The fifth attempt at finding a chemo that will work has been started, and Richard spent nine days in Barrow. It's a lovely hospital in a gorgeous place, but when it's over a hundred miles each time to visit him, and he was there an extra six days because there was no room to have him back in Lancaster - well, you can imagine how frustrating that was!
As with all the other chemotherapies that are supposed to knock a normal human off their feet, my husband is tolerating this one very well, with no sickness and just a bit of tiredness, even when he's needed a blood transfusion to bring his platelet count back up.
His tumours have been described as "treatment resistant", but I think another name for them should be "Scholes tumours". Just like my man, these things have progressed rapidly, barely halted at any obstacle in their way, dodged heavy artillery thrown at them, and found a way to regroup and keep going no matter how many defeats they've faced. He has kept going through all of it, no matter how much pain or discomfort or heavy pain relief he's been on, and has kept on doing jobs round the house, taking the kids on adventures, creating new concoctions in the kitchen, all up until the day his legs stopped working three weeks ago and he's been bed bound ever since. It's the first thing in his life that has literally stopped him with no way to get around it.
There has been no improvement in them yet. He can slightly move his legs from side to side, and has sensation in them even though it doesn't feel like normal. So far the doctors have wanted him to try resting them first to see if that will make a difference, and then we've been focusing on coming through the chemo and the ugly side-effects it has on his body, and next we are going to pursue a plan for getting him out of that bed. Even if it's just into a chair, so he can be wheeled around - that would be an improvement and would release him from hospital for periods of time.
We are really really blessed to have a car fitted with a wheelchair lift that we bought when Scooby couldn't walk. Unfortunately we never got to use it with him as he never came home, but we have been using it in the last year to bring a lady to church who otherwise would not be able to come. Margaret lives in a nursing home further down the prom and cannot use her legs since having a bad fall two years ago. She spent a whole year in hospital and then couldn't go home because of the level of care she needed and so she had to go to a care home. At first she was very unhappy, as I think we all would be to give up our home and independence, and she couldn't go to her church in Lancaster anymore. So Richard offered her a lift to our church in our car, and she's been coming ever since. She has gradually adjusted to life in a different town and has become part of our church family.
A couple of months ago though, the lift in the car stopped working. It looked like several parts on it had broken down at once, and within a couple of phone calls we'd found out that only a specialist workshop in another city could fix it, and that it would cost a lot to get it working again. My reaction was that it was a shame and we would miss bringing Margaret to church, but I wasn't born a Scholes. In the middle of long hospital stays, increased pain and pressure in his spine, and devastating scan reports that made me want to curl up into a ball and stay there, Richard was totally adamant we were going to get that lift fixed and see Margaret back in church. Between hospital appointments, he arranged for us to take the car down to Manchester and get it repaired while we spent the day at the Trafford Centre.
He couldn't walk properly around the Trafford Centre, but that didn't stop him either. He moved from bench to bench around the middle and made sure that I got to visit all the shops I wanted, bought loads of stuff for me and the kids, and didn't complain once, even though he was in agony. That Sunday Margaret was back in church, beaming after missing her weeks away, and Richard got to welcome her, although he's missed seeing her after that as he's been in hospital every week since.
So now we have two reasons for our wheelchair lift, and I hope that Richard will get to use it really soon.
In the meantime, the amount of patience, dignity and respect he's shown to everyone around him while he is utterly dependant on help for every task has blown me away and proved once again that God brings good out of every situation, no matter how difficult.