Last Wednesday we had our doctor’s visit in Madison that would begin Linda’s third cycle of chemo treatment. As we went to the hospital we were imagining the possibility that the doctor would tell us, “Chemo is going great, and we think just three cycles will be sufficient.” This understanding is not completely unfounded in that the doctor told us at our initial meeting with him that Linda would have 3 or 4 cycles, and we would determine how many as we went. Since he has told us at each appointment that all of her blood tests were showing great improvement, we drew the conclusion that it was possible that we could only go three cycles.
Instead, as we sat in our appointment with our doctor, he casually said something along the lines of, “We’re looking at possibly six cycles of chemo.” That was our first “uuuhh? moment.” Linda breathed a heavy, “six.” The doctor picked up on her response and offered more clarification. “Well maybe it will only be four, but potentially up to six.” We both wanted to ask for some clarification, but for the moment left it alone. The moment for needed clarification came shortly after as he continued to unfold for us his plans for Linda following these cycles of chemo.
I get it. Fighting multiple myeloma is no easy task . . . but this just wasn’t what we had come to understand and expect. Maybe our doctor’s bedside manner involves communicating the process in chunks as we go, or maybe he’s just too generic in his descriptions for my taste, or maybe he doesn’t realize what he told us before . . . I’m not exactly sure, and to some degree it doesn’t really matter. This information is just a little different than we were thinking.
We were under the rather naive impression that we would fight the cancer, and then maybe a few years later we would likely have to do another treatment of some kind. It was at this point that the doctor told us, “oh no! If you don’t do anything, the cancer will come back within months.” Now that just stinks, right?
We had come to think, “Madison, it’s been nice, but we’re off and won’t be back for a while.” Now, we’re like, “Hey Madison, can we call that really nice couch in the east wing of the hospital? We’ll be here a while.” We had also come to think, “Linda’s made it this far and kept her hair, maybe she’ll be able to avert that annoyance.” Now we’re, “Hey, that looks like a good wig magazine!”
So then, Linda will have at least two more cycles of chemo, potentially three or four. At that point we will have to consider options for her long term care.
If you are wondering how we are doing . . . we are doing well. The passage in James continues to come to my mind as I consider what God has chosen to allow into our life . . .
James 1:2–4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.