I've noticed lately that a lot of people have been asking us how Kol is doing, which probably means that we haven't been posting enough updates, or that people have stopped reading the blog. Oops. The big problem is that it feels like there really hasn't been a lot of "news" about Kolbjorn, at least for us - we've definitely moved into the "new normal", where regular chemo treatments and doctors visits are just a part of regular life and not newsworthy. He's just started the 5th of 6 planned cycles of chemotherapy, and has been handling it extremely well, just as he's handled all the other treatments - as we've said to many people, if it weren't for his bald head you would be hard pressed to notice any effects from either the cancer or the treatment. He's currently back under "house arrest" while his immune system is low from the chemo, and if past experience is any guide, he should have another week or so before he gets to go out in public again. He's also been gaining weight, and now weighs more than he did when he went in for surgery - he's still underweight, but this is definitely a good sign.
The end of chemo is now in sight - the sixth (and hopefully) final cycle is set to start mid-February, and then he should have another MRI scan in March. After that? We don't know for sure. A lot will depend on the results of the MRI. We talked with Kol's oncologist a bit about this last week, and it sounds like if the tumor is gone, then it's simple - MRI scans every three months for the next couple years, then every six months for a while after that, then yearly for a while more. If the tumor isn't gone, then things are a little more unsure. There could be consultations with a neurosurgeon regarding whether or not to try to go back in for what's left. There may be alternative therapies to be considered. But until we see the results of the next MRI, it's all up in the air. We do know that we will get a bit of a break from treatments at least for a while. We should get a chance to escape for a family trip to Arizona in April, and possibly do a bigger family trip this summer.
So that's it for status. Now for milestones.
Unless I've messed up the math, this should be the 100th post on this blog. It's hard to believe that we've posted that much since we started the blog in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty waiting for Kolbjorn to get out of surgery back at the end of May 2010. This got me thinking about milestones and anniversaries, and I realized that 2011 will see a number of significant milestones and anniversaries that our family will be observing this coming year:
- Annika will celebrate her first birthday in a few weeks.
- Julianna will become a teenager in a few weeks.
- Kolbjorn's sixth and (hopefully) final cycle of chemo will start next month.
- I will become ancient and decrepit (40 years old, that is) in a few months. Strangely enough, when my dear wife passed that milestone she simply became more beautiful, elegant and wise - funny how that works.
- We will observe the one-year anniversary of Kolbjorn's initial diagnosis and hospitalization in late May.
- Birgitte will (hopefully) have been seizure-free for a year in July.