Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moving Forward

One More Week
As of today, Dennis has one week left of radiation treatments.  We will be so glad when these are done.  From the beginning, these have been difficult for Dennis.  They have produced a lot of fatigue.  This should subside over the weeks following radiation although fatigue is also a side effect of the chemo he is on but at least one of the causes will be removed.  He also has said that the treatments themselves are “freaky”.  On Monday they changed the radiation treatments to focus on a smaller area but with more intensity. 
On Thursday he will complete the first cycle of the trial drug program.  He has four weeks off then.  Actually, as of next week Tuesday, he will have four weeks off of all treatments before starting the next round in mid-September.  All he will have to do during this time is weekly blood tests.  It will be a nice break.
****When Dennis ends treatments next week, he is stuck at home all day since he is unable to drive.  Although at this point he struggles with fatigue and can’t do anything for long periods of time, he certainly loves to get out of the house.  If you are home during the day and would like to stop by, go out for a meal or run an errand, he would love to go with you.  If he isn’t feeling up to going, he’ll tell you but try another time. 
When Your World Gets Turned Upside Down
We’ve had enough time now to have some of the dust settle from our world being turned upside down by Dennis diagnosis.  By no means does that mean that we are coasting through all of the changes in our lives but the shock of it is starting to be less overwhelming.  A new normal begins to settle in but is not a comfortable normal.  We are learning, and we hope growing, through this transition.  Here are some of the things we are learning:
It’s ok to ask for help even if it is with something we “should” be able to do ourselves.  It often isn’t anything directly related to Dennis’ diagnosis that overwhelms us but rather the accumulation of small things that seem like mountains. 
Related to that is accepting the help that is offered.  Warning – if you offer to help, we will most likely say yes. 
I can’t meet all of Dennis’ needs.  Dennis has been blessed by so many of you who have called, sent notes, offered rides or stopped by.  Having other people to talk to about all that is going on is a blessing.
Words have a lot of impact.  Those of you who encourage us are a source of blessing in our lives.  We need to hear the positives and hopeful things you share with us. 
Live today but with eternity in view.  Each day is precious.  Whatever the circumstances, we want to savor them and not be worried or fretting about what tomorrow may bring.  How we invest each day matters for eternity but the cares of our earthly future are in the hands of our loving heavenly Father.
I can’t fix this.  I am a fixer by nature.  If there is a problem, how can I make it better?  What is the plan?  God is stretching me more and more in the area of trusting and waiting.  For a fixer, this is a hard lesson. 
Although our view of our world was turned upside down, it did not surprise God.  He loves us and has allowed this to enter our lives at this time.  It is hard to understand at times but there is a peace in knowing He is still in control, still loves us and never changes.
Prayer Requests
  • Strength for this final week of treatments. The fatigue is overwhelming at points.
  • Good weather on Sat., August 18.  We have a large group of friends coming over in the morning to get our yard work caught up.
  • Healing.  Please continue to pray for Dennis complete healing.
  • Keep Brooke in your prayers too as she starts school in a few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Ellen,

    When I read your posts I am always struck by the similarities to conversations I've had with my sister as she has gone through her treatment for GBM, particularly the term "new normal". Today's post also struck me because you mentioned that you are a fixer and you can't fix this. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Kris when she told me "you can't fix this, big brother". Up until then I hadn't really realized that I, too, am a fixer and have always tried to help her fix problems in her life. So instead of being a fixer I had to become a listener, supporter and helper. Fixing isn't always about solving the problem. Sometimes it is about making the problem easier to live with.

    When I think of the term "new normal" and what it really means I've come to the conclusion that it is really a constant state of change and uncertainty. There will be plenty of ups and downs in your new normal, and at times when Dennis is doing particularly well it will almost feel like the "old normal" again. After Kris finished her full course of radiation and chemo she was able to drive herself on short trips to the store and did volunteer work at her church. Unfortunately, since the new normal is all about change and uncertainty that is no longer the case. I hope you don't find this discouraging as this is not my intent. I just want to share our experiences in the hope that you will be better prepared for the tough road you are now following.

    From what I've read in your posts it seems as though you are handling this very well. Cherish each day for the gift it is and continue to ask for help when you need it. Also be sure to take some time for yourself along the way and not feel guilty about it. Whether it is just taking an hour to read a book or going on a walk, be sure to take care of yourself and find ways to take small breaks from the new normal. It will help you maintain the energy you will need when Dennis and Brooke need you the most.