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Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

9 Weeks, 6 Days

WGarth Callaghan

Most days I don't have any idea how my body is responding to cancer treatment. Sure, I know all too well the side effects that are brought on from the meds, but I truly haven't the faintest idea if the meds are working or not. 

I have a competitive spirit. I love to win. I don't play for the fun of it. I expect to see results in this fight. My oncologist has tried to temper my expectations. "This is an ultra-marathon, not a sprint." 

Each day I take 4 pills. 

Most days I wait for a sign that won't come. 

But every 9 weeks and six days, I get a report. This report is full of medical jargon. I read it word for word. I don't think I could write the report, but I can interpret it and I know what the words mean. I am looking for something like, "There has been significant improvement" or "no longer evident". 

My summer MRI showed a "slight decrease" in the two lesions. It was definitely not the report that I wanted nor expected. (Previous Post) After such marked improvement in the first phase of the treatment, I was devastated. 

My last MRI was a few days ago. I sat with one of my doctors a couple of days later. However, I already had a copy of the report. I had already cried. I stood in the other room and didn't know how I could take a few steps to my wife, Lissa, and tell her these results. 

"...has not significantly changed since the previous examination." 

I needed a few moments to absorb this information. Once I finished drying my face, I thanked God. The cancer hadn't grown. It hadn't spread. This was good news, just not the news I needed or wanted. 

So, the fight continues. Thursday was not unlike most of my Thursdays since February. I ate dinner, waited two hours, and took my meds. An hour later I ate a snack and promptly fell asleep. I was tired. 

I am tired. I know that fatigue has set in as a side effect, but the length of this fight has also worn me down. I'm going to bed most days shortly after dinner. I struggle to get up in time to make Emma's lunch. 

My medical team has suggested a short break from the meds every three weeks. I'll take the meds for 18 days then take a 3 day break. Guess what! This is my break week. Man, I need it. I need a little respite from the side effects. 

Tomorrow is a new day, a day that I'll be ready for battle. 

Next Update: 9 weeks, 6 days. 

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. ~Eleanor Roosevelt