A difficult week, discussing decisions about future treatment. We met with the radiation specialist and discussed possible side effects of radiation, including heart attack and lung damage. Diana went home and started stewing. When she gets into a good stew, she shuts down her brain--no new information is allowed in to disrupt the course of her stew. The whole process wasn't helped by getting fact sheets on the chemotherapy drugs (birth defects, hair loss, nausea, etc.). She stayed alternated periods of exertion (walking for three miles, etc.) with exhausted collapse in bed.
I'm learning how to penetrate the stew and inject an idea or two. I'm still not very good at it, but the stew had loosened by the time we saw the oncologist again yesterday. He is very good, and got her to do what seemed (to me, at least) to be the obvious course of action. She'll have six months of chemotherapy, broken in the middle by 7 weeks of radiation. Seems like a long time, but she should be able to carry on a pretty normal life (hair thinning, but rarely is there hair loss, for example). We can travel if we organize it around the chemo schedule. She needs to worry about infection right after the chemo. And she needs to cut down on her vitamins while doing the radiation, especially E and C. She looks great, and when she isn't stewing is back to near her former personality.
All in all, it seems like it won't be too bad. We saw the infusion room--seems pleasant enough. People bring books or watch TV. We will need to decide whether we can put up with the stress of a home improvement project or not. I think we can, but I suspect Diana won't think so until she's had a treatment or two...
Of course, this all comes at a high-stress time at work (product release approaching). Not to mention income taxes, etc. Blech! But we'll get through it. There have been a lot of offers of help, and we'll start taking advantage of some of them.
The community orchestra she had played with until the diagnosis sent a beautiful fruit basket and a nice note saying they missed her. She has such trouble taking in this generosity. But the fruit is wonderful, and she appreciates actions and tangible gifts more than honeyed words (a holdover, I think, from her alcoholic ex husband, a lawyer with a gift for words, but few other discernable gifts).
And my task in all of this--let go of judgment. Of her, of her ex husband, of the boys, and especially of myself. Just let it happen, and stay present. So simple, and so hard.
Thank you for reading.