Sunday, 1 February 2009

The last few rounds

So we had some good news recently. In short, Christine's cancer seems to be on the run, at least for the moment. When she was first diagnosed, we were devastated to learn that we the docs weren't looking to cure it, rather to manage it as a "chronic disease". Since then, the various chemo drugs have taken their toll. She's tired, her body aches, she's nauseous and has little appetite.

The change from the original Taxol drug to the newer Paclitaxel NAD has given us a couple of breaks. Firstly, the Paclitxel does seem to produce less neuropathy, so the feeling in her feet and toes is returning. Secondly, it turns out that the new drug gives a better response rate, which is good for the long-term outlook.

All this means that Christine can carry on her ballet lessons. In fact (and I'm proud of her for this!) she recently did some pointe work for the first time. Given that this was a long-term dream for her, see why I'm so proud of the acheivement, not just that she did it, but did it partway through a long and arduous chemotherapy regime. It may not sound like much, but from the look on her face it was worth every moment and every penny, by gum.

After thanking Doctors Dollbaum and Laptalo, I'd like to reserve a moment of silence for the insurance company. Silence, because I lack the words to describe how I feel about you, Anthem Healthcare. Thank you for picking up the Paclitxel, no thanks for declining the anti-nausea drug. Having a wife whose belly is in turmoil is no picnic, and taking a swipe at her quality of life over a few dollars strikes me as pretty bloody poor. They say that the new regime causes less nausea. Well, they are right, but the statistics show that 3% of patients suffer extreme nausea and vomiting. Guess what? Christine is in that 3%, you unspeakable gits.

Speaking of quality of life, I find myself struggling at this point. Goodness knows how Christine is coping, fraught with worries about the future, and with a body poised on the brink of falling apart from the inside. All I have to do is make a few meals, juice her now and again, and try to keep her spirits up. God knows I try, and God knows I fail all too often.

I'm angry. Angry that the damned cancer came back, angry over the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies squeezing every penny for their shareholders. Angry that we have to fight for better treatment, angry that we fail. Angry at myself for failing to cope, angry that I'm probably not looking after myself as I should, which means that ultimately, I'm not best able to look after my family.

I find myself snapping at them, snarling at the world outside, being grouchy and grumpy. And inevitably, we fight. Every weekend, Christine tells me. I have to take her word for this, as I'm not tracking. Only today really exists. Yesterday is a ghost of time, tomorrow is so uncertain.

Finally, I'm sorry. Sorry I rant. Sorry I shout. Sorry I vent and want to throw things. Sorry I'm not caring as I feel I should.


loulou said...

hello my dear. do you need an ear? xxx

Information Waitress said...

One week later I read this. I am sorry that this is all so hard. Sorry that you are angry and like you mad about the whole thing. I am glad that you vent, a good thing I believe. Do take care of yourself. I know it is platitudes but really you have to take care of yourself if for no other reason than you need to stay strong to take care of Chris and Tessie. But also you my dear. I won't say it is harder to be on the outside of these things but I will bet it is equally as hard for all sorts of complex reasons. Rant, rave, yell, throw things and then go do something to make yourself feel better.