Instability – The New Normal

Guest Blog from Ian

The last couple months have flown by.  Faster than previous months.  We went on vacation for the first week of July.  It was a great family trip with lots of wonderful memories.  Since getting back Anna has been dealing with either a new treatment, symptom change, or an emergency visit.  It has been really difficult.  I wouldn’t call it fatigue.  I would refer to it more as a stage 4 reality check.  Lately, I refer to Anna’s cancer as terminal cancer.  Not because I don’t have hope for Anna to live long and pain free, but more because I find it easier for people to understand what she is going through.  The terms “Stage 4” and “metastatic” require too much explanation.

Sadly, these last couple months have taken a toll on Anna.  She had pronounced cognitive issues as a result of the combined whole brain radiation and the high dose of steroids used to control swelling.  It was the first time Anna wasn’t able to communicate, make decisions, and advocate for herself.  Strangely, after spending 18 hours a day with Anna for the week she was in the hospital, it was the first time I felt alone.  She has been getting better, but in many ways I can’t “unsee” this new extreme place cancer cradled my wife.  She sleeps more than ever, it takes all her energy for her to focus on simple tasks. She hasn’t been blogging as a result of low energy and her unreliable shaking hands.

Like all bumps on the road leading to the cliff, we recover and keep moving.  We start to plan our life under these new conditions or restrictions in monthly increments.  Instability is our normal.  A few months ago, Anna was invited to attend an Advanced Breast Cancer conference in Portugal.  The movie “I am Anna” produced by ReThink Breast Cancer is being featured at the conference as part of the patient advocacy discussions.  The conference connect’s patient advocates, advocacy organizations, doctors, and drug companies outlining the recent advances in treating metastatic breast cancer.  I knew Anna was really excited to attend, but I could tell she was worried cancer was going to get in the way.

I booked the trip.  We are going to make a stop in Paris for a couple nights followed by some time in Lisbon.  Anna has never been to Europe before and I am hopeful that this trip will breathe the feeling of “living” into her.  After all she has endured the last few months and forced to give up over the last three years she deserves the feeling of something good.

5 replies »

  1. my prayers and positive vibes are going your way. I hope Anna is able to enjoy the trip to Europe. I am sad for all of you having to go through this…I wish cancer’s ass would get kicked to the curb for good.

  2. My heart goes out to you both. I wish you strength. Remember you only have to be brave one moment at a time and you sound like you can do that. I hope your trip is or will become a breath of healing fresh air for both of you. Be well.

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