Cycle 6 | In-patient and Radiation

family life with cancer

I’ve never run a marathon, but Carey has run several.  In terms of distance, Carey is at about the ten-mile marker of his treatment marathon. 

He started radiation with this cycle and that has actually been surprisingly easy.  It’s uncomfortable for him in the machine, but no pain or residual effects thus far, which is great.  His in-patient chemo is always tough.  He misses the boys (kids are not allowed to visit the cancer floor).  And it’s just not ideal to be stuck in a hospital for five days with people in and out of your room, being asked repetitive questions, having vitals taken, etc.  If you’ve stayed a few days in a hospital, you know the drill. 

But he’s home now and feeling a little better with each day.

In 2013 Carey signed up to run a marathon in the DC area.  The trail was along the Potomac River, which was really beautiful.  Carey had told me he aimed to finish the race in about four hours.  So at the three and half hour point Eli and I headed over to find a place along the final stretch to cheer him on through the finish line.  We waited, but no Carey.  I figured he may have hurt something and needed to walk, but at the six hour mark I started to worry.  Luckily, I had his bib number from a picture I snapped.  I asked one of the race workers if he had either finished the race and we’d somehow missed him, or if he had been taken to a first aid station.  I was told he was still in the race.  So we continued to wait and finally spotted him.  He was so exhausted.  I’m going to have to get his permission to share this with you all...

Ok, permission granted.

Carey didn’t realize that he hadn’t signed up for a typical road marathon.  The race he ran was called the North Face Endurance Challenge.  It consisted of running on tough terrain, crossing streams, wooded areas, steep inclines, and other challenging environmental factors.  In short, it was way harder than he anticipated.  He hadn’t trained properly and he said it was one of the worst things he’s ever done.  It hurt, and it sucked, and it was incredibly difficult, but he found strength he didn't know he had. 

At the start of Carey's treatment, we were under the impression that with time his body would sort of get used to the chemo and things would start to get easier.  Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite.  Chemo has a cumulative effect – with each treatment his body gets weaker and it’s a bit more difficult for him to recover.  Truly, we were unprepared and unaware of what this race had in store.  From my perspective the “battle” with cancer isn’t with the actual disease.  The battle lies in getting up each day, putting one foot in front of the other, continuing to press forward and dig deep for strength.  

I’m so thankful my husband is willing to fight and endure this race.   

Six treatments down, eleven more to go.  Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

dc marathon
Carey and Eli before the North Face Endurance Challenge - June, 2013
six month old baby boy carver
Happy baby Carver at six months
Eli painting at the goddard school
Eli painting at pre school!
daddy playing with the boys
my boys on a Saturday morning
making brownies with Grandma
Granny passing on her amazing baking skills!
mixing brownie batter with Grandma

reading in his study
starting a new book

Several people have been looking out for Carey during his medical retirement process.  We can't thank you all enough.  He received his orders and even though his line number isn't until June, the Air Force has come through for our family yet again; he will be retired as a Tech Sgt. as of February 26.  Leaving the military will be a bittersweet transition.  Carey has accomplished a great deal during his seven years of service, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan, being named the Air Force Weather Airman of the Year in 2010, and two Army Commendation Medals.  We are incredibly proud of him.
Eli helped color daddy's new Tech stripe =)