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Notes from the Sick Bay

Cancer journey co-pilot's log star date 7.3.23. The patient continues to struggle. Intense discomfort from excessive fluid retention, known as "third spacing," presents itself in abdominal pressure, breathing difficulties, coughing, and acute emotional distress. This, in addition to catheterization, side effects of various drugs, psychological medical trauma, symptoms of post-sepsis, generalized muscular weakness, the ravages of neglected surgical wound care, and cancer itself, perpetuates an increasingly challenging uphill battle for Kara in tasks such as ostomy care and maxi pad maintenance due to wound seepage that appears to have intensified since her return to immunotherapy last Friday.

Personal comment:

If cancer is a war, which I do not believe, then this is what it truly looks like. It is ugly, it is bloody, it is a valley of screams and tears. No one wins this war...not even those who emerge cancer-free. Survivorship is the result of staging, perseverance, fortunate timing, and science based on the willingness of others to experiment with drugs that may not save their lives, but may save others who come after them. Unfortunately, in our society, we measure survivorship by tumors, not by people. And there are so many people still pinned down in the valley, begging the skies to let them come them lucky to be alive if they reach that point. This has been our experience for four years now, although the valley has gotten deeper and darker still. Nevertheless...the objective remains unchanged: Move to safety. Feel the sun on our faces. Life without horror. Or less of it, anyway. We have felt it before. May we feel it again.

May you find what is truly important in life, as I have.

Until next time.

--Her husband, Charles

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Sending as much good energy as I can your way.


Mark Thibodeau
Mark Thibodeau
Jul 04, 2023

Oh, man… as someone who has been held up in hospital with mass fluid retention since February 15, having since then lost an astonishing 190 lbs in (mostly) water weight (with another 200 lbs to go)… I feel this latest mission log down to my waterlogged bones. I pray for the both of us, because based on the concept that rarity engenders value, I am guessing that God values an atheist’s prayers above those of true believers.

Replying to

Damn, Mark, I'm sorry to hear this! But I'm glad you're losing water weight and, yes, it's funny, I've been thinking a lot about the idea that "rarity engenders value" without having the good words for it. I pray for us, too. --Charles

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