Monday, 19 January 2015

Gathering momentum

There was a very bleak period back in November and early December when life appeared to be slowing to a halt as a result of disease progression, pain, appetite loss, weight loss, and hair loss ....all overshadowed (and no doubt influenced by) the doctor's prediction that without further treatment Steve's life expectancy was probably a small number of months.

Well....those words were haunting us about seven weeks ago. Since then, rather than going downhill as feared, life has improved and seems to be gathering momentum!  

The five day course of radiotherapy in December has done its job.  The lump on Steve's chest is still shrinking, and there have been no further pain episodes.  Steve's appetite is good; he is eating well and has put on weight.  His hair is growing, his eyebrows have returned fully and he is cultivating a goatee beard!

We have been sociable over the last 10 days or so - a visit from Steve's brother and his wife; our son staying for the weekend; a splendid Sunday lunch and afternoon with our dear friends Jonathan and Sally.  

We have also been out and about a little, including a day trip to Bristol spent mainly on a mission in Ikea.  However, this is not the best weather for galavanting if you have a compromised lung, so we have directed our attention indoors, been very busy and made good progress on house projects...

The big clear out and declutter continues and we've now freed up another room, which will soon be ready to redecorate and furnish out for family and friends to stay over (hence the trip to Ikea!) 

Steve has done some odd jobs in the kitchen and I have been stripping wall paper in the hall, up the stairs and on the landing.  As I type, Lucy the plasterer is putting a fresh coat of skim on the old plaster which is now about 110 years old and in dire need of some TLC.  Then its out with the paint rollers and time to browse through carpet samples.   

If you had told me in November that we would be doing stuff like this in January, I wouldn't have dared to believe you given the doctor's prognosis.... I wonder whether the doctor would still say the same, if he saw Steve now?  

For sure, the GP is less worried. With Steve's agreement, she is now only contacting us once a month to check up on him, rather than phoning weekly as she has been doing up to now. Steve was also able to reassure the hospice nurse that he doesn't need any support at present, but appreciated the contact all the same.

He still gets tired, but if the chest lump is still shrinking then the chances are that the radiotherapy is still working, so I would expect the side effects, including fatigue, to continue as Dr Rebecca indicated.  

So here we are - life goes on and we are keeping busy, ticking off things on the home front "to do" list and appreciating the difference each job makes.  Strange how making progress on things we had put off doing for so long can make you feel positive, especially when it was all doom and gloom a couple of months ago. Goodness knows how long this will last, but we are certainly making the most of it!

Steve still can't get enthusiastic about taking part in another clinical trial at present, even though more are now recruiting (or will be soon).  After the debilitating side effects of the two unsuccessful trials last year, he just can't stomach the thought of going through it all again. Only time will tell if that feeling will change....We shall see.

For now it's back to paint charts, carpet samples, furniture browsing and putting more social dates on the calendar.  It may be "Blue Monday" but we are happy!

Take care in the cold, wind and snow, all those in the northern hemisphere!

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