Easter was a melancholy day here despite nice weather and a day off work. Gregg has been dealing with some depression and anxiety, which is common in people who have finished cancer treatment. Depression is also a relatively common side effect of a drug he still has to take, a nerve pain blocker. The oncologist wants him to continue taking it for awhile yet, as he still has pain and odd sensations (peripheral neuropathy) in his surgery site a full year after finishing treatment. Chemotherapy is rough. Especially when it's administered six weeks after a lung has been removed!
I thought, when all the treatments were over and Gregg got a clean bill of health, that life would go right back to normal. How wrong I was! I had no idea what an emotional roller coaster we were still in for. The fear of the cancer coming back that we both live with is the worst part. And although every three month follow up with the oncologist so far has resulted in a glowing bill of health, the appointments are constant reminders that all it will take is for one small shadow to show up on a scan, or for one of the blood tests to come back with an abnormal result, and we'd be plunged right back into the nightmare that last year was.
Knowing how grim lung cancer normally is doesn't help, either. A man that went to church with my mom was diagnosed about two weeks after Gregg--and he died last month. When she told me about that, it was like getting stabbed in the heart. Of course, I know that the statistics for lung cancer are downright dismal compared to other forms. The pulmonary specialist (a close personal friend of ours that we are lucky to have) has assured us that Gregg is doing wonderfully well, and if he continues to have great checkups for another year or two that he will likely be considered cured. His current good health is almost miraculous, and I'm grateful beyond words for it, but one's sense of confidence about the future can never be fully restored after the kind of ordeal we've been through. The best you can do is take things one day at a time and learn to get on with your life despite the ever-present nagging fear. But there are days and weeks when that's easier said than done, and this week has been one of the rough ones.