It’s been exactly one month since I’ve put “pen to paper”. A lot has happened, geesh! Since our last post, as most already know, Jeff’s scan results revealed a sizable growth in his brain. And because no one could be certain if it’s cancerous or not, a craniotomy (brain surgery) was recommended by our trusted team of doctors at Strong. After it was decided which surgeon was going to do the surgery, we met with him, ready with questions about risks, recovery time, possible long term side effects, and so on. We sat down in the doctor’s office and were told the growth may shrink on its own and we could wait and watch. What a shock that was for us. I nearly broke down in tears. It never occurred to me that maybe just maybe Jeff wouldn’t have to be put through surgery. What a relief; perhaps a gift from above (thank you, Bruce).
Jeff has been on a steroid to control the swelling in his brain caused by the growth. It’s helped all of his symptoms…no more headaches, no more searching for words when he’s talking, and he can remember his passwords again for all of his online accounts. Yah, it was scary for a little while there. With ‘roids come some tough side effects that Jeff is doing his best to manage with the smile we all know and love. But in all honesty, he’s not quite himself, something we talk openly about. On August 5th we will get results from the next brain MRI (you’d think they’re having a BOGO on these things they way we’re going). The hope is that the growth will have shrunk and that the swelling will be reduced completely so that he can come off the steroids and even more importantly so that we don’t have to face surgery. To make things a little more interesting, Jeff’s liver enzymes spiked this week and he’s currently off his cancer treatment until they normalize. Sometimes there’s so much stuff to worry about, you can’t worry about any of it.
You know, someone at work said to me today that I take a lot of days off. I thought about that tonight as I drove home. I guess I do take days here and there. More than I used to. It’s one of the ways I manage this, cope with the uncertainty and the stress and the sadness that I find myself struggling with more often lately than I have in a while. The last four weeks have brought Jeff and I closer than we’ve ever been. Because of his love and deeper understanding of what this is like for me, his caregiver, I’ve gone back to yoga (spending some QT with my mat as they say…actually no one says that) and am focused on getting myself a little healthier.
In spite of the “opportunities” we’ve been faced with this summer, we’ve committed to make the most of it, and we have. We’ve taken a couple of overnight trips (thanks to AJ, UT and Grandma Diane for watching the little man for us!), we’ve gone to farmers’ markets, checked out events in our beloved city (ask me how beloved it is when the snow hits), and have spent time with our amazing kids, family and friends. We are so blessed.
A final thought, that I will take with me to the mat tomorrow morning…When I first started this blog I really wanted it to be more about our life with a dash of cancer. As hard as we try to not let this illness define us (or defy us), it’s invaded our lives in a major way. It’s one thing to live with a disease that there’s a defined treatment plan for, a course to follow, an endpoint (one other than the unmentionable). This late stage lung cancer business just keeps going…sometimes I feel like a broken record when people ask how we are…how Jeff is doing…how I am doing. Sometimes I feel like I should make light of it, or change the subject so that people don’t get sick of us or feel like they need to search (once again) for encouraging words to share. Man, maybe the ‘roids are getting to me through osmosis or something…I did use Jeff’s toothbrush today… 🙂
Much love, much hope, less cancer. xo!