Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quarterly inspection

Since Dan has seemingly forgotten that he has 1) cancer and 2) a cancer blog, it falls to me to give y’all the latest update:

Zilch. Nada. No movement on the perimeter, no zips in the wire.

Dan went to visit with Dr. G last Friday, following our night up with feverish, whimpering Anna and some mysterious abdominal pain. (Anna’s fine now, her ailment chalked up to “fever of unknown origin.”)

In fact, Dan’s so healthy that Dr. G advised him that if it weren’t for the darned portacath, he could cut his oncologist appointments down to every six months. (Portacath is still supposed to be flushed every 6-8 weeks; we’re looking for a local source to handle this so he won’t have to drive all the way to Annapolis.)

Dr. G continues to echo our own sentiments that treatment at this stage is unnecessary and overly invasive. He did the usual exam of outwardly accessible lymph nodes (read: the groin clutch, the underarm tickle, the neck check), and all is well. For my part, I’m glad there’s a regular groin check going on. Reminds me that it’s time to make my own appointment.

Dan has made a cancer buddy at work, a co-worker who’s currently being treated for non-Hodgkins and prostate cancer. He’s getting Rituxan and Fludarabine, and yes, he has lost most of his hair. Apparently, the prostate cancer is the less serious of the two, but this shines a light on my own real fears about Dan’s diagnosis: what about the other cancers? What happens when some other illness catches up with him? Yes, Dan is stupidly healthy (Strong like bull, smart like tractor, as Dan says.) But still: what if?

I think it’s this “what if” that’s kept us from making the decision to remove the portacath. It’s become a talisman of defiance . . . yeah, you bitch, you may have caught him, but we got you, too, and any time he needs treatment, BAM! We just plug him in. I know a lot of cancer patients attach extreme significance to the portacath and the removal of the portacath being a resumption of their lives without cancer.

But we don’t have the same luxury. There is no life without cancer for Dan. There’s just . . . life.