Pick a Side Effect Day..

Many of you saw the picture of Mike on Facebook eating breakfast on Sunday. Yes.. it is great news.. He has been eating again..However, Cancer never lets you rest for long. His stomach has just been behaving like a raging ex lover.He has been battling non stop stomach gas and diarrhea for months,and now that he is eating it is worse, if that is even possible. He was so miserable yesterday he just decided not to eat any food. He is still getting the 3000 calories from the liquid diet so his nutrition is covered.However, it is so demoralizing not to be able to eat,after going without food for 4.5 months.
The latest side effect from the Keytruda is swollen feet,legs,and ankles.His whole body seems bloated.The dr doesn’t want to give him anything for it until she sees him on Friday. She suggested propping his feet,laying off salt,and drinking more water.All things he was already trying. This appears to be a known side effect,but it seems like every 2 weeks there is a different side effect from this drug that is saving his life.
We are just people.We are not professionals,we are just trying to do the best we can with the situation we have been given.Some days i deal with it better than I do other days.I think it is the lack of sleep.It starts to get to you after awhile.Or maybe it is the weight of the grief never letting up for long? On the positive side..I will tell you that I am kinder after dealing with cancer.I am more emotional,and I am more empathetic to other people and what they may be dealing with in their lives.I am less tolerant of bull shit. I am not keeping score of how much you check on Mike,but I am really aware of the people who are so self absorbed that they never do.Believe me, these people have been moved to the outside,not that I have to worry about them finding out because they aren’t reading this blog,they aren’t able to see much outside of themselves.Conversely,I know the people who are praying for us,thinking of us,even when they aren’t in contact with us.Who you are inside,has become very apparent to me.
I try to live my life being grateful of every day we get.I try now to take a minute, and thank God for his grace,and for giving us more time together.Some days it is hard.On the outside I try to keep smiling,and keep going.On the inside I am running down the street screaming in despair “Someone take this pain from Mike away.. Someone help us!”
If you ever hear of some lunatic totally losing it.. you will know that my inside self has finally taken over.lol
I feel guilty even expressing these feelings,because we are lucky to have been given this time together.The doctor gave Mike a 2 year prognosis in August of 2013,and it has been 2 years allready!He gave us 6-12 mos last fall,and we are still going strong…I am grateful for this time,and believe me i am reminded every day.Which brings me to my next question. How to address it when people ask me how Mike is doing. Should I say he is alive,which I didn’t think would be the case 2 months ago.Should I say he is getting better?A couple days ago, he told me if he didn’t know he was getting better, he would think he was getting worse from how miserable he is. Sometimes, I say he is doing good,sometimes I tell people how it really is,and sometimes I just say fine.I think i will continue to just take it on a case by case basis.When you see someone who is dealing with this terrible disease.. just know that what they are likely dealing with is way worse than what they tell you..
Hopefully, the Dr will be able to address the sleeplessness,and the stomach issues,and the feet swelling at this appointment,and Mike will be able to get some enjoyment from food again.We will keep going..maybe tonite he will get the rest his body needs.. maybe his stomach will magically start working again with no protest.. I know one thing- I will keep going for this man.I will be his support,his partner,and his advocate.Even if I am a total lunatic..



  1. My sweet cousin Anne. i wish i could take away some of this pain. even a little bit. i feel so helpless. i continue to pray and hope for both of you to have a good nights rest, comfort, happiness and healing. you are an angel and we love you.

  2. Anne, I celebrate every millimeter forward with you and Mike, just as my heart aches for the misery caused by both the disease and the cure. It would be so much easier to bear the slings and arrows of both if you were guaranteed the positive outcome we are all praying for. As you well know, in order to kill off the cancer cells, the chemo violently assaults the rest of the body as well. Hellish! When people ask how Mike is doing, perhaps say that the two of you are fighting together every day for the best possible outcome, taking it one day at a time, and living the strength and power of an amazing love story. Or you could say, “why don’t you come by and ask Mike.”
    I continue to stream love, prayers and strong, healing mountain mountain energy to you both from Montana.

  3. You are a wonderful, strong woman. You and Mike are lucky to have each other. We are praying for you.

  4. Anne, you should become a writer! You have a remarkable way with words. I look forward to hearing from you about Mike…about how he is doing and how you are coping with this terrible disease. You play the hand you’re dealt! Make each day you have together a little bit special because you never know when the ride will be over. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there!

  5. Dear Anne:
    Sharing your story has been incredibly brave. Please know I think if you often and send caring thoughts to you and your Mike. Holding you close in my heart.

  6. Continued prayers for you both. My husband just finished chemo and today starts 6 weeks of radiation and chemo pills. Cancer is a tough thing. So grateful you have each other.

    • Ginna, Thank you for taking the time when you are obviously fighting this fight as well.Good luck to you and your husband.I hope he doesn’t experience too bad of side effects.

  7. Anne, it is for sure you are a very strong woman. Everyone has their moments that they would like to scream or cry and that’s okay, God put you and Mike together to fight this battle because he knew you could handle it better than any one else. Your love ,encouragement you give him everyday means everything.Prayers to Mike you and your family.

  8. Annie, your updates are theraputic for me. I couldn’t even image Mike without you, you’re tenacity for his well being is commendable! I pray for hope and relaxing days to guide you through this amazing journey you have taken on, with one of the most amazing man I have personally ever met!

  9. Anne and Mike, you continue yo be in my nightly prayers. I hope and pray the magic drug works and things turn around..you tell deserve a happy fun life together now that you found each other. Blessings

  10. What ever time we have on this planet and if we live long enough we will experience tragedy. Suffering and pain if not a daily experience will catch up to all of us in the end. Mike and his life and willingness to fight for each day reminds me a an experience I had back I. 1988. I visited a lepersy outpost in central Africa. Each day the people that inhabited it were one day closer to an inevitable outcome. Their pain and discomfort was beyond my imagination. Yet each day they took time to sing and praise for what little of life was afforded to them for the hope of what lay beyond. Since then no matter what comes my way be it physical / emotional/ physiological or spiritual discomfort I am willing to face it with hope in my heart and eyes wide open. Live on Michael and enjoy each breath.

  11. Anne, you amaze me with your ability to put it all into words. I think of you both often, and pray Mike gets what he needs. Your strength is shining through, and your words of putting people on the outside really hit home. You find out who can take a moment to care when things in your life are a continuous mess.
    We are lucky, our journey is easier than the one you and mike are traveling. I will keep on praying, and thinking of you both. Safe travels.

  12. Anne, your post today made me smile and cry. The reason for crying is obvious. The man you love is suffering. Watching someone you love go through pain, knowing that there isn’t anything you can do to take it away, is one of the most devastating and debilitating feelings there are. But it made me smile because of the strength that I read behind your words. Your insides are in turmoil, but you push through because Mike needs you. He needs you to be there for him, to be strong, to cry with him, to lift him up, to care for him, and to cheer for him. It appears that God knew (as He always does) what He was doing when He gave you to Mike. Thank you, for loving him so much. For being an example to all of us who are wives and may one day be faced with the same choices. God bless you both. Love you!

  13. you’re no lunatic, you’r e in love – no more need be said

  14. I wish to say that I think of you and Mike often. And you are right, there are events in life that change you completely and that no one else understands. One thing I have learned is that we can be strong beyond what seems humanly possible. Hugs to you both.

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