24 January 2017

Chemo: Racing Death

A Chemotherapy Drug
Cancer sucks. What is debatable is whether Chemo sucks more. All cancers will kill you, some faster than others, but the outcome is inevitable. Right now, the best cancer killer, the various drugs that are classified as chemotherapy, if taken long enough, will also kill you.

That's a disturbing thought.

Modern cancer "treatment" is really a race: will the Chemo kill the cancer before it kills you. Doctors place a limit on how many chemo infusions you can receive before your body is no longer able to safely recover from the treatments. Even then, Chemo can kill you before treatments end. If you finish, there are long term side effects that can be expected, provided Chemo has destroyed the cancer.

My wife has Hodgkin's Lymphoma and began a 24 week treatment program where she is given 4 different Chemotherapy drugs every other week. She's on week 3 and already the physical impacts on her health are readily apparent.

Watching the sudden deterioration of her health is painful. That's what is most difficult about this journey. We are all given an allotted period of time to live on Earth. Each day steadily ticks off one of our 26,000 days that we can expect to experience... and normally, we don't really notice it's passage until too late.

Cancer though... I'm watching my wife and the change from day 12,409 to 12,410 was tangible. That shouldn't happen... and this was before Chemo began.

She is currently living day 12,465 (roughly) and the pain she experiences, pain that I can't fix, pain that is only going to get worse, amplified with pain that comes from the emotional distress caused by the sudden physical deterioration being experienced... it's heart breaking.

Doxorubicin is one of the "Class A, Hazardous" drugs my wife receives and the one responsible for her eventual hair loss. It can only be administered by hand, with a close eye on how her body reacts. If it touches the skin, it can cause severe damage if not promptly washed away. 
This is the race she is running: will her body stay alive long enough for the cancer to be eradicated before the chemo kills her.

I will choose joy today because: we have friends and family praying for her survival and our family's ability to carry on during this journey; we are not alone; I am able to provide her some comfort; the pain caused is allowing us to grow closer; we will get to live day 12,466 together; death is not the end.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Sara - you would laugh if you saw us right now. We're eBay stalking... watching those stupid nintendo systems get bid up at the last minute. Strangely addicting :). Hope you all are doing great!

  2. Rob, that is a sobering analysis. I've learned in the last year that those of us watching and praying can't begin to understand the physical and emotional battle you all are fighting. I do know though that because of Christ you can confidently choose joy and fight from a position of hope. As for us, we will also choose Joy and choose to fight and pray with you.

    1. Thanks so much, Hinnerk. I'm hopeful that this is just a brief period that we will be able to look back on and remember the journey and the growth experienced. No matter what eventually happens, I trust God knows best, even if it hurts now.