Sunday, August 22, 2010

Countdown to ONE day - can we sleep tonight? (by Susan)

I can't believe it - we have been counting down the days from 168 days/24 weeks/12 chemo sessions/ 6 "cycles" - during George's cancer treatements.  We are now down to 1 day left.  George gets his last infusion tomorrow and we are both pretty excited about it. We are wondering whether either of us will be able to sleep tonight.   Only one more night of flushing the PICC line - only one more shower with the Dry Pro on George's arm to protect the PICC line - only one more day of George sitting in the big chair in the Infusion Room at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center while I run around booking appointments, getting us drinks and magazines, and getting coffee cake from the Panera bread supply that they always have on Mondays. 

Treating George's cancer has been the major focus of our lives for the past six months.  We have had to put vacations on hold (goodbye condo at Crested Butte with all our kids in one place for once), take it one day at a time, and try to deal with one new health crisis after another.  I, for one, have been physically and emotionally exhausted at various points, and I'm sure that's nothing compared to what George has felt.    We have both been afraid to project out what our lives are going to look like in the future.

Last week we took a big step and booked a condo and made airline reservations for a vacation in Kauai, Hawaii, for October.  We wanted something to look forward to, a trip where we could do whatever the hell we wanted to do and totally relax by the ocean.  We feel like this is going to help the process of de-toxing from all the drugs that George has had in the last six months and also to help heal our psyches.  I felt like it was a major statement - to get back on the horse and plan something FUN!  However, we did get trip insurance, just in case!

Today George and I met Josh, George's  blog buddy in the war against Hogdkins.  George found Josh's blog on-lineat the very beginning of this journey.  Josh lives in our area and was also diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkins, about 8 or 9 weeks ahead of George.  Josh likes to mountain bike, which was another thing they had in common.   They have been trading e-mails and supporting each other through this whole thing.  I think it helped George to take a look at what Josh was going through and see what things would be like in 8 weeks.   Today we finally got to meet Josh and Sarah, his wife.  We went for a road bike ride together and then had lunch.  We didn't stop talking the whole time - just trading our war stories, both patient and caregiver.  It really helps to talk to another person who is going through what you are going through, because the doctors and nurses, even though they are great and well-intentioned, don't REALLY know what it feels like.  

Josh and Sarah have started to become involved with the Lance Armstrong's Livestrong organization, and George and I are hoping to do the same.   One thing I really like about the Livestrong message is the hope it gives to cancer patients that you move on to find the "new normal" and have continuing healthy lives.

George's hair has already started growing back - the nurse told us that this sometimes happens before people are done with chemo.  His skin tone is looking better and his lungs are getting much better every day. 

We will see what our "new normal" turns out to be.  I, for one, am ready to have a fall filled with fun, laughter, music, and, most of all, love - between George and me and also with all of our family and friends who have supported us through this tough year.


  1. It was awesome meeting you today! Sarah and I very much enjoyed it. Great ride, too. Definitely we have to do more of that.

  2. Good luck to both of you on the final treatment day! On a purely selfish note, I'm looking forward to seeing George back at work in the not too distant future. It's been much too quiet around here :-).

  3. Brings happy tears to my eyes knowing that today is the last chemo infusion! What a journey. You've both been strong and inspiring through it all. Here's to the new normal!!!