Words of wisdom, or not, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Yes, I am thankful that I am still alive. I am thankful for the incredible support from Inanna.
A quick check of on-line dictionaries and I find that yes, unthankful is a word.
not feeling or showing pleasure, relief, or gratitude.
There is a lot I am unthankful for as well. I sit here at the end of two rounds of chemotherapy. I go in on a Monday and get blood tests, two hours of infusion and go home with an infusion pump for 46 hours of continuous further administration of chemo. A visiting nurse removes the pump on Wednesday afternoon. Eleven days goes by with no chemo entering my body, just chemo continuing to fuck me up. Did that twice, going again this Monday to start round 3.
The first round went fairly well, minimal side effects. The second round, not so much. Cold feels like an electric shock, queasiness is Bob to my Leo …
I have a taste in my mouth that never goes away. If it was chocolate or coffee, I could deal. It is more like a cross between yeech and blech. Yes, I have tried mints, citrus fruits, alcohol, Altoids, pizza, licking random walls, and smothering myself with a pillow. Did you ever notice that you can’t smother yourself with a pillow. Why is that?
I spend a good amount of time in bed because of the fairly pervasive tiredness. Ginger is my best friend.
No, not that Ginger, besides I was more of a (I Dream of) Jeannie kind of guy. Ginger tea or crystallized ginger, and sublingual marijuana hold it at bay, sort of. I do take some of the meds I have when it gets bad, but that is not too often. Most of the time it is like annoying background noise. Any quiet moment I notice that, well, I am wondering where the railing is in case I need to bend over it and toss my cookies.
There are wonderful people in my community who have brought food to the house or send restaurant gift cards, etc. I cannot say how wonderful this really is … my appetite is all over the map but it takes that much more off Inanna’s plate, and that is really important. I am dealing with the brunt of this physically, but for her there is the mental / emotional part. She has trouble seeing me hurt. And, for whatever reason, she surely does not want to see me die. Lightening her load in any way is so appreciated.
I mentioned in a previous post that my CEA was 31 in the beginning of this journey. This is a blood marker for my tumor, one wants the number below 5. My was 31 because, well, I had a cancerous tumor. After chemo-radiation it went down to 19 or something like that. The doctors had hoped for a lower value, chemo-radiation was not as effective as one would hope. We now test the value once a month, the first was the first day of post-surgery chemo, six weeks after surgery. The doctors were hoping for five, I was hoping for zero. It was 1.6 which is wonderful (it will never be zero). That basically means that I don’t have a rouge tumor growing somewhere from the same cancer. Yes, I still have stray cancer cells floating around (like seeds) and the current chemo is designed to get rid of them. But that news was great. It will be tested again this Monday.
Mom came to visit for Thanksgiving. My sister (lives locally), Inanna, our two girls, mom, and I all went to my sister-in-law’s for dinner. She is an incredible hostess (and kudo’s to her husband as well). There was one toast, and it started with appreciation that I am still alive. And there was turkey. Go figure.
I am trying to keep busy to distract from the side effects. One other one is that my butt-hole still hurts. Not awful, but yeah, it just hurts. I can’t blame it, but I can curse it. And I do. Maybe this is where the expression “fucking asshole” comes from. I do find it ironic that I was never one into passively figging but now my life is consumed with it’s constituent parts.
I am unthankful for
- 6 more chemo cycles to go
- medical science’s level of barbarism
- the accident last night at 3 am, let’s just say it shit-the-bed
- the pain in my ass
- what this is doing to those I love and care about most
I am thankful for:
- a cea of 1.6
- two chemo cycles down
- friends and even some people I don’t know for their kindness and support
- medical science, no matter how barbaric it may be
- waking up every morning, being a man or not
- for whatever reason, I look better than people expect (no clue what they expect)
Yes, I know, it could be worse. But it could be a hell of a lot better, no?
We go on. It is better than dead. I can survive another 6 rounds of chemo I am sure. And if it ups my chance of long term survival (dare I say cure?) then it is worth every moment of queasiness, every bit of exhaustion, and an annoying butt-hole.
Be thankful. All in all, I am.