One thing I’ve found is I spend a lot of time trying not to think about things. This seems pretty unhealthy but it’s become unavoidable. I’m watching a TV commercial and a mom says to her daughter at graduation, “your dad would have been so proud of you,” and I can spend the next hour trying to block it out. I push it away. I try not to think about it. But as anyone knows, that makes it grow.
You’d be surprised at how many movies and films start off with the death of a parent. Especially kids movies. A parent always dies in them. I hate the uncomfortable feeling we get with our kids when those scenes come up.
The world becomes a minefield of painful reminders that I am dying. The only other alternative is to get myself convinced that 12% of the people with my cancer live past 3 years is a good shot. Those odds, no matter how I play around with them are daunting. The other frequent reminder is the deterioration that is going on with my hands and feet.
The chemo drugs seem to be working and shrinking my tumors. However, they permanently destroy the nerves in my body starting with hands and feet. Numbness becomes pain and the pain can make just sitting still hard to do. Some days I just crave to be asleep to avoid the discomfort. But I also don’t want to nap my life away if I only have limited time.
On Friday I got my 14th treatment (2nd round of the 7th cycle, in medical terms). Most people get a well-earned chemo break at 12 treatments, but because of how far along my tumors are, I got to start the next 12 ASAP. I can see why people skip chemo and just give in to the cancer. It’s a seductive choice when your hands feel like they are burning up for weeks at a time. But I have so much to live for.
I also try not to think about my career. As most of you know, the cancer hit me right after starting a dream job. Some days I wonder if I should have stuck it out and stayed in the job. The health problems would have dominated my ability to function at work but I would have died doing work I love. The bottom line is, I have too much time to think or too much time to work on not thinking about my plight.
Medical Update: I had another doctor’s appointment on Friday. My tumor marker which had come down from the thousands to 107 (normal is less than 2), has gone back up to 117. Of course we’d rather it be headed in the other direction. The doctor set up another scan for me in July so that we can review my medical options again. It will be good to get the latest update on the spread and size of my tumors. As always, thank you for keeping me and my family in your thoughts. It means so much to us.