The first time I ever heard that word applied to me was just yesterday. Dan called my oncologist to ask if he thought he (Dan) might be able to return to work since I'm feeling so much better. The doc said, sure, she's in remission now and you should enjoy it for as long as you can. Dan will go back to work sometime soon, maybe even next week.
I really only thought the word remission was used by doctors when all signs of cancer were gone, but based on how the oncologist is using, it applies when a patient has a dramatic response to treatment and the cancer has receded by quite a bit, since this is what mine has done. I will have another CT scan in about two months unless I become sick and/or symptomatic that cancer has started growing again. And the doc said I will have this treatment for at least 6 months before we review whether I can stop, unless I stop tolerating the treatment (e.g, liver problems develop or some other unpleasant side effect starts bothering me).
I had another chemo treatment yesterday and I feel ok today... just tired but not sick. I'm grateful to not feel nauseated because that effects everything I try to do--eat, sleep, entertain myself. It is a big gift to be free of that feeling.
I was reading my old blog entries and I realized I haven't written much about Dan and how well he has taken care of me since I got sick. He has been very supportive and has taken over literally every household job and chore, along with 99% of all baby care for Jennifer. I'm feeling better now so I wish he would let me do a little more but he is really against it until I am completely healed and free of all cancer. I told him that may never happen but he really feels strongly about it.
I think he doesn't realize how unique he is in the world of husbands. Lots of marriages end when a catastrophic illness effects one of the spouses. Especially when the illness disfigures one of the spouses so dramatically, the way mine has. After all, I 've lost a breast, lost my hair twice and had some rather dramatic weight loss that makes my figure look completely different. He just can't imagine how someone's husband just wouldn't step up to the plate and take care of things.
I really worry that I'm not taking care of him the way he needs to be taken care of. Romantically, our marriage has really suffered during my illness, and its very noticeable to both of us since we used to be so connected when it came to that.
Dan feels like my illness has put him and us into a holding pattern. I don't really feel that way because I can't afford to do that. I just have to keep going and trying to do the things I like to do or things I feel compelled to do before I die. I wish Dan would do the same, at least as far as professional ambitions. He really wants to change jobs and I've done my best to encourage him to do that even though I still have a lot of treatment ahead. He needs to be happy with how he spends his day, and since most of us work 8hrs or more each day, I think its crucial for people to find work that is satisfying, at least to some degree. I know we'd be able to work out whatever situation we had if his new job required an odd schedule. Dan is interested in going back to being a Federal Firefighter and that schedule would be a challenge for us but I think we could work it out. With firefighting, the schedule is very condensed but it would leave him about 14 days each month where he wasn't working. When he was working, the shifts would be 24hrs long, with some days worked consecutively. That would mean that I would have to take care of the girls on my own some days but I think I'm feeling good enough to do that. I just don't know how I convince Dan that he needs to pursue any and all jobs that look interesting to him and then let us worry about how to make it work. I don't want to be the one that holds him back--that equals resentment in a marriage, something we could surely do with less of, given all the other things that Dan sacrifices to help me while I'm dealing with a chronic illness like breast cancer.