When a Man Wears a Dress

Every two months, the Pirate has to don a backless dress.

No, it isn’t for a drag queen competition; his beard would be a dead giveaway. Nor is it because he likes it; he prefers when I wear the heels.

No, the little cotton number that doesn’t-quite-do-up-at-the-back means that it’s time for medical imaging to see what the hell those tumours are doing in his liver (and to see if anymore have cropped up to scare the living daylights out of us).


It’s a scary time for both of us (and everyone who loves the Pirate) because cancer doesn’t discriminate and has a mind of its own.

You can never really be sure whether the immunotherapy treatment is going to work. Each patient is different and their body’s response to the infusions can’t be guaranteed. Not even the experts really know how it’s all going to play out. They can only be guided by the possibilities of it all.

Immunotherapy research seems to be on the right path for melanoma sufferers. Many patients who have been on the trials have had fantastic results. Some have shown great  reductions in their tumours, which has helped to prolong their lives that little bit more. Some, who because of immunotherapy, are now NED (no evidence of disease) and have a future to hang on to. However, there are others, who for whatever reason, do not respond positively to treatment at all and are living with a death sentence hanging over their heads.

We can never become complacent and take for granted the fact that the Pirate’s past two scans have shown shrinkage in all but the kidney lesion. This gives us hope that we are on to a winner but there is a small part in us that thinks, “What if?”

What if the drugs stop working and we never get rid of the tumours? What if we need a Plan B? Or a Plan C? Or god forbid, a Plan Z?

This is the scary part.

The unknown.

The blank space where our future lies.

Blank, not because (like everyone else) we don’t know quite what the future holds. It’s more precious than that. For people with Stage IV cancer and those who love them, the blankness signifies not knowing how much time we are going to get together.

Our dreams for the future hinge on this lifesaving treatment and what these scans show.

So, you can appreciate how waiting for the results tomorrow would be affecting the Pirate and me, his Wench. It’s an anxious time. I haven’t been quite myself and it affects me in ways that I don’t like. My anger resurfaces and the sadness hangs about like a thief. That’s when I need to remind myself to live in the now. Breathe in and out. Take one step at a time.


If we are lucky, the scans will show everything we want them to and we’ll get to see the man in that ugly navy dress grow old and grey.

XO  The Pirate Wench


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