Wednesday, December 17, 2008

About Joseph's Illness

Every so often, particularly this time of year I notice, I get entranced with seeking out the latest research on Joseph's type of cancer. The very names ot the types of chemotherapy take me back...words we tossed around as if they were a part of every family's diet....etoposide, Mitox, Ara-C, myeloablasion, CNS involvement, prognostic indicator, Inversion 16. It is odd to feel the tinge of nostalgia within these awful memories. I continue to wonder what we could have done differently, and continue to come up empty handed when I do get to wondering.

In any case, I just found this report from The Oncologist. It was accepted for publication exactly one week after Joseph's death and appears to be the latest in research on his type of cancer. It is written in a combination of medical and layman's terms and may be a difficult read, but if you have ever wondered about his illness and what we were facing (and KNEW we were facing), particularly after he relapsed less than one year since he had gotten into remission, this outlines it all in black and white.

It is both affirming, that the odds were vastly stacked against us (he had between a 10 and 40% chance of survival depending on a number of factors), that we did everything we could (I see nothing in all my research that we did not try, ever), that he was every bit as sick as I thought (because I often wonder if I invited this tragedy into our lives by being so afraid). He had very poor odds. He was extremely ill. We did everything that is currently known in the medical field to do. It calms my shaking soul to know these things. Its so natural to want to blame someone, and when there is no one, to want to blame myself. Accepting that there was literally nothing more to be done...has been difficult. I am learning to.

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