So there we were, preparing for the third leg of the triathlon, radiation therapy. Linda had already met her radio oncologist a few times before and this Friday she had an appointment to get marked up so they could target the right areas. Left breast and underarm. They can get pretty precise in their targeting but not perfect. The choices were lose 10% of left lung capacity or 10% of the heart. I don't think it was actually a choice. With Linda's lungs able to take her on a 13 mile run, a 10% loss would not even be noticeable.
Linda called me at the office saying the first radiation treatment was being postponed. When I asked her why, she said the radiation doc informed her that Dr. H wanted to do more chemo. I immediately felt that deep ache in my stomach all over again. What the hell was going on? Linda has a tendency to not ask questions of her doctor (which is one reason why I attend all her appointments with her...except this one of course). This was a Friday afternoon and I went into full panic mode. I must of called Texas Oncology 5 times trying to get through to Dr H. without any luck. I left message after message with her nurse and receptionist. Linda had a scattering of details from the radiation oncologist about what the new chemo cocktail would be, but she "misremembered" the names. I spent Friday night chasing down the drug names on the internet to hopefully gain some insight into why she was getting more chemo. With the drug names being wrong, it took me to places discussing distant metastases, liver cancer and other shit that just made the knot in my stomach tighter. I try to discourage Linda from getting on the net and googling stuff because she invariably finds some story or statistic that makes her sad and depressed. I've tried to explain to her that she is a unique case and all the stats in the world mean nothing and all the stories have no bearing on her ultimate recovery. Of course she ignores me anyways, reads the stats and the stories and gets depressed...and then I do.
The thing that sucked is that Linda and I started running again. No, not 13 miles yet, but 1 mile. An incredibly difficult mile for her but one that felt great. At this point, she almost had full range of motion of her arm and her peach fuzz hair was just starting to grow back. After 6 months of crap, things were finally starting to look up.
Maybe we were too eager to 'be done' with this and put it behind us. Maybe we just wanted our old life back, a life not dictated by tri-weekly poisonings with 'up weeks' and 'down weeks'. Maybe I should have gone to church after all. Whatever it was, it would be a long 48 hours before we would learn why Dr H. wanted to continue chemotherapy.