how many "good cells" are going to suffer? I understand her logic, but I'm the type of person that tends to "follow protocol" when I'm dealing with important things like this.
    The side effects are bad enough that she had to take a medical leave-of-absence from work. She's been home for about a month now. As far as we can tell she's probably going to be out until the end of July; maybe even longer, but we hope not. The sooner the chemicals are ot of her system the better as far as we're concerned. She was sick before we knew that she had cancer, then had three surgeries in January, directly followed by the chemo treatments. She's tired of "recovering," and she's defensive about getting the final chemo treatment.
    On a good note, now that we know she's cancer-free we're making plans for a victory celebration. Ideas are "a-plenty" for ways to celebrate; the most popular being a family vacation centered around either a cruise or a trip to another country. She also wants a formal party of some sort where the men's dress is coat-and-tie and evening gowns for the women. Whatever we end up doing, it's going to be amazing!

    When my wide was first diagnosed, one of her main concerns was, "Will I live through this?" The doctors assured her that she would and tried to calm her fears, but our day-to-day life, as well as our outlook on life-in-general, immediately began to change.

    Before the diagnosis we lived day-to-day; well, we existed, that is. But things we were either afraid to do or that we didn't want to waste time day-dreaming about suddenly had more of a sense of urgency about them; they needed to get done, and we needed to do them! My fear of heights took a back-seat and I decided that if she wanted to do something, I was going to do it with her! I didn't care if she wanted to do something as crazy as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! Thank God she's dead-set against riding the rides on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas!

    Personally, I had already made the decision that even if her condition had been terminal (and thank God that it isn't!) that I was going to do my best to complete the items on her bucket list before I even started on mine. Now that she's cancer-free we've decided to not only dream about things that we want to do, but we're going to do everything in our power to make those dreams happen.

    The lessons we're taking away from all of this:

        Follow your dreams!
        Live! Don't just exist
    ...and the old cliche:
        Don't sweat the petty stuff!
        Cuz it's ALL petty stuff!

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