Today marks the halfway mark of Ryan’s 9 weeks of chemotherapy – we are 4 1/2 weeks in. From here on, there is less remaining than what we have already experienced (if all goes according to plan).
Which should be a good thing. Which should give us cause for celebration.
But I don’t want to celebrate. Every day is a battle. Every day is hard. Every day is challenging. And ever day is oh so draining. It’s like running a marathon and we’ve reached the halfway mark and instead of that surge of energy and sense of accomplishment that will push us to the finish line, all I can think is “Seriously? We’re only halfway there? We have to do this for another 4.5 weeks?”
This past week was a tough one. Ryan struggled with his 5 days of chemo which I’ve named “ugly chemo week”. During ugly chemo week, Ryan has chemo for 4-5 hours a day, Monday to Friday. This round, he was proactive about taking heartburn medication before the side effects started, in the hopes to overcome it before it overcame him. Still by the end of the week, he was sick and very, very tired. The cumulative effect of 4 weeks of chemo have now overtaken him and there are some symptoms that he just can’t seem to fight off anymore. Fatigue is number one, followed by heartburn and nausea, tinnitus and just a general feeling of being unwell. Add that to living in a house with 3 kids aged 10 and under, with a 2-year-old waking up during the night due to a cold of his own, it makes for a difficult household. By Saturday, we were all tired, grumpy and pretty miserable.
This weekend was Thanksgiving. And we do have so much to give thanks for. We are thankful for friends and family who have all stepped up in a big way with prayers, meals, treats for the kids, helping take care of the kids, the volunteers who help with driving Ryan to and from the hospital, the cleaning service arranged by family and a close friend, and assistance in so many ways from the practical to the financial. And we are thankful that no matter how hard this journey is that we are on, we have a Father who is there for us and will see us through, carry us through, and be there every step of the way, even if we are uncertain where the next step of the journey will lead us.
So yes, we are so grateful and so thankful. And we will keep trudging on with one foot in front of the other as we look forward to crossing off milestones, the next one being the completion of round 2 of chemo, with 1 more round to go.
And I wish I could verbalize and tell you what we need but, to be honest, we’re in survival mode and are just trying to make it through the day. One day at a time. We have so many offers and well meaning words of “if you need anything, just let me know”. But it’s hard to really ask when the situation presents itself. What do we need? We just don’t know.
We just need to get through this.
And we will. But the “in between” is tough. Seeing Ryan lose hair, weight, colour in his face – it’s tough. Also watching him struggle to remember things or keep his quick wit as his mind becomes foggy from “chemo brain” is tough. Not knowing or being able to plan for a month from now, two months from now, is tough. Will Ryan go back to landscaping? Will he be able to start university courses in January – and will we even be able to afford it now as our income has dropped and our savings are diminishing?
I asked Ryan the other day if I could get him something. A glass of water? A snack? And he replied “A trip to the Caribbean”. OK – not exactly the answer I thought he would give. And not exactly in the budget.
But it would be nice to have a finish line to look forward to. A tangible, real goal to strive towards.
And we will probably do something to celebrate once this is all said and done. Even if it’s just a night out, with some of the stress now behind us, as we try to plan our next step in this life.
And in the meantime, we’ll continue to look to Him, our Father, as He shelters us under His wings and carries us through this.
We will keep moving forward in this unplanned journey. We remain thankful to all of you for your continued love and support as we continue to put one foot in front of the other, sometimes when we can’t even see the path in front of us. But we know there is a Light guiding our way, even if we can’t see the next step. We will hold onto His hand and walk forward in faith.