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The possibility of home and other wild hopes

Cancer journey co-pilot's log star date 6.22.23.

Last week, the day after my birthday, when I watched the EMTs transfer Kara from our living room to the ambulance blinking in the street, I thought: "This is it. This is her last day in our house. I'm never going to see her come through the door ever again."

But it turns out that, after ten nightmarish days of hospitalization--barring any unexpected downturns--Kara will come through the door out of the system. One part of the system, anyway.

The part with the beeps and screams and pokes and thuds and "Code Grays" and dry, stuffy air and cavernous 4 a.m. Dilaudid darkness and ice-cold lasagna sitting on the overbed table with iodized salt packets, sippy cups, and bowling-pin formations of nutritional shakes.

This all feels cyclical to me.

In the spring of 2019, Kara felt miserable. By the time she consulted with her first surgeon (whom she fired later), she was in so much pain that you could tell no one in the room thought she would make it past six months. Our oncologist assured us she could shrink the tumors considerably, but we knew this would be at the cost of chemotherapy effects for a nebulous goal with no cure.

Then in the spring of 2021, Kara underwent so many abscess surgeries that a board of tumor specialists recommended she go into hospice. For another ten months, our oncologist helped her navigate the complications of various mixed-bag therapies after the initial chemotherapy ultimately failed to accommodate her tolerance.

And yet, after all that rigmarole and drama, here we are.

Many questions remain, of course. Like...where do we go from here?

And could it be that we are simply too stupid to know when to quit? Depends on one's point of view, doesn't it? From the beginning, Kara has referred to herself as the Lloyd Christmas of cancer patients. Paraphrasing from the movie Dumb and Dumber:

"So, doc, what are the odds of me going into remission?"

"Oh, I'd say a million to one, at the very best."

"So you're saying I have a chance!!!"

The thing is, many people, medical and non-medical, tend to project onto Kara their own ideas of how much they would be willing to endure for a statistically unlikely outcome. Thankfully, her advocates (not to mention Kara herself) fire back: "Either shut up and help this person or stop being a nuisance. You don't know her." Not even I really fully know her, and I started dating Kara thirty-four years ago. That's what makes this part of our journey through health and ill health together so (using my wife's word for it)...interesting.

All I know right now is that very soon, hopefully tomorrow, Kara will come through our front door again and we can, with a great deal of help, put the pieces of our lives back into whatever arrangement suits us best.

Into the Unknown, a place we never left.

Thank you for following us there.

Until next time.

--Her husband, Charles

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Blessings to you for loving and appreciating this crazy, beautiful life so much. Sending prayers and love to you both. Charles, thank you for keeping us all updated!!

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