One year ago today the bottom fell out of our world and we fell into that place known as cancer land.
On 19 July 2013, we finally discovered that Mathew was in terrible agony because there was a tumour in his spine. The MRI begrudgingly ordered by the ER doctor, as a last-ditch attempt to convince us that Mathew’s pain was simply psychosomatic and nothing was wrong with our son, revealed the ugly truth.
There are no words or pictures that could possibly convey those moments when the Radiologist first broke the news about the tumour. The look he and his staff gave me told me how bad it was. John and I both knew it would be cancer after we listened to the doctor tell us it was serious and needed to be followed up immediately.
The Oncologist suggested it would take a year for Mathew to get through treatment. I looked at her with pity thinking there was no way 13 rounds of chemotherapy and some radiation would take a year. What did I know? Nothing, as it turned out. Today marks the first anniversary of finding the tumour and treatment just ended. We didn’t know that 13 rounds of treatment and 28 doses of radiation PLUS infections, low blood counts, transfusions, feeding tube insertion, etc, would stretch what seemed like a short time into a full year.
The year was hell. The learning curve is so steep that you simply can’t grasp everything quickly enough to sail through the days and nights comfortable in your knowledge and ability to handle any crisis. Too much was learned through trial and error, knowledge gained AFTER the fact and not when it was particularly useful. Worst of all was the heartbreak and strength woven together to present to your beloved child as he looked to you to help him get through the worst days.
Cancer has not treated Mathew well nor has the treatment to eradicate it from his body. He has suffered. Oh, has he suffered. Any of you following this blog has read first-hand the price paid to follow the regime that is Mathew’s best chance of getting his life back. The chemo drugs and radiation were harsh and wreaked havoc on him. He endured many blood and platelet transfusions, infections, a feeding tube and a liquid diet and minor surgeries. We met and made new friends and received the kindness and support from family and friends in the manner of companionship, babysitting and meals. If not for their kindness just surviving would have been so much harder.
This last year taught us the kind of fear that grabs your heart and twists it into excruciating pain. We didn’t care about turning 50 in May; those kinds of milestones are non events as we kept vigil over our son. The long, rough winter drained into a long, wet spring as treatment marched on, one day at a time. I aged much more than a year and I am tired, so very tired.
But here we are one year later. Treatment is done.
Now we wait for tests and results that will reveal if the cancer is gone. Mathew is feeling good and has no pain.
Today we enjoy watching Mathew recover.
Tomorrow can wait.