Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hello Out There!!!

Good morning!  I doubt anyone is checking my blog anymore, but for the few that do, here goes...

This post is long, so grab a cup of coffee or tea.

It's been a long, long, time since I blogged... May 24 to be exact.  To refresh your memory, I explained that I wouldn't be blogging again until sometime in September.  I had decided to take a break.  Today's post will be about Scott, and my next post will be about the list of goals I set for myself to accomplish over the summer...we'll see how I did!  If you are new to this blog, my husband has been fighting prostate cancer.  The first time we got wind that there might be a problem was Sept. 10, 2007.  We had it treated, and the treatment didn't work.  The cancer returned, or actually, never fully went away.  We changed doctors, and had it retreated last spring. 

So here's the latest... last time I posted, we had just finished 50 radiation treatments.  While we were in the middle of all that, it was just go, go, go.  It was a little over an hour drive to get to the clinic, and at first, we actually had a good time, but as time wore on, it was extremely hard.   I'm not going to try and be all brave and upbeat... towards the end, we were down for the count.  I felt a cloud of depression cover me like nothing else.  Luckily, we still had a teenager in the house, so that made me snap myself out of it, and I've learned that even faking being upbeat, makes you feel a bit better.  I know this whole thing was hard on her.  For her entire life I've always been the one to pick her up from school and she would talk ninety miles an hour about her day.  Now suddenly, she came home to an empty house, and we didn't get home most nights until 6pm.  Now before you tell me most kids today have moms that work and they always come home to an empty house, it's all in what you're used to.  She did admit to me once it was all over, that she loved it.  She loved coming in and doing whatever she wanted for 2½ hours.  I wish she had told me that earlier :).

So Monday-Friday, Scott would go to work at 6am,  leave work around 1:30 and come home.  We would eat a quick lunch, be out the door by 2:15, at the clinic by 3:30, and back home by 6:00.  Scott was usually in bed by 6:30, and asleep by 7:00.  Crazy, huh?  We kept telling everyone he was working half days, until one day I looked at him and said, "You are actually working about 7 hours...that is NOT a half day!".  No wonder he was tired.  The radiation and the drugs (he was up to 20 pills a day) took a big toll.  I wanted to crawl into bed too, but I had to stay up and try to maintain some sense of normalcy for our daughter.

During all this, our daughter went on a mission trip to Brazil, and Scott took that week off.  It was an extremely difficult week.  We tried to do some fun things, but nothing was fun because we were too tired.  We did manage to get up and watch the entire Royal Wedding from start to finish... that was great!  We finished treatments in late May, and they told us they'd see us in September! Wow, three months off sounded great.

We had an uneventful summer.  Scott was, and continues to be really tired all the time.  There are also side effects from the drugs to contend with, but overall he got better and better over the summer.  We had to hire our yard mowed. I think we were the only ones left in the neighborhood that did it ourselves.  Scott tried, but if he got hot, which he always did, (it's summer in Florida after-all) he would be down and sick for a day or two.  As September approached, it was like a big, black, cloud on the horizon.  I hate to sound over dramatic, but that's how it felt.  We tried not to tell anyone which day the appointment was scheduled, because we wanted to deal with whatever news we got on our own terms.  This treatment really, really needed to work.  If your initial treatment fails (his did) the next round must, must work.  Scott's cancer had spread too, which made it worse, the odds of a cure had dropped.  As the doctor told us, "We are going to throw everything we've got at this, plus the kitchen sink."   

So, we went to the appointment 2 weeks ago Friday.  I won't go into the nitty gritty of how it felt, but it was really tough waiting for the doctor.  I was almost in a panic mode.  I thought I would have an anxiety attack, but luckily I didn't.  The doctor seemed nonchalant as he delivered the news we had been waiting on... NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER.  None, nada, zip. Scott's PSA levels are undetectable (that's a good thing, something we've been waiting to hear for four years).  The doctor said the scans could not have looked better!  We both just stared at him.  We didn't really react.  It was too good to be true.  Then he said the magic words...We'll see you in a year!!!!!! It was like being released from a weird prison. 

We met the doctor in the hallway for more prescriptions, and I knew I had to say something, but words seemed so, I wasn't even sure I could talk.  I weakly shook his hand and said, "Thank you, we really appreciate it."  How lame! (I do plan to send him a card).  This particular doctor is on the cutting edge of treatment.  Men come from all over the U.S. and the world to see him.  He is so sweet and confident, with just the right amount of seriousness to keep you from all out panic in the beginning.  He did not give Scott a reprieve from the meds, but that will come after Christmas, hopefully.

So the ride home was almost silent.  It was too much to take in.  It was hard to wrap our minds around it.  We did make a couple quick phone calls, and that was it.  I don't really know what I expected, but I thought I would feel happier, excited, elated.  But instead I just felt shell-shocked.  We've lived with this a long time, and to think you can let go of it in a few minutes is unrealistic... it has become a part of us, changed us.  I really hate that.  I looked at Scott a week later and said, "Will we ever be those people we used to be?"  He said he had no idea, but probably  not.

Cell phone picture taken the night after we found out.

Don't get me wrong, we are SO happy, but it's a cautious happy.  If he had been cured the first time, I think we would have gone on, unchanged, never looked back.  But this was different.  We have learned to depend on God in a different way than before...that's a good thing.  Not that our life was all peaches and cream before, but this experience was on a different level.   I wish I could tell you we threw a big party to celebrate, but again, too tired.  I'm thinking maybe Halloween :).

This post sounds so depressing... I do not mean it to!  I would like once again to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers over the past year.  It meant a lot to have complete strangers praying, and it's something we will never, ever, forget.  We felt it... for sure!

We will not be going to Paris this fall.  It feels weird, Paris has become a habit.  We hope to return next fall, and get our mojo back:  
mojo Self-confidence, Self-assurednessability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude)

In fact, Scott found $850 round-trip tickets, and our old apartment is available in Oct, but alas, no vacation time left...too much time taken off for cancer...darn that cancer!

But we will return, it's as much a part of us as the cancer is... a much better part :).

If you're still with me, leave a comment, so I'll know someone read this post.

P.S.  As I wrote this, I looked at my blogroll, and oh how I've missed reading all your blogs!  I smiled as I saw all of the names I've come to know and love so much.  I hope to read and comment on each and every one this week!

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