Somedays I just want to tell Mark to move on without me. And this particular day was one of those days. It's around six weeks since my re-diagnosis and we have a check up with my oncologist. He has since moved me onto a drug called Debrafenib, same treatment, different brand, just with less and more manageable side effects. We were all reluctant to change given the Vemurafenib was working, but he tells me this way I'll cope better with the full dosage that I need to be on. Mark and I make our way into the meeting as optimistic as we can be. I know Mark hates these meetings because my oncologist can't give anything away, he has to be straight and quite often it's not what we what to hear, I'm so desperate to protect him from the reality, I sometimes go alone.
We sit down and already I can't feel a tension in the room, my oncologist has to make us aware this type of drug won't last forever, and in some people it only lasts up to 6 months. Following that we only have access to the first immunotherapy treatment with the low response rate, which as a professional, he doesn't rate at all and to move me to this would put me in a dangerous position. Suddenly the hope we'd gained from my scans began to fade. We are told there is a newer Immunotherapy treatment, which has a much better response rate, but at the moment it is only available privately at a high cost. I can see Marks struggle to accept this and we are told we just have to wait and see what happens. Six months? It was stuck in my head and I know it was stuck in his.
We left the appointment feeling pretty hopeless with a review in a month, with not many options we just have to hope this drug does the job and lasts for as long as it can; thats longer than the sixth month average.
We are sat in the car driving home and the conversation no young couple should have to have, happens. The one where we discuss how this affects our future, health, starting a family.
My heart sinks, I already know that my reoccurrence has put the brakes on a lot of things for us as a couple and I know Mark knows this too, that this conversation is just his way of processing the situation as we drive away from Oncology. It his future, our future.
"Yes I know, I responded, but we are a long way from that; lets just get on track first and we can go from there. I'm not any use to a child if I'm not well." I try to gain some perspective.
The problem with this conversation is that it goes far beyond actually being able to make and have a child, something which is hard enough as it is for any 'normal' couple but actually making sure you are around to bring that child up, to help and watch them grow without cancer getting in the way. We have a long journey ahead and right now we can't guarantee any of this is possible.
But still he wants to be with me, he's in it and this is just one of the problems we have to face. I try not to think about it too much, if I can get pregnant, have a child and even be around to watch it grow. Let's hope so. Even if we adopt or similar for now we'll tell ourselves it will happen and we will get the chance.