A break down of the four of us

Apr 12

I tell you, it has been a weird week people. Last Monday I got great news: the tumors are shrinking. Cue the happy dance and glee, right?  Right!  Of course: frolicking and toasts commenced.  Celebration.  WOO HOO!  Period.  It is a relief, a breath of hope, a change in trajectory.  It is good with an ache in the word.  I’m grateful.  I’m amazed, and I am grateful. One-by-one we are all mentally trying to wrap our brains around this. First, it was Maren; with our toasting glasses still in our hands, she wanted to know if this meant shrinking tumors would eventually be gone-forever tumors.  As in, no more cancer, no more cancer treatment.  It was oh-so-hard to know the right thing to say in that moment, but we’ve opted for medically-statistical-truth for her, so I gently told her that the expectation is that, “No Sweet Heart.  This is good news because it means the cancer is not taking over my body.  But the medical team all believe that this will work for a while but that the cancer will eventually grow again.”  Will it grow?  Will it disappear?  We don’t know.  My heart bursts with pride and pain as she assimilates into our new normal along with us.  On this night hope triumphed in her: her dimple flashed and her eyes were bright with joy.  Our message to her beats consistently: we have circumstances (some good, some bad) to accept, we have a God who loves us, and we trust that all things will be made good.  Maren is navigating challenges that far exceed what I would choose to ask of an eight-year-old, but she is growing her own gumption, courage, wit, and strength as she lives.  She is exquisite, truly. Brad — my knight who thrives on optimism and best-case-scenarios — has been tempered this week too.  Joy first, for sure, but it is restrained.  He knows the reality of the chemo on me and his love for me is such that he is having a hard time watching me.  He alone sees me in the quiet moments.  He asks to know how I’m feeling and keeps asking because he really cares. He promises me I’m not...

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Today’s picture

Apr 04

As I’ve been a cancer patient over the years, I think my scanxiety has gotten less with time.  That’s not because news about cancer growth gets easier — because it doesn’t get easier; it probably gets harder, actually — but there is a routine and a familiarity to the process that make it more absorbable. The best analogy I can think of for repeated cancer scans is it’s the difference between getting in your first violent car crash versus your sixth violent car crash.  The first time: everything about it is new and awful and jarring.  There’s a frenetic panic and shock amongst the practical responsible things you still have to do despite the tumult you just experienced: check on the other people involved, get to a safe area, call police, etc. The sixth time: it’s still awful and jarring and terrible, but at least you have felt that blow before and you have an ability to absorb it with less adrenaline.  You get out of the car and execute the necessities with less drama. Thankfully, I’m better about not letting anxiety/scanxiety get to me: I take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, and move along to focus on something I can influence for the better.  A scan is just a picture, after all.  When I worry, I lose the present moment I am in, and still there is nothing gained in the worry. This afternoon Dr. Wonderful walked into my exam room where Brad and I were waiting with the words: “Your scan looks better.”  I love that Dr. Wonderful gets right to the point. “Better?” “Better.  The tumors have gotten smaller and they are less hot.”  (Less active/less metabolic activity). Praise God! There is no asterisk or detail I am leaving unsaid today: I personally don’t study reports, compare numbers or measurements, or look at the images from the scan.  There is nothing that my scrutiny would unveil: I trust Dr. Wonderful’s synthesis of every variable and each data point.  Cancer regression: this is something I have prayed mightily for.  My Our prayers have been answered. Dr. Wonderful, Brad and I are all very, very, very smiley with this news.  Prior to today I’ve had a rather long series...

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