If you’re going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill
Before I begin my post for today I want to thank Stacy from FightPink.org. Stacy was kind enough to post my original three blog posts on her site in the co-survivor section of her website. I hadn’t read them in a while and it seems like years ago since I wrote them, but I’m glad she found them and felt they were worthy of posting. I hope someone finds them useful.
I also want to make sure anyone who reads this post to come back here on January 19th, Martin Luther King Day. I will be hosting an interview on the Blog Tour for Chad Moutray’s book, My Life with Laura – A Love Story. It is a love story which ends sadly when Chad and his wife lose their battle with breast cancer. Chad is having a blog tour about his book and several of us have read it. I encourage you to follow the different dates on his two week tour of many different blogs. Here is a link to his schedule:
Today flew by for me, but I can say it was a full day of thinking, laughing, and eight glasses of water to fight my voice which is pretty weak right now. I received an email that made me laugh. The person asked me why I was posting “Celebrity Sightings” on my Cancer Blog! Yes, my life is moving in a different direction. Cancer still stares us in the face and will occasionally be on topic for the next several years as my wife faces her post-cancer trials and therapy.
In fact as I worked up some interview questions for Chad, I was thinking about the predicament that many men are put in when their wives discover they have breast cancer. We have to be strong, silent, empathetic, and unselfish all at once. Some of us have not even had practice at one of those things. That does not even begin to talk about the tasks that we need to serve as cook, provider, chief information officer, Florence Nightengale, joe the plumber and many other things I can’t remember. Let’s face it, men just don’t have a good rap as caregivers. When I was faced with those many hours sitting in the waiting room, I hated being the only husband sitting in the room with a young wife. Where were the other husbands? Face it, the waiting room of a breast cancer clinic was no place for a man. All those glamour and cooking magazines. I was left to read last year’s ESPN Spring Training Preview where they picked the Detroit Tigers to win it all (boy were they wrong). I started bringing in more current magazines on business, sports, photography, and travel. By the time my father-in-law made it to his first and only visit with his daughter to the doctor (5 months after her original diagnosis) , all he could tell me about was the marvelous skiing magazines they had. My wife and I could only smile.
In those hours of waiting, I did discover the bulletin board which was full of community groups to help with coping. I wandered around the Clinic’s Cancer Resource Center which was helpful and I met a few men and befriended a few sharing stories about our wife’s situation then asking if we knew the score from last night’s basketball game.
What I realize was missing when I was working on my questions for Chad was a primer on what to do. I had gathered so many articles and written so many notes and resources that I put together a small guide. I think it would be a great set of readings for husbands, so I’ve packaged them together as a reading list for our surgeons and oncologists to give to their patients and spouses. Even though my wife has passed her surgery stage of chemo I just feel like we owe so much to those that will follow behind us.
So what’s the status with my wife? Well she still has scars and is dealing with letting them heal. There is always some mention of them every night. I keep reminding her that time heals all wounds. I hate those words. Who said that anyway? She has four visits to the clinic this week. The first was to check on her suture which opened up. Tomorrow she gets one of her monthly suppression shot to reduce the amount of estrogen that feeds the type of cancer they removed from her, then she meets the following day with her oncologist to go over her clinical trial. The trial is called S0307 and is a bisphosphonate trial primarily for pre-menopausal women. Bisphosphonates are a group of drugs that have strong effects on the bones and have been shown to strengthen the bones in many patients who take them. This study will compare three study drugs, ibandronate, clodronate, and zoledronic acid in breast cancer. My wife is taking clodronate. The study will take place for 3 years. My wife will be taking Tamoxifen for 5 years. She has seen some minimal side effects but we just say that it shows the treatment is doing something. I try not to make a too big deal about it as I want her to feel like it is a normal thing we are ready to deal with.
I know this is a weird note to end this blog, but I had a great run tonight and at the end, my iPod had a congratulations message from Tiger Woods for running my fastest time yet. This was a pleasant surprise and I can’t wait to run faster tomorrow.