What started as shortness of breath and weariness, grew worse. Hopes that it was the flu or perhaps pneumonia turned out to be overly optimistic. A visit to the doctor blurred into two hospitalizations, four x-rays, three CAT scans and the diagnosis we feared all along.
Kathy has cancer and we have now begun a journey together that I never imagined we would be taking.
The first chemotherapy session did not go well. The process began with drugs designed to help with nausea. Kathy had an alergic reatction to one of these drugs and the infusion was stopped while she received high doses of antihistamine. Kathy then had a severe reaction to the preservatives in one of the chemotherapy drugs. There were consultations and a suggestion that Kathy go home and start over the next day. Kathy decided to stay and the medicine was titrated so that she could get used to it. We left the hospital nearly twelve hours from when we had walked in earlier in the day.
The next three sessions have gone much better. She is tolerating the medicines well and they are working. The infusions now take only a few hours and Kathy passes the time listening to music and napping on and off. I work on my laptop and watch as others come and go in the treatment room. Some are just starting their battles with cancer, some are very far along. Some come with three or four family members to help them pass the time. Others come alone.
We’ve had to make some changes at home, but they are not drastic. I give her two injections of blood thinner each day and have become pretty good at delivering the medicine with as little pain as possible. Instead of drinking wine and nibbling on cheese, we now share bottles of Vitamin Water and packages of BelVita cookies. Visits to movie theaters and restaurants have given way to watching Netflix together and taking short walks around the neighborhood when the weather is nice.
This week has been filled with only good news. Her blood tests show that the cancer marker has been decreasing steadily and that she is tolerating the chemotherapy well. There are five more to go, followed by a day-long surgery and then another nine weeks of chemotherapy.
Kathy is fighting hard and each day has been better than the day before.
On this journey, that is all that matters.
Dave & Kathy, Love & prayers to you both. After a story very similar to Kathy’s, I was diagnosed with heart disease in 2012. A wireless pacemaker/defibrillator was installed in June that year. During cardiac rehabilitation, I learned that my mental state was just as important as the medication I continue to take every day, so I created a “Still Vertical – Clear Track Ahead” button campaign. Being upright in my mind is every bit as important as being still vertical physically. It is critical for me, and I have been blessed to be able to share “Still Vertical! – Clear Track Ahead” buttons with others who are fighting their own medical battles. My story continues as a cancer survivor – I was diagnosed with highly active prostate cancer in 2016. 42 radiation treatments and two years of hormone therapy later I am, as of last Wednesday, in remission. Due to the condition of my heart, the surgeons could not remove the prostate gland itself, so I live with that – Still Vertical! – Clear Track Ahead. I will get some buttons to you asap. When you see them, know that someone is praying for healing & strength for you too.
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Our thoughts and prayers are with you both. It is certainly a challenging development but I’m happy to hear you have encouraging news already. I know you will all fight with all your might to help Kathy back to good health. Love to you, Kathy, Abby and Mary.
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Dave, We are thinking of you guys. If you need anything, please let us know. We are just around the block.
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My dear friend,
I have not been able to finish this reading without shedding a tear. The tears for a lot of reasons but most of then are for the beauty of the love you have for one another. Whether you are drinking wine or Vitamin Water, you all are together and strong, positive outcomes will come from being together. I am sending healing thoughts Kathy’s way and energy to you. Yet another mountain and when you all reach the top I hope it is as beautiful as previous ones climbed. Love, Laura
Thank you so much.
Kathy, David, & Abigail:
Sorry to hear about that damn cancer. Sending all of our cousin love and prayers to you all.
Tom, Jennifer, Patrick & Allison Archer
St. Catharines, Ontario
How brave you are to share your story, and though I have not yet met Kathy, I am certain that she, too, is brave. My heart aches for you all, and both Mark and I are thinking of you and praying for Kathy’s recovery. Hold fast to each other and climb up that mountain.
All my best wishes and affection,
Your old friend, Sandy
Kathy Dave and Abby
Sorry to hear the news about the damn cancer. We are thinking about you all and doing our best to send positive thought waves your way. Let us know what we can do to help — the ‘Cuda Nation is proud and happy to accompany you all through the churning waters in search of smoother seas!
Ken Betsy Emily and Andy Rutherford
Kathy and Dave –
We just learned of your new and terrifying journey. We are all thinking of you and rooting for you. Take good care of each other and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help out.
I have been making organic bone broth which is easy to eat and has potent nutritional value to help keep one’s strength up through the brutality of chemo. I would be so happy to drop some by for you to try, and I can keep up the supply if it works well for you.
Thanks so much Rina. Fortunately, the appetite is returning to normal, (We had tacos at Holy Frijoles after yesterday’s treatment), but we really appreciate the kind offer.
Dear Kathy, Dave, and Abby,
I just heard the news—Sending you all healing vibes of strength and love and resilient recovery. You all occupy a warm spot in my heart and I am so sorry to hear of your difficult journey.
Lots of love,
Thank you, Emma.