We have come to the finish line. As of today, Dennis is done with treatment for the brain tumor. This afternoon he will have his last dose of medication. I don’t know how we got here. When this all started last June, the end of treatment seemed a long way off and now we are there. In all likelihood, this is NOT the end of the battle as the probability of this coming back is extremely high – almost 100% - but for now, it is the end, at least of this stage in our lives.
He will have an MRI late in the day on Monday and on Tuesday we will meet with the doctor to get results and discuss what happens from this point forward. We know he will have MRIs every eight weeks.
Now we enter a new normal. How long this one will last is yet to be determined. There are many decisions to be made in the days ahead and also unanswered questions. We have often said we won’t know what long-term affects the tumor, surgery and treatment had on Dennis until he is off of all medications for awhile. In the weeks ahead we will finally be getting the answer to those questions. Some of the questions we have are:
- Will the fatigue subside?
- Will the short-term memory problems go away?
- Will the word finding/substitutions be better?
From what we know, we expect some of the fatigue to be better but it may not completely go away. Frankly, just thinking can be exhausting at times and the more complex or rapid the conversations, the harder this is. A common long-term side effect of brain radiation is short-term memory problems so this may be permanent. Since the speech center of the brain is where the tumor was located, the word finding difficulties may also remain. In spite of these things, Dennis is doing very well considering what he has been through. Yes, these problems may impact him the rest of his life and keep him from working again but only time will tell us the whole picture.
We are thankful for all of the people who have helped us over the last nine months. The medical staff at the UW Hospital and Clinics have been wonderful. We are blessed to live so close to such an awesome cancer clinic. Our family and friends have lifted us up and helped us over and over again. Whether it was a word of encouragement when we were discouraged, prayers for us, a meal when I was exhausted, gift cards to go out, monetary gifts, numerous rides to appointments for Dennis, breakfast/lunch dates for Dennis, help with our yard work, babysitting with Brooke…we are indeed blessed to have such an awesome group of family and friends. We can’t begin to say thank you. We are keeping his Lots-A-Helping Hands sight up because he will still need rides to his MRI appointments and any other appointments that may come up. If you aren’t part of the sight, there is a link in the right column that you can use to join the group. When we have needs, we post them there.
We continue to rest in the care of our loving heavenly Father. We know He has a plan in all of this. We don’t know what is coming next but we know we can trust Him to care for us along the road. Keep praying that Dennis will be one of the very few long-term survivors of this cancer.