The calm before the storm – and HTFU

It’s Friday night. Monday the “treatments” begin. Radiotherapy Monday and Tuesday, Radiotherapy plus Chemo on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then a few weeks of Radiotherapy. Then Chemo. Preparing for whatever reactions and side effects might result. Trying not to think about what ifs, side effects like nausea and vomiting and exhaustion and heart attacks. Lions and tigers and bears oh my.

Plus – all the damned paperwork and admin. Oh the paperwork! Fill in the hospital forms. Contact the insurance company. Contact our GP about referrals. Get details of flight and send to oncologist so she can write the letter that will hopefully get me a refund. Contact Cancer Council to get details on financial advisor. And legal advisor. See if we can access Paul’s superannuation early to pay off our debts so we can live on my income if and when necessary. Get Paul’s passport sorted so when we can go to the states, he’s got that and we just worry about the visa. Get wills drawn up. Find out what income protection insurance covers. I may need a day off just to take care of it.

The unwelcome answers we got at our Wednesday meeting with our oncologist are still echoing around my head. Paul is potentially going to be very, very ill. When I told this to my mother, she asked if it were worth the extra time it would buy. When I told her that we’d been told without the treatment he’d be dead of liver failure in 6 months, she took in air very fast. I was too blunt. I’ve got to watch that.

quit-whining-and-htfuI repeat these harsh truths to myself as harshly and bluntly as possible in the hope that it will toughen me up. That I won’t avoid the question when asked “How are you?” Currently I’m just nodding and saying “And how are you?” My cousin J*** – who has gone through some very hard times recently – said to me, internally you think wryly “Oh fuck, you really don’t want to know that, so what the hell” – and  answer “Oh great. Just great. And how are YOU?”

I’m also hoping that when someone DOES know, I don’t fall apart. Eventually.

Because of all this, I resent anyone trying to tell me about non-traditional “cures” and miracles. Thinking about those could make me too soft. I won’t be calloused and hard enough for what’s to come if I’m to dewy-eyed and miracle-hoping. When I first found out, I ordered this book: I’m not sure about it now – she’s got some acupuncturist, a marketing person, and NO doctors on her “advisory board”. But it’s coming and I’ll read it. Someone mentioned Gerson Therapy. Just the thought of telling Paul to shove coffee up his bum would make this treatment a no go. The fact it’s bullshit is also a consideration for ignoring it.

I look at articles with titles like “Biotech’s Coming Cancer Cure” and get my hopes up, then want to scream when the fine print is that people are living and dying and even if tomorrow they got it working it could take SEVEN YEARS for it to be on the market, which is HALF the time of drugs and other stuff. PAUL DOESN’T HAVE SEVEN YEARS.  Let alone 14. Jeezus.

I can’t help but wonder with drugs so expensive and radiotherapy at $1,000 per 15 minutes if a cure is really what the medical industry wants…

<Exhale> </Exhale> Okay, I’m calm again.

This was actually going to be a good news entry. Sorry about that.

The good news: we’re going away for a night to a nice hotel in the Clare Wine Valley just an hour and a half or so north of us. It has a spa tub and a fireplace (gas I think) and is next door to a lovely sounding restaurant. I figure with Paul about to be sick for two months – potentially for this 49th birthday – he deserved a gourmet meal and a lovely, out of context getaway. I promise at least one nice, uplifting post about that. Tonight obviously isn’t going to be that post.


3 Replies to “The calm before the storm – and HTFU”

  1. Love you guys. It’s a shit time. Just remind me to decline Paul’s offer of a coffee when I see you next x

  2. Hi Kerry. When my dad was ill I dragged him to every witch doctor under the sun. I made him drink things that were undrinkable, coated him in lotions that promised healing etc etc. I read everything in Google. Everything. I spent so much time running away from the reality of the situation that I wasn’t there for him as he endured my manic, desperate attempts to heal him by sheer will and good intention. This haunts me even now and I wish I could change it but I can’t – it’s too late. Your instinct is good. I hope this blog is cathartic for you. I’m so sorry you and Paul are going through this. Hope your weekend away brought some lightness to your lives.

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