Jul 17 2012 in Chris's Blog by Chris
As we continue to move forward with his aftercare, there is amazement on every side of the aisle. Our last report from the primary care doctor was terrific. She, like everyone else involved in his care, is utterly amazed at the progress that ‘The Little One’ has made since this ordeal started almost a year ago. I have been reluctant to blog lately, because quite frankly, I am amazed (and quite busy) too.
When ‘The Little One’ was diagnosed with cancer in late July of 2011, we started six weeks worth of treatments almost immediately. The outcome looked bleak back then, and in fact the doctors gave us little hope for the future when the diagnosis came in. “Three, maybe four months” said the oncologist back in September of 2011.
It was at that time I made the conscious decision to withhold that information from ‘The Little One’ while telling the doctor ‘Let’s wait and see how he responds to treatments.’ I never shared that conversation with ‘The Little One’ until after our last appointment with his primary care doctor just a few weeks ago. (If we are doing the math, that last appointment was in June; I was told in August of 2011 that he had three to four months. We are almost to a year since the first treatments….) Of course, I consulted with the oncologist on the decision not to share this information with ‘The Little One’, and he agreed. “Let see how the treatments go and let him live his life to the fullest!” He has exceeded all expectations, and now his doctors want to do a case study on him.
To withhold this information is a difficult judgment call that caregivers, spouses, doctors have to make on a daily basis. I made this decision based on one simple fact. ‘The Little One’ knew that he had cancer, and he knew that it was serious; I also knew that he was going to do anything he possibly could to beat the diagnosis. Why train the mind to think something is going to happen, when we really do not know when is going to happen?
This week, ‘The Little One’ will visit his oncologist for a quarterly check-up. I am confident that the oncologist will be pleased and say again….”Bern, you look great” which ‘The Little One will reply, “ Yes, I’ve got a new embalmer!” Laughter is the best medicine, even in its most trying times. What is left of the tumor is dormant and for all intent and purposes, his cancer is in remission.
From the first day, we have taken this day by day. What else is there to do? Every case is different. My decision to withhold this information from “The Little One” was not an easy decision to make. After revealing this decision to him, he was glad not to know… even though he did know.
In a sad, but beautiful twist of fate, ‘The Little One’s lifelong friend Jill has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Like our first report, Jill’s first report has us all concerned. What is beautiful about this is how ‘The Little One’ is able to transfer his experience of this insidious disease to Jill, to encourage her, to console her, to simply be there for her. This gift of encouragement is one of the best gifts that one can give to a friend.
Remember…We might have cancer…But cancer does not have us.
As you have noticed, we have taken a break from Blogging on ‘The Purple Jacket’ for the past few weeks. As I transition into a new job and into a new academic program at Gonzaga University, “The Purple Jacket” will be taking on a new look too. We will continue to provide you updates on ‘The Little One’ as this blog is really dedicated to him. Yet in future weeks, we will expand the content of the blog to discuss the effects of caregiving on the caregiver. What is often overlooked in caregiving is the importance of the health of the caregiver. Personally, I have had to take a long hard look at this issue, and have come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with this issue is to blog about it. In essence, there is a real purple jacket. I just can’t fit into it any longer. We have to explore the issue of what it means to be a healthy caregiver!