I wonder what you have in store for us?
Just a few years ago, I would sit down around the turn of the year, mark the calender with public holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, commitments and major events. Then Steve and I would discuss when would be the best time to take my annual leave allowance so as to make the most of these occasions. Work revolved around a predictable cycle, fixed in advance. Being sociable, doing projects and work on the house and garden were fitted in at weekends. Barring the unexpected, by the start of the year life was pretty much mapped out for the following twelve months.
Since Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009, nothing has been predictable in our lives. For the last three years, things have revolved around Steve's quarterly assessments and our time horizon has shrunk to the three month chunks of time in between. More recently, the time horizon has shortened even further in line with the three weekly chemo cycle, and even then our assumptions about how Steve would feel at various times during each cycle have proved to be wildly inaccurate on occasion....
As I write, our time horizon has shortened to two days. How our lives will pan out thereafter and over the next few months hinges on what happens at Steve's assessment on Thursday. What effect have the four cycles of chemo had on the cancer? If the CT scan shows that response has been positive, is his body capable of taking two more cycles of chemo, always assuming its on offer? We'll have to wait until Thursday for the answers to these questions. Only then will we have some idea what's likely to be in store for us in the near future.
In the meantime, now that we no longer have Christmas/ New Year festivities to distract us and occupy our time, it feels like we are living in suspended animation. On the one hand, I feel the urge often associated with a new year to get on and do things. This feeling is heightened by the knowledge that if Steve does have more chemo, life will get more difficult before it gets better. If we don't make the most of this brief period of respite, the opportunity to make progress on a number of fronts is unlikely to come up again for at least another 6-8 weeks, by which time the treatment regime will be completed and the cumulative side effects will begin to wear off.
On the other hand, Steve admits that the last cycle of treatment has not been easy. He still lacks energy and feels listless and that makes it difficult for him to get motivated. That de-motivates me too. In addition, although we appear to be calm on the outside, it is clear from the odd hiccup that we are both operating on relatively short fuses at present. I am aware that my emotions are very close to the surface - another symptom of "scaniexty" i.e that horrible period where you are waiting to hear scan results, knowing that there is nothing you can do about them.
Steve is clear however, that if the scan shows that the response to treatment is positive, he would take the opportunity to complete six cycles of treatment overall, assuming that would knock the cancer back even further.
We have not discussed the scenario in which there is no response to treatment and the cancer has continued to grow in spite of chemotherapy. Partly, I think this is because neither of us wants to contemplate this outcome, and partly because the doctor seemed to be very cautiously optimistic, based on what he could comparing X-rays taken before and during treatment.
So, for now we are living life one day at a time and trying to stay positive about the outcome of Thursday's assessment. Please look in later in the week to share the news :-)