Friday, March 6, 2009

Here's the latest

In the midst of all the daily this-and-that, there is still the fact that my husband is battling cancer. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this. His PICC line and fanny pack have become such fixtures already that they sort of blend into the background. He seems to (and says that he does) feel fine. He goes to work every day. He plays his guitar whenever an opportunity presents itself, as usual, and he goes to jam with his buddies on Tuesday nights. He plays with the kids and brushes teeth and reads bedtime stories. So it's easy to forget that he's sick, with a very grave illness. And I have to admit that I have entered something of a comfort zone with this whole thing . . . the doctors have made me believe that he's going to pull through this, and so I just believe he will. And sometimes I stop myself and wonder, "Am I not taking this seriously enough? Am I tempting fate by not letting this weigh me down, weigh my family down?" And that scares me . . . a little. Am I being foolish? I don't know.


Michael has now finished up his second full week of chemo and radiation. There is no way to know, at this point, how the cancer is being affected by the treatment. He will have another MRI several more weeks down the line, but in the meantime, we just have to have faith. Although I can't go with him to his daily radiation appointments, I am conscious every morning of his being there during that window of time, and from afar I like to visualize: "Take that, you fucker," to the cancer in his body.

Yesterday after radiation he had his weekly appointment at the oncologist's office where they draw blood to check his platelet count and other things (everything looks good), refill the pouch that holds his chemo meds, and change the dressing on the PICC line. Everything went well yesterday, but somehow, by last night when he came home from work, the entry site for the PICC line was looking pretty red and irritated, so he went back to the oncologist's office this morning after radiation and sure enough, it's infected. Which is a big concern. So now he's been prescribed antibiotics for that.

The projected timeline is as follows (and this is not set in stone):

~ Approximately 4 more weeks of chemo and radiation
~ A "break" of 4 weeks with no chemo or radiation (however, the PICC line will remain in his arm for later use)
~ During the last week of that 4-week break, around the end of April, he will have an MRI
~ This will be followed by a 4-week treatment cycle of a different type of chemo
~ Another 4-week break
~ Surgery at the end of June
~ Post-surgery chemo for 5ish months

So, clearly, Michael will not be finished with treatment until somewhere towards the end of the year. He has to live with that PICC line in his arm through the spring, through the summer, through the fall. A small price to pay for his wellness, but still a bummer. In a way, I'm already seeing this as the "lost year." Which is pretty negative and not the best way to be looking at things. However, I guess in that sense, I'm trying to view it as a finite period, with a beginning and and ending, and at the end, my husband will be well again.
In other news, we finally got the $$ from the insurance company to begin repairs to our downstairs from the flood damage. Yesterday the contractors came and repaired all the drywall; right now, as I sit here typing, they are downstairs painting. Next week the new carpet and linoleum will be installed, as well as a new bathroom vanity. I will be so glad to have all that done with and have the downstairs usable again.


The Beers Family said...

Hi Lisa,

I found out last week that my Dad has Hodgkins Lymphoma and that our family will begin the journey that you and your family have been on for a few weeks now. Its amazing the range of emotions one can have. My take on things is stay positive and look forward until there is a reason not too. Its amazing how quickly life can take a detour.


Grandpa J said...

Melissa wrote: "stay positive and look forward until there is a reason not to."

This is so surreal for me as Mike's dad, heart wrenching in very private personal moments, usually in the dark of the middle of the night. As any of the moms and dads on this site would do, I yearn to magically trade places with Mikey, and with Lisa, switch that port in his arm to mine and endure it all for him, and for what she's going through, take the bullets for them, free 'em both up to resume life with the heroic kids-- as it was, unencumbered by this rude intrusion upon a family that deserves better.

But from Lisa's written and visual snapshots that mean the world to our family seeing them daily, (and we are so thankful for that and for your strength and love, Lisa) it appears that generally Mike and Lisa are living Melissa's positive take, and that they have the power and strength to resume as they have. It's not the whole story, but it gives the rest of us emotionally tied into this thing as well, some degree of power to go on with our lives side by side with the love and the heartbreak too, and who ever would'a thought one could accept a thing like this?

When I talk to daughter Audrey, Mike's sister, we are so hopeful in our conversations, some tears yes, but mostly faith and belief, in Mike's enormous ability to overcome and beat this crap, and that it's a speedbump for now, and Mike's dirt biked over these so many times, and his makeup is to prevail and keep his cool and mental health and strength, so that in the same conversation --Audrey and I we can discuss the Oscars, the beautiful kids and their love for eachother, her goings on at work, our social lives, politics, etc.

And we think it works both ways, as Mike has directly indicated to us, to stay calm cool and collected, as he's striving for and modeling for us, and he'll take the cue right back.
We are so proud of Michael.

And all our best to Melissa and her dad and family negotiating their own detour.

Love, Joe

starrlife said...

Lisa- you can only absorb so much and deal emotionally with so much and then life stays at a kind of numb functioning level. It's rather amazing isn't it? It's either that or a total breakdown. With all of your kids you can't afford to do that! Hugs and positive thoughts your way.

Carla said...

Oh, Lisa, this is such a long road, I can hardly believe it. I'm thinking of you and Michael and sending lots of love from NH.

Lisa B said...

Lisa - so glad to hear week 2 went smoothly for Michael too (other than the PICC site infection) and that he is feeling his usual self!! Also very glad to hear the insurance money came through for the repairs - I am sure you are very happy to have that moving along towards completion. Just thinking about you and glad to see a good update! Lisa