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.