In the beginning of this section Randy has met his pancreatuc cancer head-on, asking for the most difficult treatments available. He seems to be in remission. But at a follow-up visit, he discovers not only has he relapsed but has extensive metastases. If you have dealt with relapse or metastasis, how did it feel? How did you deal with it?
I used to think that if the cancer came back that I wouldn’t be able to cope, that I would curl up in the fetal position and cease to function, that I would get stuck in what I call ‘the dark side’. And I did just that for awhile. But that gets boring and miserable after awhile, so eventually I just put one foot in front of another and continued to move forward.
In ‘The Man in the Convertible” he relates how difficult it is to judge just how well you are doing emotionally when you are in the midst of your struggle with cancer. How did you make that determination?
Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t become a basket case during this journey. (Well… I have had my days…). But for the most part I think I am dealing with it better than did some earlier non-life threatening crises in my life. Is age and maturity a factor? Am I in denial? I'm not sure why I am coping as well as I am and sometimes feel like I'm holding my breath, waiting for the crash.
In “Jai” Randy relates that his wife kept her own journal and that it helped her deal with all those “little” issues that can nag a relationship. Has your partner tried a journal? or something else that helped? She also found that having conversations with other caregivers helped. Does reading other blogs help your spouse or just make it more difficult?
I don’t think my family members write journals and I’m not sure how much they have talked to others about it. I did arrange for my mother to meet with a social worker that I know at the cancer clinic and I think that was very helpful. My son tells me he doesn’t read my blog often because he finds it better to deal with it in chunks, rather than on a daily basis. Living in Europe (I’m in Ottawa and he’s in the Netherlands) has made it especially difficult for him.
I know that my mom has a hard time reading my blog at times and I’m pretty certain that my family does not read other blogs. Being relatively private people, I suspect my family is a bit mystified at why I would choose to share my feelings in such a public forum, but they support me in dealing with things in a way that is most helpful to me.