Monday, November 19, 2012
Round 3 update and my new reality
My doctor reminded me this is only round 2... yeah... round 2A as in there is a round 2B but a total of 4 rounds. I think I am happier thinking of it as almost 1/2 way done. This round is not as bad as previous rounds. Generally... I am tired, cranky, my body hurts like I have the flu and I am overall just a bitch. Sorry Kyle. I started shots to up my white blood cell count so that I don't get sick. That would be awful - I would end up in the hospital and then I would REALLY be a bitch. Well enough whining. Recently, I was asked by someone about to embark on the fun journey of chemotherapy how I coped with the 'new reality' I was faced with. How I could prevent myself from becoming resentful of friends and family moving on with the life that I had had pre-cancer that I wish I still had now? How I could process the thoughts of death, cancer, sickness, my appearance? How I felt about the fact that my body had betrayed me meaning I would never 'trust' it again? How I felt about having the naivety of my youth stripped away leaving only a harsher perception of a cruel world? The answer, I just do. The truth is, and this is something I have tried quite strongly to portray in this blog (sometimes, unsucessfully I'm sure) is that much of day to day life carries on as normal, with a few added unpleasantries! I chose to work during treatments and carry on working on the good days and from home on the bad days. This is obviously not a 100% bad change! Then there are the days that I'm in hospital or feeling crap after chemo. These will always be there, and are not fun. You adjust though. You learn now to cope with the effects and learn to deal with it in the way you would deal with a terrible 3 day hangover (albeit without the benefit of having had the fun night out!) and mine is delayed a few days. Aside from this, over the last 2 months I've had a great time of lazing about, time for contimplation. I've spent more time talking with my friends and family, I have an excuse to stay in bed and not work if I don't want to. In a lot of ways it has been really nice! I don't resent my friends. I guess it has helped that I have moved away from most of them. But when I feel up to talk to them I do, when I can't I can't but that was always the case. I've always been up for an adventure and will be again after this ordeal is over. Sometimes the best thing about an adventure is waiting for it to happen. I am also confident that, having experienced a life threatening condition, these adventures will be all the more exciting. If my friends can join me they will, if they can't they won't. Whats to resent? I don't feel like I've missed out on much of anything so far. I will say the best part about my friends is that they don't always ask "how are you feeling". They talk about life... if I bring up cancer, we talk about it, if I don't then we don't mention it. Dealing with the prospect of dying is going to have a positive impact on my future. Most people, including me, my age have the 'there's always tomorrow/next year/retirement' attitude. I no longer have this. If there's one lesson it's that so many people, of which I or you may become one, don't get tomorrow. Existing now to live in the future is foolish. One day I was thinking about this and asked myself, if I died this year, what would I regret having not done in my life? Next year, I will start doing these things one by one and constantly amending that list. I don't for a second believe that if I were to die in 5 years I would have nothing on my list, that's impossible. But, at least I'll know that I did what I could with the time I had rather than putting it off until 'tomorrow'. My appearance? Meh. It'll be fine. Yes I look like uncle fester now, short fat and balding, but that won't last. Only poor Kyle has to deal with it. Even I barely see it without make up and wigs. I'll put 'become good looking' on next years list. Easy. My body DID betray me. It attacked itself. I am fighting back though, hard. Will I ever feel 100% confident that I can trust it again? No. In fact I'm sure that I'll be over analysing every twinge for as long as I live. But, what better way to stop me from becoming complacent again? Little reminders not to slip back into the rut of life. Cruel, harsh world? No. The reach out I've had from people I care about, the help from total strangers who will take the time to make me feel better, the way on the good days I can look around and think WOW I really want to be here for a really long time.... no, the world looks better to me than it ever did. The new reality is going to be so much better than the old. I just need to keep fighting and hope I get the chance to live in it.