I’ve got a poser of a question that very few people could answer. Which is more dreadful: the eve of your first six-month course of chemo, or the eve of your third?
On the night before your first-ever injection, you’ve got the terror of not knowing what’s ahead of you for the next six months or so. That’s pretty bad.
On the night before the beginning of your third six-month course of chemo, on the other hand, you’ve got the terror of knowing all too well what’s ahead of you for the next six months or so. Is that worse? Who knows.
Neither of them is great, that’s for sure.
Anyway, Sunday night was not a great night, especially considering that on Monday, in addition to Susan starting chemo, I’d be finding out what kind of surgery my wrist was in for.
A Piece of Good Luck
Considering Susan’s chemo and the shape my wrist was in, I had pretty much relegated my riding season to just goofing off. Forget training. Forget dieting. Just have some fun.
So imagine my astonishment — and delight — when the wrist surgeon checked over my wrist, read my MRI report, checked my wrist some more, double checked the MRI, did some X-Rays, and then said, "The radiologist who did this report was a little overeager to find problems. If you had sustained the kind of injuries described here four months ago, your wrist would be collapsing in on itself right now."
He continued, "But your wrist is very strong. Unusually strong," he said. "In fact, you may be the most awesome specimen of manliness I have ever seen," he concluded.
OK, I made up that last part.
Still, his point was that while I was sore, I have a reasonable range of motion and excellent strength. He gave me a brace and prescription for some serious anti-inflammatories and told me to come see him again in six weeks. "Soft tissue often takes a lot longer to heal than a broken bone," he said. "Give it some time."
No surgery for me!
Susan’s Visit to the Oncologist
"Hey, I don’t have to have surgery," I told Susan over the phone, as I was driving home. I was taking over with the twins (getting them off to school) while she took her turn at going to the oncologist.
Then, strangely, just moments after I got the girls out the door and was getting ready to head to the office, Susan came back in the house.
She was screaming.
I ran over to her, imagining the likely news that would be making her scream — more surgery? a stronger dose of chemo? something even worse?
No, something much better. I could tell as soon as I saw her huge smile.
"I don’t have to start chemo!" Susan yelled. The tumor markers in her blood work continue to be low. Susan is in less — not more — pain in her bones, indicating things are going well there. The oncologist says Susan’s doing better than expected, and there’s no need to start chemo right now.
Again: Susan’s doing better than expected, and doesn’t need to undergo chemo right now.
I’ve been blindsided by news before, but never by news this good. Suddenly, instead of expecting another summer of fatigue and pain, Susan has a summer of feeling good, of walking, of having hair, to look forward to.
Suddenly, I can see how it could very well be possible that we’ll be able to take that trip to Italy in 2008.
We’re aware, of course, that this is just a delay — eventually, Susan will have to start chemo again. But being able to wait for months — maybe six months, hopefully more — just feels like a huge gift.
PS: Oh yeah, the wrist surgeon says my x-ray shows I have a good batch of arthritis in my left wrist. That will go well with the batch I’ve got in my right shoulder.