I’ve avoided my blog, Facebook, my email accounts and even my cell phone like a plague for the past few days. As much as I know they are so many wonderful, incredibly special people waiting for updates, sending mails and messages and even calling; it’s just been too hard. I really haven’t felt like talking or writing. Every time I convince myself to post on my blog or reply to all the emails I find myself procrastinating…. I never procrastinate! It’s so frustrating.
I suppose I was silently hoping that if I put it off for a little while, something would change and I would finally have some good news to share. There’s been so much bad news, reading through my earlier posts I realised that every single post has been sad and filled with bad news. I so desperately want to give you something positive to read, something to lift your spirits and make you smile. Even as I sit here now, I’m heartbroken and fighting tears because I know that I don’t have any good news for you and I still can’t tell you anything that will make you smile. Unfortunately, today is not that day and I don’t have any good news for you but I can’t wait any longer, I miss the feedback, the comments and the messages. I miss hearing from people from all over the world, it always makes me feel so much better to know that there are people out there, all over, who take the time to read my blog and send their prayers my way. I thrive on your contact and your support.
I’m having one of those ‘I miss my life’ days today. I miss my hair, my energy and my brain. There are just so many things that I miss about my ‘life’, especially today. I miss being able to handle almost anything without losing my head, not forgetting absolutely everything, being able to keep up with my husband, not hating my phone and most of all, I miss not dreading every single day, not because I don’t want to live it but because I know it’s going to be hard, probably harder than the day before and because I know that there is a very good chance that I won’t get through the day without crying and an even better chance that I won’t get through half the day without getting so tired that I simply cannot carry on, no matter how much I may want to. I can’t handle situations the way I used to and I hate that. The tiniest, most insignificant little things stress me out and I actually can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed. That’s really not good news, especially for a business owner… I always handled stress pretty well, got angry, screamed and shouted but I dealt with it, it’s different now though, I’m not handling stress well and that’s not a good thing. I make sure I still go to work every day, I may go in later or leave earlier but I’m there, I still attend meetings in the evenings or over weekends, no matter what, I’m there. If there’s one thing I will not let cancer take from me it is the business I have worked so hard to build. The problem is I’m not as effective as I used to be, I can’t do as much as I used to. I’m so afraid of that. I suppose I just generally miss the way things were. I miss the person I used to be.
Cancer changes everything… don’t think, even for a moment, that you can live a normal life with cancer or that you will still be the same person as you were before. Trust me, you cannot live a normal life and you are not and will never be the person you were before. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a different thing and it really does take some getting used to.
I made my ‘big decision’ on Thursday last week after a nice, long, and very informative chat with the doctor. I decided to take the plunge and have another round of chemo. Although it was a really, really tough decision to make, I finally came to the conclusion that I have to try. I promised to fight and so, I must fight. Even though the odds are stacked against me at this point and the chances of it actually working are not great and I spend a good hour or so sobbing my heart out every morning knowing that I have to go through it again, I just have to do it. As long as there is still a chance, no matter how small it may be, I have o try. I suppose this is my way of saying, “Hey Cancer, guess what… I’m not done yet! I’m not giving up and I’m not backing down. I know it’s going to hurt, I know I’m going to hate it but… HIT ME… I’m ready!
And so, for the next 6 weeks, 5 days a week, I will drag myself off to the hospital and allow them to pump my body full of poison. I had my first session of full on, hardcore chemotherapy on Monday and it has been hell! They call it the ‘red devil’ for a reason. There’s no radiation this time around, just horribly high doses of chemo. It’s not fun and I despise every single moment but I’m getting through it.
A lot of people have been baffled by the fact that I have to go every day when most patients only go once a week or even once every few weeks. Well, it’s actually pretty simple… Because my ‘case’ is so far advanced and has spread so rapidly, the dose I need to get to have any chance at all is extremely high and because of my other ‘conditions’ and my size, the doctors are not confident that I would be able to handle that dose all at once and so they have split the dose into 5 smaller doses.
