It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but more that I have just been too lazy to bother. The silence on the blog just means that things have been steadily chugging along.
We have had some big positives in the Tremaine household though. I spent five days in beautiful and sunny Florida. Escaping the cold and spending time with my mom was a Godsend. I appreciate so much that my parents said to me about a month ago, “You need a break. Where do you want to go?” I said simply, “Somewhere with sun and water.”
There was lots of sun.
There were snacks by the pool.
There was a visit to say hi to Old Gramps and Grams.
Most of all, there was time to rest, relax and regroup.
When I got home, we opened to mail and discovered some big news for Samantha. She was accepted into the President’s Leadership Program at CNU. We are all thrilled for her. The program sounds like such an amazing opportunity and the bit of scholarship money is nice too.
And last but not least, today Dave found out his CEA (tumor marker) is down to 8. We are quietly celebrating its drop in the right direction and are so hopeful for a good scan mid-month. We are encouraged that the chemo is indeed still working. Dave had chemo this week but this was just the boost he needed to get through the yucky side effects.
Hi, this is Robyn Tremaine. I am calling in regard to a bill I received from you all.
Okay. Let me look up your bill. Can I get the account number please?
click, click, clackety, clack
Yes, your insurance company says they don’t cover this type of service.
What?! Oh, I know what the problem is. We have a new insurance member number.
Okay. What is the new number? Group number? That is what we have on file.
(heart racing, sweating, am i having a heart attack?) uh…..em…..
click, click, clackety, clack
Oh. It looks like we just recently updated your insurance information.
Erg. Does that mean you are resubmitting the bill?
Yes. You are all set. You can throw that bill away.
I think we live and breathe by the scans. We hold our breath anticipating each one. We let out a big sigh of relief when it is “not bad” news, or we let out half an exhalation when it is “okay” news. Truthfully, I am not sure there has been one scan when I have rejoiced over the results. There have been many times when I wish I could share others optimism that the scan wasn’t too bad or was pretty good news. I guess realistically I want it all. I want the scan result to say the cancer has been stopped dead in its tracks. Or a tumor that was there last month has disappeared completely.
You would think reviewing scan results would be fairly straightforward. The doctor gives us the Spark Notes version of the report. At the end of the appointment, we get a copy to take home. It is at this point that the confusion sets in. I sat down and looked at Dave’s last five scans. Dave had expressed concern to me about tumors being referenced in his latest scan that he didn’t remember. It seems that not all reports are created equal. Some give no measurements but are more like summaries. Some give lots of measurements and usually say “which previously measured” or “as previously noted”. So it becomes unclear which tumors are where and what has increased and by how much. It is more uncertainty in a land of confusion. I feel like I need to draw a picture and mark all the information we have on it. Maybe I will.
I have had a slight change in mindset recently. Two times recently I have said out loud “Dave is living with cancer and will be living with cancer for the rest of his life.” Please don’t interpret this as me giving up hope. I HOPE that the “rest of his life” will be a long long time. I HOPE that one of these chemo drugs will stop the tumors dead in their tracks. But for whatever reason, I need to acknowledge the reality that he has multiple tumors in his lungs and liver that are growing and that he is not a candidate for surgery – the only cure for colon cancer. He is fighting hard every single day to battle down these cancer cells while still working, attending school events and being an incredible dad and supportive husband. He is stronger and tougher than anyone I know. I feel this strong need right now to identify and honor what he is doing.