Dennis completed chemotherapy on February 10th. He still has two weeks of the other medication and then he is done with treatments. He has an MRI on March 4th and we meet with the doctor on March 5th to get the results and if there is no regrowth, he will be done with treatments. Every eight weeks they will do an MRI to continue to monitor for changes.
Dennis needed a haircut. Now I know that does not seem like a big deal, but he has not had one since he had radiation in August, other than shaving the areas that did not lose hair from radiation.
We have expressed here often that Dennis battles fatigue on a daily basis. This fatigue may be coming from the chemotherapy or the other medication he is taking. We do not know if this is going to subside after he is done with treatment. From what we have learned, some people struggle with fatigue permanently following chemo. Many things exasperate the fatigue. It can come from a long day without adequate rest or from keeping up with activities and conversations when he is with people. Don’t get me wrong, he loves it when people come and visit or take him places. Getting out of the house is a blessing when it happens.
In addition to the fatigue, Dennis does struggle in a couple of areas, all of which are worse if he is tired. It is a vicious cycle. He says he feels much the same as he did just before we discovered he had the tumor. He has difficulty finding the right words at time or will substitute a word. Sometimes he is aware of this happening and sometimes not. In addition, he also has some short-term memory challenges. It is similar to when you go to a room to get something and then forget why you went there. As you can imagine, this can be very discouraging and frustrating. There are several things that could be causing this. First, he has had brain surgery and they removed tissue from his brain. Also, he had six weeks of radiation. The effects of radiation develop over time as radiation stays in the brain for awhile. Not only does it kill off the cancer cells, some healthy cells die as well. Again, we will not know the extent to which these challenges are permanent until all of the treatments are done and some time has passed.
Don’t get me wrong, Dennis is doing remarkably well considering the type of cancer he has and all that he has been through. From time-to-time I read other people’s blogs about this cancer and I marvel at how different their stories are from Dennis’. We truly are grateful for lack of complications Dennis has experienced.
We appreciate so much your prayers and on-going support. In the weeks ahead we will transition to the next phase of this journey. There will be adjustments for us in so many ways.
Our lives have settled into a pattern of visits to the hospital for twice a week treatments which will end at the end of the month. I’ve mentioned before that in some ways this is scary as there are no longer chemicals attacking the cells that may still remain.
We face the question of if Dennis can go back to work considering the challenges he is currently facing. There may not be an easy answer to this until we know what is related to the medications and what is permanent due to the treatments.
In all of this, we also face accepting a new normal in many areas. As you can imagine, it is difficult at times for Dennis to struggle with things we all take for granted – speaking easily, remembering something that just happened, being tired… but these may be the “normal” he will have to live with. This new normal also includes reminders with every MRI that our lives could drastically change again if some regrowth happens. As treatment winds down, Dennis also has to adjust to even more days where he is unable to get out of the house unless someone calls and offers to pick him up. Not driving is difficult in so many ways.
Dennis and I were talking last night about how we know God has a plan and purpose in all of this, it still is tough sometimes and we don’t like it. Who would ever say that they wished for a very difficult time in their lives? No one! And yet God continues to impress upon my heart a single thought that He has been saying to me from the first days of this journey – WAIT. I can’t say I totally understand what that means but I do know it means I am to wait and while I am waiting - to worship Him, glorify Him, praise Him and trust Him and in the midst of the waiting to rest in the assurance of His love and care for us.
- Complete removal of all the cancer from Dennis.
- Clear MRI on March 4th.
- Restoration of Dennis stamina and thought processes.
- Peace as we wait.
- Wisdom and clear direction regarding Dennis’ job.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. I Peter 4:12-13