Truth be told, we're all dying.
It just happens to be that my wife has been dying faster than I have for the past several years. In some ways, after speaking with doctors and nurses in those first horribly confusing and frightening weeks, it felt like she suddenly had a "best if used by" sticker on her. And yet, Martha recently hit the five year anniversary of her melanoma diagnosis.
She's done an excellent job taking a glance back while continuing to move forward. Here's a tidbit from her post:
It’s been five years, seven surgeries, six biopsies, ten treatment approaches, nine chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs, tumors come and gone through treatment and surgery and two years of dealing with brain tumors and their aftermath. We’ve come a long way, baby! - M
We have come a long way. Long enough to joke that she's «past her expiration date». Thankfully, with her incredibly fortunate access to a clinical trial (the recently approved Keytruda) a little over a year ago, things are looking really, really promising for her at this point. She's still got tumor load, but most of it is stable or even shrinking. Most importantly, she hasn't had any new growth in over a year — and she's survived longer than she was supposed to.
It’s an interesting stage. There is a lot of talk in the cancer world about survivorship and dealing with life after cancer. It’s a wonderful problem to have. But the flames of cancer have left us dirty and reshaped. Rebuilding is going to be a new kind of work. It’s daunting. We don’t have a blueprint yet. We are interrupted by the work of the embers still smouldering. We are weary. We are hopeful. We have survived. Five years.
I can't wait to do the next five years with this woman.