I haven’t had any tests since we started chemo so I have no idea if it’s working. All I know is its horrible and I absolutely hate it. The nausea starts during treatment and gets progressively worse through the day. I’m at my worst in the evenings. By the time I go to bed, I can barely lift my head, I’m completely exhausted and everything spins wildly from nausea. Food is almost impossible to even think about and sometimes I battle to keep even a glass of water down. It really isn’t a pleasant experience. The only thing that motivates me to carry on is the fact that I am not ready to lose this fight, I cannot let cancer win and I am absolutely not ready to die. It is not my time.
I’ve been having a bit of trouble dealing with the effects my decisions have had on the people I love. I’m never going to be able to please everyone, I understand that, but it’s so difficult to see how hurt the people closest to me are because of how I’ve decided to go about getting through this. When I was first diagnosed, I made the decision to do things on my terms and get through this in my way. When I sat my family down to tell them that I have cancer, I made my decision very clear and I made them all promise, even my husband, that they would respect that decision, understand my reasons and not fight me on my terms. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for them to sit back and watch me go through this with their hands tied.
I decided that I wanted to handle the doctor’s visits and treatment on my own. I don’t want anyone with me and I don’t want to go into too much detail about what is said and done. It’s not because I don’t think that I need the support, I know I do and I appreciate it so much. It’s not because I want to hide the prognosis or the pain or the bad news, I don’t, it’s simply that I feel better when I’m on my own. I don’t have to worry about anyone but me, I know I’m not supposed to worry about anyone else in that situation but I do, that’s just who I am. If I’m alone, I don’t have to talk; I can cry if I need to, laugh if I want to or simply just sit in silence and think. Being alone also gives me the opportunity to focus on the fight, no distractions, just me, willing the cancer out of my body and putting every ounce of my energy into helping that chemo poison do its job. This is just something I want to do on my own and I have a million reasons for this decision but I do understand that it’s difficult to accept and it’s even more difficult to respect. I am so grateful that my family have been so understanding and supportive in this decision, even though it tears them apart. I am so unbelievably sorry that this is causing so much pain, I wish, more than anything, that I could limit the hurt to just me and somehow protect the people who I love so dearly from going through this too. I am overcome by guilt every day knowing that there are people hurting, there is sadness and there are tears because of me. I don’t know what to do, I feel completely helpless.
There are so many things to deal with. I was one of those people who thought that the hardest part of having cancer was the sickness. I can tell you now, from experience, that’s definitely not the case. There are so many aspects of this disease, the physical illness and pain are such a small part of what a cancer patient has to face. It’s terrifying and completely overwhelming; you have to treat so much more than your body. As long as you can stay on top of these aspects most of the time, you can get through it. I believe it’s all about balance; you have to put as much energy into fighting your thoughts, your fears and your emotions as you do into fighting the physical pain. You have to focus on ridding your mind of the ever-present urge to give up while pulling your body through another day. I honestly believe that the trick to fighting cancer is to make sure you have all bases covered as often as possible. It’s not easy, not at all, but then again, nothing worth doing ever is. At the end, the reward will outweigh the sacrifice… you have the ability to save your own life; you just have to put your head down and do it.
There are so many tough days, millions of tears, I cry all the way to the hospital in the morning and all the way to the work when I’m done, it feels as though every day is a little more difficult than the one before and sometimes I miss my ‘former’ life so badly that I battle to breathe; but I continue to search for that balance, I continue to do my part and I lean on your support to get me through the impossible times. I don’t think you will ever truly understand how much I rely on your support, how often I read your messages, comments and emails and how grateful I am for every single word. I would not be here if it not for these.
This is difficult; there are no 2 ways about it. It’s horrible and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, but, I am carrying on and I am fighting. I’m still on this journey and I’m still doing it my way. I honestly believe that at some point, I will have some good news for you, I will be able to say something to make you smile and I will be able to lift your spirits, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sometime soon.
One Day At A Time