We have passed the half way mark in treatment! The first few weeks went really well with Bill suffering few side effects. However, as expected week three arrived and things got much tougher. In addition to the regular side effects of fatigue, weight loss and hair loss Bill is now also dealing with swelling in the brain due to the radiation treatment and the side effects of the high doses of steroid used to control the swelling. Routine tasks are very challenging for him as he gets tired so quickly and the swelling has again resulted in an increased level of confusion. We were warned by the oncologists that this period of time would be very hard but it is impossible to really understand just how hard until you are living it.
Bill takes oral chemotherapy 7 days a week and has radiation 5 days a week. Almost every radiation day we have a second appointment, either with a nurse, doctor, the pharmacy or for a blood test. There are a whole team of people who oversee Bill’s treatment and he is fully assessed each week to ensure that he is ok to carry on. The care at the Victoria Wellness Center (aka the Victoria Cancer Center but we prefer to think of it the other way and have thus renamed it) is excellent. The medical staff are dedicated, patient and knowledgeable and there is a volunteer program full of wonderful people who make being there every day a bit more tolerable.
Throughout this time, through a number of waiting room conversations, I’ve encountered amazing stories of human spirit. People who have fought and beat cancer several times, people whose bodies have waged war against them who simply refuse to accept defeat and keep on fighting and winning against the odds. It is inspiring. As for us, every day is different, some better, some worse, some much worse. We are getting through the weeks day by day, sometimes through the day just hour by hour. But we are getting there and we are not giving up hope. Bill continues to handle everything in his usual stoic way and with such incredible grace. His courage makes me so proud.
Many thanks again for all the kind thoughts and messages and to the people who continue to help our family. The assistance with dinners, childcare, housework, yardwork, birthday parties, flights, appointments, special letters and gifts to the kids, research and information about clinical trials and alternative treatment options – all of it is what is getting us through.
And to my amazing sister in law and my friends who have organized things from afar and given up their holiday and vacation time to fly out and help us – I know I don’t say thank you enough but I think it every day.