The last two weeks were nearly our lowest point, even worse than the week we spent evacuated from our home and living in hotel rooms because of Hurricane Isaac. Lana’s radiation sessions had ended, but the radiation keeps working after that. Her chemo sessions were over too, but she was so dehydrated and low on potassium for various reasons that we were going every two or three days to get her fluid infusions, which generally lasted four or more hours. She was sick constantly, often spitting up bile every 15 to 20 minutes. She wasn’t eating because she couldn’t swallow, and everything either tasted foul to her, or had no taste whatsoever. She drank a lot of fluids but couldn’t even hold those down half the time. Her voice was barely a whisper.
Because I was back full time at school, she was generally sleeping on the couch, partially so that she wouldn’t wake me up every few minutes when she got up. I still heard her, though. And each time she was sick it drove daggers in me. Neither of us was getting much sleep, and I could tell that Lana just constantly felt like hell. Her normally bright and expressive eyes were so sad that I’m sure my own eyes reflected the same.
When you go through weeks with no joy, you begin to wonder if there’ll ever be joy again, or even just some peace of mind. I begged for peace of mind. There was none to be had.
Lana was so beaten down last week that they ended up doing fluid infusions on both Thursday and Friday. But by the weekend we began to see some rays of light through the darkness. The difficulty in swallowing eased. Her chemo rash finally cleared up. Most importantly, she started to ‘feel’ a little bit better, and she began to eat again, little bites of things at first, but then a bit more. She told me how ‘good’ orange juice and Sprite was, and it brought a smile to my face and my heart. How long had it been since anything tasted good to her? Months!
Yesterday, for the first time since this hell began, she went out and took a few photos of our neighborhood, and this morning she was up early and went to the Flatwoods park near our house and took more photos. For a woman who had simply stopped having the energy for such things, this felt like a major turning point to me. Life is coming back. The bleakness is resolving a bit. Even as we move into the world’s autumn, it feels like Lana and I are reaching for spring.
We return to the doctor on October 15th and at that point we will schedule her next full body scan. We are in something of a holding pattern until then. But, in the meantime, I’m sitting on our deck to write this, the first time I’ve spent more than a minute on the deck since summer began. The air is cool. I see a Chickadee cracking seeds. I see Cardinals at the feeders. For the first time in a long time, there is a hint of a smile in my heart.