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That Which Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger. Fredrich Nietzche
As we move into the second week with the news of the cancer spreading to TLO’s spine, we are grateful for all the wonderful words of encouragement, the expression of love, along with the care and concern shown to us. Yes, the news hit us hard last week, yet each day we have gotten stronger because of so many of you who have reached out to us. We are grateful for your attention; it is important for us to know that we are Never Alone.
This past Thursday we had our initial consultation with the radiation oncologist; our next scheduled visit with the radiation oncologist is on Tuesday of this coming week. With three tumors on his spine located in the Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar region, the radiation oncologist is going to be aggressive with his treatment plan, yet cautious because of the location of the tumors. The visit on Tuesday will determine if the radiation oncologist will be able to ‘shoot’ one or two tumors at the same time. We are anticipating 14 to 21 days of radiation.
As the week has moved on, we have both adjusted to the difficult news, and what lies ahead of us. A good friend of mine asked me this past week, “what is the time frame that the Doctor gave you?” Knowing what he insinuated, I reminded him that two years ago the oncologist told me that ‘TLO’ had “three, maybe four months to live.” Now two years past that original diagnosis, we have learned to take predictions in stride and deal solely with reality. We have cancer, we know it is serious, each day is a gift. We have run with this philosophy for the past two years, there is no reason to change it now.
The reality of the diagnosis has allowed us to have some very meaningful conversations between the two of us. One of the conversations we had this week centered on the need to have a consultation with Hospice. We look at Hospice in a positive sense, not a death sentence. Hospice is not a place where you go to die, but rather a wonderful program that celebrates life. Hospice does not shorten lives, Hospice helps people live as pain-free as possible. What Hospice does help accomplish is the facilitation of the natural course of life. Hospice is inclusive of the entire family, bringing care and comfort to all involved. The sooner Hospice in engaging in the process, the better the experience will be for everyone.
As Caregivers, we often get caught up in the mindset that we can do this alone. I think that is even more so for LGBT couples who fear discrimination and bigotry. It is one thing to experience this feeling in a public setting, unbearable to have someone bring those feelings into your own home. We both have previous experience of waiting too long to call for assistance. As we move forward with his palliative radiation treatments, it only makes sense to have this added benefit with us.
As the week has moved on, TLO has regained some strength and continues to try to be as independent as possible. When I look at him, I am frustrated because I cannot see what I know is inside of him. We had a trip to the grocery store, he has been out to lunch and to dinner, and he is chatting on the phone with friends. What is so different about today from last week? The only difference is that we now know what has caused his pain, now we have to respond to it. In a sense, the diagnosis is a blessing because now we know what we are up against and can have a plan of attack. We move forward with the same vigor, hope, and reality that we did two years ago.
We learned two years ago from the original diagnosis that we cannot predict the future. We have also learned this past week that are Never Alone!
You see…We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us!
- With help from hospice, Dad didn’t go gentle into that good night (denverpost.com)
- Life after Bobby: Hospice Care Week (georgeblogs.wordpress.com)
- Tuesday With a Side of Tears (stageiv.wordpress.com)
- Defining the 3 goals of palliative care (kevinmd.com)
- Radiation Oncologist: Staring down the elephant in the room (members.jacksonville.com)
- HOSPICE – Dispelling The Myth (gskpulsevolunteers.com)