Friday, November 28, 2008

Searching for a cure...

It really makes me mad that right now there are so many people around the world that are in the same situation we are. The western doctors are not as hopeful as you want them to be, every eastern doctor we meet is sure they can cure Ryan completely and we are stuck in the middle trying to figure out which way to go. It just doesn't make sense that in a time where your mind is not as clear as you need it, you are forced to act like a doctor and decide which is the best treatment to go with.

Through the past week I have transitioned nicely through the many stages of grief. The day after the news I went to a work meeting and everyone kept asking me why I was there - Denial. Then I started to feel really mad at why we should have to deal with cancer as a couple for the 6th time! I have always said that it was better it was us than a child or an elderly person, but that's because I was always totally confident we could get through it. But this time I did finally get - Mad. The next step is supposed to be Bargaining, where I will promise to whatever god or spirit you believe in to be better. I have always done this before, but this time have a hard time putting my head around any person that would give us this challenge again. On Tuesday of this week, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I couldn't get out of bed and cried very easily - Depression.

Now I am moving towards the fight - Acceptance. Reminding myself that Ryan has always been the exception and will continue to be so. The hardest part of this stage is that you have to let your mind go to the worst possible conclusion and go through how you would deal with that. Then you can bring yourself back to the today and deal with every day as it comes without going to that dark place again.

When someone gets this kind of news, the people around them don't know what to do or say. That is okay and normal. Just know that they would much rather you tell them that you're sorry they have to go through this and that you don't know what to say, then if you stay silent. They need to know that you are there to support them and help them out. Now they may not take you up on any of your offers to help, but the fact that you did makes them really know you care.

I am not saying all of this to get you to email me, but just to share with you what I experienced in terms of reactions when I was sick and what I am now seeing with Ryan. Live today like there is no tomorrow because none of us know what will happen today. Make Ryan your inspiration to tell someone you love them, forgive someone for something they've done or do something great that you keep putting off. Together we can make this a better place, but it's not going to happen if we all wait for that to happen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Round in the Ring

Usually when I don't write in my blog for a while, it's because everything is going so well that I don't think there's really anything interesting to note. That is the reason that you haven't seen anything from me for a while, but that is unfortunately why I am back online today.

Life in general has gone by without many bumps. Ryan did find out in September that his tumour started to grow a bit and that definitely got us worried, but we seemed to have settled into a world of him focusing on many eastern medicine remedies, taking time off of work and just living life. My health has continued to improve and that brings with it some ups and downs, but mostly I felt like we were really getting back on track.

Last Thursday I went in for my first 3 month check up at the Cancer Center and my oncologist noted that I looked perfect! I received another injection in my stomach to keep my ovaries temporarily shut down for the next 3 months and went on my way. But while I was seeing him, Ryan was down one floor getting an MRI to check on his tumour.

Of course there were 3 scenarios that Ryan and I had prepared for when we received the results on Tuesday. However, the news that we got wasn't one of them. Unfortunately his brain tumour that had started to grow a bit in September has literally exploded in growth over the past 2.5 months. For those of you that have seen Ryan recently probably are as stunned as we are. As one of his friends noted “he looks the healthiest that I’ve ever seen him!”. We were told that they would review his case at the Tumour Board (the weekly meeting with the top doctors from each different area of cancer care) and let us know what they came up with for options.

Last night the doctors called and told us the following:
· Surgery is still not an option. The risks are too great because they would be causing permanent damage to visual and speech fields and still may not get much of the area out.
· Radiotherapy (a more precise version of radiation) is still a go! He will start daily treatments as soon as they can get it planned. We are thinking in the next week or two.
· Chemotherapy is still an option post radiotherapy if Ryan wants it. This one is tricky….there are 2 drugs they want to use and 1 of them is very experimental for brain cancer. It comes with it some fairly significant unknowns and risks and some potential benefits as well, so we will entertain this option in a couple of months. The other problem is that it isn’t covered in Alberta yet because it is so experimental, so we will be working hard on many angles over the next 2 months to see what we can do to change that.

Although the situation is still really uncertain and scary, we are in a much better place today than yesterday. Not having a “plan” and “options” is never good! Today will be a day of figuring out more about the plan because Ryan was also told some other news he wasn’t so thrilled with…he can’t drive for a while! So, we will be acquainting ourselves with local transit, trying to reshuffle his appointments and getting his bike winterized – thankfully we moved to the inner city a few months back.

Life continues to throw challenges our way and we keep wondering why. The good in this scenario is that I have had 2 months to regain my strength and Ryan has had the past while to get his system ready to fight again. We now just need to further develop our plan of attack for this latest development and then get our fighting gloves on again.