It has been a while since I offered an update on my wife's dealing with cancer. A number of people have asked that I at least periodically offer updates, even if there is no positive news. So allow me to describe the general situation and where we are specifically.
There are good days and bad days. The three week cycle of two weeks of chemo and one week off now has a definite shape - the end of chemo (which is a Monday) and the first few days off chemo (Tues and Wed), which is where we currently are, are the most difficult. Despite that, Leaves on the Current is working about 80% or a bit more of the hours she would normally work. Her appetite comes and goes, to some degree affected by whether she can taste things enough. At this point in the cycle whatever she wants I will try to obtain - so this morning it was down to Dunkin Donuts for a couple of plain donuts. That is what she wanted, and it was a nice way to start her day.
She is increasingly independent in her movement and activities, but not completely. Thus she was able to spend a good chunk of the weekend with one of her nephews giving him a treat - they went to Gettysburg for the reenactment, which very much delighted him. She is now comfortable with driving three hours at a time to visit family or do activities like this.
The one issue is that she cannot secure Gregor, her back brace, as well as I can. if I still have an important function (besides cleaning the cat pans) it is that I am the expert at fitting Gregor on to be most supportive.
And that brings us to how we are waiting and hoping. It has to do with the neurosurgeon.
When we saw him a few weeks ago, his initial reaction, based on the original MRIs taken in January, was that he was not sure he could do anything for her back. But he had her walk around, and then decided to get a new set of MRIs. It took several weeks after that to get some feedback, but his assistant called yesterday to say he was quite pleased with what he had seen, and he wanted to get some more regular x-rays, with her standing, with bending some. We were able to get that yesterday evening, and now we await his evaluation of the situation.
The chemo is going very well. The cancer is being knocked down, but that is not surprising. Her blood cancer is considered very treatable, and we expect to get to a situation where it is considered in remission. At that point chemo will no longer be a restriction on her quality of life.
But Gregor is. Unless and until her back can be strengthened, she must continue with Gregor, she cannot carry more than about 8 pounds (which means she cannot even pick up any of the cats, the lightest of whom is about 9 pounds), and there are many other parts of normal living that are excluded - I am sure you can use your imagination.
We are prepared to explore all options. We are hopeful that the neurosurgeon and his partner will see a path they can take, but if not, we are prepared to use connections to get a second opinion, probably from a top notch surgeon in NYC.
For now we continue, we try to live as much of a normal life as possible.
She still sleeps in the hospital bed, for which we have just been billed for the 6th month of rental. We are fortunate that we are no longer even paying co-pays, since the costs we have incurred have reached the cap for the year.
I was working part-time, but between continuing to care for her - primarily in terms of driving her to and from work (about which more in a moment) and preparing for my new teaching responsibilities that will begin next month, I could not do what was necessary for the work i was doing.
We are hoping that the paperwork from her doctor will allow her to use handicapped parking at the Library of Congress itself. That will enable her to drive herself to and from work. Where she used to park is a 5 block walk that is simply too much given her current condition.
It is now approaching 6 months since we got the news on January 27th. It has been an interesting 6 month journey. We have had the support and the prayers of so many, for which we are eternally grateful.
For now? We wait for the neurosurgeon, but are a bit more hopeful based on what she was told yesterday.
Thanks for your support.