We are back to earth with a thump. Yesterday we met with Dr. Dan our oncologist to review where things stood. He was pleased with the news from the colonoscopy but did not over react. I asked him with the surgery, if the cancer was removed and did not come back could that be considered cured. Unfortunately neither Karen nor I were ready for his response.
Dr Dan reminded us that Karen's disease is incurable. There is a chance it will not come back after surgery but it is very small. She may have "no evidence of disease" but will not be considered cured until going 5 years without a recurrence. She may have a recurrence and chemo may keep it in check but ultimately the cancer will grow resistant to chemo.
Dan's words were "Karen will most likely die from this disease". He shared that when K walked in to his office in April he did not expect her to be alive by now. That she has reached the point with surgery as an option is tremendous. The goal is to turn it into a chronic condition that will be treated over many years.
He was simply doing his job and in as caring a way possible but this is just tough to hear. We walked out shell shocked and I took the rest of the day off work to be with my family.
Today we have regrouped. We are focused on
a) non-recurrence. We have heard many stories of non-recurrence with stage IV.
b) That recurrences if they happen will be burned through RFA or kept in check by chemo.
c) that in the next few years new drugs will be approved that will provide a cure.
Perhaps I am in denial but everything in me just "feels" like Karen will not have a recurrence. I am obviously not in a good position to be objective but I cannot picture an alternative and I am usually good at envisioning potential outcomes from a given situation.
Is this where human strength gives up and faith takes over?
Karen goes again for chemo #11 on Monday.