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Monday, 1 July 2013

April 2013: One Day at a Time

Suzie's chemo was now past the half-way mark and recent blood tests were giving us cause to be optimistic that it was having the desired effect on the progression of the cancer. The symptoms of the MSA had become significantly worse when her chemo had first begun, but the deterioration appeared to have stabilised. We knew it was 'uncharted water' as far as the combination of her two illnesses was concerned, in particular with regard to what effect, if any, one was impacting on the other. MSA is such a rare illness that most medical professionals may come across it only once or twice in their whole career. Add into the equation the apparently equally rare form of cancer and the result is that there are far more questions than answers. There just didn't seem to be any documentation that I could find of any other case where these two illnesses had occurred simultaneously in the same patient.
It was possible that the chemo could be causing some sensory and mobility problems, in which case we could be forgiven for being optimistic that there might be some degree of improvement when the chemo had finished. Equally it was possible that all of the decline we'd seen was purely down to the progression of the MSA and, as such, would continue unabated.
Only time would tell.

 
We were coping from day to day with the physical restrictions and demands of Suzie's illness but she was having a much harder time coping on an emotional level. Every day she would get very upset and distressed about the many things she can no longer do, and extremely fearful about what the future may hold. The progression of MSA is devastating and relentless, and Suzie was finding it very difficult not to dwell on the challenges that she knew we would have to face as the illness progressed. She constantly felt extremely vulnerable, partly due to all that was happening to her body, over which she had no control, and partly because her reduced mobility meant she knew she would be unable to 'escape' in an emergency. This vulnerability was manifesting itself in extreme anxiety over all sorts of perceived dangers, real or otherwise.

We were getting out and about as much as we could and enjoying the beautiful surroundings where we live. We were also able to enjoy the hospitality of many friends who had invited us to their homes for coffee. We had a lovely home and we tried, whenever possible, to focus on our many blessings rather than our daunting and exhausting challenges.
 
'Suzie said we needed to go shopping
for a few basic essentials!!'
Above all there were three main things that kept us going....
Our faith in a loving God who was in control of our situation;
The love and support of our wonderful family and friends;
And our sense of humour!
Yes, even between the most dire and dismal of days that we had to face, there were times when we could still find things to laugh about.