Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Cancer Journey - Week 11

Tomorrow, Kathy starts her next round of chemotherapy - 12 weeks of Taxol administered every Friday at noon.

As with Adriamycin/Cytoxan (AC), we fear the unknown - what symptoms will it bring, how will it affect day to day and long term physical well being (since Taxol causes numbness that can be permanent).      Kathy reacted very well to AC so we're hopeful that she'll tolerate Taxol.

The process of treating breast cancer - 20 weeks of chemotherapy followed by surgery and radiation, can be wearing.   Of course, we are focused on optimizing the therapy, but at the same time we've needed a long term goal that brings joy and passion for the future, minimizing the day to day challenges of treatment.

Together we've been looking for a farm property, discussing the plans/projects ahead, and preparing for our next stage of life.   We moved to Massachusetts 16 years ago and raised our daughter in a family neighborhood, nearby to great public schools and a local library.   We believe that we have at least 2 more phases in our lives.  Phase 1 - 15 years as empty nesters at the peak of our mental and physical capabilities, ensuring the health of our parents, and supporting our daughter's early career.   Phase 2 - 15 years as retirees (and possible grandparents), continuing to write, lecture, and consult but without a "9 to 5" office schedule.

In Phase 1,  we're eager to take on the physical labor and mental creativity needed to expand our production of organic vegetables and raise a few chickens/alpaca/llama/goats/sheep.

The quest for a farm property has provided us with enough positive activity to energize our nights and weekends.

Plans and projects for the future are important to sustain optimism, but they're also essential to grow and develop our 30+ year relationship.

As noted in the recent New York Times article Love and Death, having plans and projects for the future is what sustains love beyond the physical attraction, infatuation, and novelty of the initial relationship.

Our farm vision has provided that.   To keep patients and families psychologically healthy during cancer treatment it's really important to focus on life after cancer and not let the cancer rule your life.    As you'll hear in the new few weeks, we found our farm and now we're planning our move there by May, ensuring that the end of chemotherapy marks the beginning of our new life chapter together.


Lumpy said...

J, If you're looking at farms, don't neglect Upstate NY. The Finger Lakes have incredible soil, and a farming mecca for the Amish.

Anonymous said...

Been on that journey and am out the other side, best of luck

Anonymous said...

My trip to Quebec City to celebrate the end of treatment was the sweetest 3 day weekend away. I had planned it all through chemo, surgery and XRT. There is "the other side", and you'll enjoy your dreams that much more.

Jim Graham said...

My wife and I started the farm life at phase 1.5 of our life. I am close to 40 with young children. We live in South West New Hampshire and it is a good location with lots of school options. It has made a huge improvement in our families health and well being. You will not regret the move to the country and the clarity it brings and quite nights together will build strength and happiness with you and the Mrs.
Best of luck in your journey and recovery