Eli and I were talking yesterday about this weird Summer that just ended. He said he and Sam were chatting and saying that it felt like our lives were put on hold for the past three months. We didn’t do any of the normal things we do in the Summer (boating, camping, hanging out) because when I wasn’t dealing with John’s treatment schedule, insurance claims, or the side effects from the clinical trial, I was head down working trying to keep my business afloat. Someone told me at the beginning of this journey that being the caregiver of a cancer patient is like a full time job. I didn’t really believe it at the time.
Trust me. It’s true. Only the other full time jobs in your life, like your ACTUAL job or your kids or your parents don’t go away.
It made me sad to hear that my boys noticed it as much as they did and that I had virtually no time to spend with either of them. It’s an unseen but very real side effect of Cancer and I won’t forget what it’s stolen from us this year. I’m determined to make up for that lost time as soon as possible.
Yesterday John started a new drug designed to disable the BRAF mutation in his cells and re-engage the “brakes” on cell development in his body. Because of this mutation, the tumor in his groin had grown much more quickly than it otherwise might have and we’ve been told that this drug could shrink it away to nothing (along with the spots on his liver, renal area, and lung) in a matter of weeks. That’s the great news.
The not so great news is that this drug only lasts, on average, six to nine months and then his body will figure out what’s going on and override the message from the drug and the tumors will start growing again. So it’s a temporary result but one we’ll take for now because it buys us time.
I have to admit, the three weeks or so that he’s felt like himself again and hasn’t had to deal with any of the side effects of the immuno-therapy drugs has been so nice. Almost like a return to normal for us. There’s a little sadness about starting down the side effect road again (with this drug that means severe photo sensitivity, joint pain, fevers, and possible hair loss) but whatever it takes is what we’re committed to.
Tomorrow Johnny & I will celebrate our third wedding anniversary. We’ll spend the day together, just “being” with each other and savoring how sweet that is.
Life is a gift and the people you love are too. Tell them how important they are to you today. You’ll never regret taking that action.