Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just keeps getting better

Talk about ups and downs with this thing!  Today Mike saw the surgeon and as of Monday, August 26 he will be 6-weeks post op.  According to doc, after Monday Mike can push a car if he wants to.  Absolutely no restrictions.  Even gave him a letter indicating he can go back on duty with the Air Force after the 26th.  The next colonoscopy is scheduled for mid December, not mid October like I thought the oncologist suggested yesterday.

The only thing left between now and then is the genetic stuff.  If all of that comes out negative and the colonoscopy is clear in December we will have one FANTASTIC Christmas!

It still amazes me this has all happened in the span of two months.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It seems different this time

We went to the appointment with the oncologist today not knowing what to expect.  First Mike had a blood draw, which shows that he is no longer anemic, but his iron is still a bit low.  For the next couple of months he'll need to stay on the iron pills, but only has to take one a day.  So, good news there.

Then we get the news we came for.  The tumor board as a group came to the conclusion that Mike will not have chemo.  They are sticking with the Stage 1 diagnosis, which indicates only more frequent screenings rather than anything more invasive after surgery.  However, he did not want the port taken out at this time as he would rather wait until after the next colonoscopy and the results of genetic testing if Mike goes through with that. 

We left the office with no new information, yet somehow I feel more settled about it now.  Maybe it's because I know a team of professionals went over Mike's case and came to their most educated decision.   Maybe because it's been three weeks since the last appointment with the oncologist and I had that time to get used to the idea that we have to trust the lab results and the process.  Or, more likely, I just NEED to be more settled about it.  Fear can be paralyzing, but so can uncertainty to an extent.  I don't want to live day to day wondering if there are still cancer cells in Mike's body.  I can't live that way. 

While Mike's health at this time is better than it has been in months and we are incredibly fortunate that Mike's civilian job has benefits that covered medical bills and paid time off.  However, we also count on monthly income from the Air Force.  While Mike is unable to physically work on base, he will be able to do some correspondance from home.  That will help make up some of the difference.  It's a difficult balance.  Maybe vacation last week seems like a luxury we can't afford, but there is also a need for normalcy and feeling like a family that didn't have cancer invade their lives two months ago.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vacation is over

Vacation is over - along with lazy mornings and swimming all day.  I registered the kids for school today.  I guess that means it's time to get back to some kind of a routine.  It's hard to believe how much has happened this summer.  So many surprises, so much uncertainty, but so much gratitude too.

Wednesday is our meeting with the oncologist to find out what the Tumor Board came up with in regard to treatment/procedures for Mike.  It's difficult to describe how I feel right now.  Part of me feels like this is no big deal, nothing to get excited or worried about, but then I think, "isn't that weird - to feel like that?"  What we find out on Wednesday will be significant in determining where we go from here.  I keep coming back to the phrase "new normal" and I guess that's what this is.  You kind of get used to the uncertainty, but not really.  Maybe some day I'll figure out how to put that into words that make sense.

It's also a bit strange to have other issues taking center stage right now that are pushing this cancer thing off to the side. 

"Yes, it's been quite a summer..."  J. Buffett

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Getting ready to head back home after being gone for 9 days.  In some ways it seems like much longer than that.  For at least a little while we were able to be "normal" again.  The kids swam & swam & swam in the hotel pool, we went to Warren Dunes in Michigan, hit several wineries, visited with family & some friends from college that we haven't seen in about 10 years.  They have three daughters and the oldest two are close in age to Cal & Zoey.  You'd would have thought they had known each other forever.

In the back of my mind, though, I still had to push away thoughts of Mike's upcoming oncologist appointment.  This Wednesday we should find out once and for all if chemo is going to be prescribed.  We're doubtful Mike will go through chemo, but we've (& the professionals) been wrong before.

I'm so glad we were able to get away as a family.  To reconnect and do things together - just the four of us.  Then to have the chance for Mike and I to see Jimmy Buffett in concert last night brought back memories of the other Jimmy concerts we've gone to in the last 17 years.  It's funny how songs seem to have different meanings depending on where you are in life.

Back to the real world & all the ups and downs that come with it.

From August 9

Copied from my facebook page....
Wishing I could up date my blog, but the laptop won't let me sign in so this is the best I can do for now.

Exactly four weeks ago today, Mike had 1/3 of his colon removed. One hour ago he was throwing the kids around in the swimming pool. Yesterday he chased them around a playground. I am overwhelmed once again. Mike's resiliency is nothing short of amazing. When I see the scar, it is an obvious visual reminder of what has happened over the last month and a half, but there are times I find that I have to remind myself that it has only been four weeks and considering it was major abdominal surgery Mike is not yet physically healed.

I'm glad we've had this opportunity to get away for a week. The kids are having a blast - three hours running around with four Bulldogs last night, swimming, playgrounds, etc are wearing them out in a good way. Our family needed this, I think. Maybe more than other vacations we've had in the past. It's nothing exotic, but when our biggest concern is the kids arguing over Burger King vs. McDonalds - Life is Good.