Ho ho no

Ho ho no

We started this blog because we wanted to keep friends apprised of the situation and to someday hashtag it to help others. I’d say this post is dedicated to those searching for what it’s like to go through aggressive chemoradiation or be the caregiver. 

Brian has felt awful since the 22nd. After his fifth treatment the 23rd, he retired to bed where he has primarily stayed since. He downgraded from awful to miserable with a constant low-grade fever. He’s wanted to be alone, not even with the dogs (they want to jump on him or play). I think this is the chemo side effects. We will find out if his bad chemo days are four through six, as it appears now. Chemotherapy is Friday this week. We also see his radiation doctor tomorrow after treatment, so maybe we can hash some of these symptoms out and get them under control.

Back to Christmas. Both of our kids are with their other parent today, so December 24 was supposed to be our Christmas Spectacular. I had planned on cooking, family dining, then opening gifts. Playing a game after that sounded like a good plan. All low key. 

But that was before Miserable Brian. 

Christmas Eve I saw the new Star Wars movie with Rylan, a long standing tradition of ours. I also got Brian grocery supplies, drew a bath, refilled his glass with chilled water regularly, brought and removed meals, kept the dogs away, took his temperature and put my cold hands on his head for some relief among other things. Most of the rest of the time I was alone, trying to figure out how to do our first holiday as a blended family and looking at our nine foot Christmas tree, realizing how much work it’s going to be to put away. 

Our festivities ended up being a tbd gift opening session, with Brian attempting to muster the energy, but his body unwilling to cooperate. There would be no family meal. No games. Simply hope that Brian would appear. 

Finally, around 7:30, he emerged and said ‘let’s do this now,’ so I rushed to get the kids out of their rooms and hastily distributed glitter-wrapped packages. Part way through, Brian was waning and needed the pace picked up, so I had multiple people opening presents at once. Gifts that would’ve been funny in a different situation were passed over to open the next. It was rushed. A blur. But checked off the Holiday list. 

We knocked it out in less than 10 minutes and Brian promptly retired to his quarters, exhausted. 

With the hurriedness came a living room that was a gift wrap explosion. The kids helped me pick up before dashing off to their respective rooms. I decided to start the laundry Brian had sorted over the weekend but never felt well enough to do. He loathes the idea of me doing laundry. I have very loose rules compared to Brian’s regiment about loads and folding, so when I told him what I was doing and he had no comment, I was glad I did.

It gave me free reign to take over daily duties that were his. I think that’s where the new marriage thing comes into play, not knowing certain boundaries. I continued on, cleaning the kitchen while watching Harry Potter for the 100th time. All the while hearing my husband’s unrelenting hack and cough, trying to rid himself of something that won’t budge that easily. 

None of this is said to garner sympathy or elicit assistance; I’m simply being real. This is what cancer looks like. This is the life of a caregiver. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than right here, right now.

These last few days, Brian has looked like Cancer’s prey, and we’ve only hit day five of 30. However, his low-grade fever finally broke overnight and he went back to awful from miserable. Yay! Yet the reality is that his two day hiatus from treatment is over, and we have two radiations and a chemo over the next 48 hours.  

I’ve always known treatment would break my husband down in order to build him back up. Now I have a glimpse of what it looks like. 

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