Earning my day
March 8, 2013
Since my prognosis, I have been back on chemotherapy. So far I have completed three treatment cycles using Avastin and a regiment of three chemo drugs referred to as FOLFOX. That makes four chemo drugs I take each cycle or session.
Among the chemo drugs is Oxalyplatin, a platinum-based drug which, ironically, I am allergic to. Yup, it gives me hives. In 2008, I took this drug as part of a study and ended up in the emergency room. You might have guessed I must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to take something that I am allergic too. Yes, that’s right, Oxalyplatin is my last hope due to the DNA structure of my cancer. Cancer patients most often don’t have many choices when it comes to their treatment and in my case it is a matter of: take it or die. However, to minimize the risk of allergies, I load up on steroids and antihistamine the day before of my treatment. What a life, I hate cancer.
I think I am responding to my treatment; my feet are no longer swollen, my abdomen is relatively smaller, and my tumor count is down. Last week I had a paracentesis done, or removal of fluids from the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen, and they got 1.1 liters of water. These are good signs but I hesitate to be optimistic. My enthusiasm is tempered because I know it is temporary. I know I should be thankful but this is hard for me. The fleeting nature of my predicament is real and in the moment.
Normal people don’t have to do anything so they can have another tomorrow. They are healthy and in all likelihood tomorrow awaits them with open arms. It is a given, until they have a wakeup call. For me, I have to earn each day given to me by having chemo treatments, I bear the pains of its side-effects, and do it all over again…and again until my body can take it.
Once I have earn my day or week, I get busy; I prioritize which task is most important. Not all things are important. Often on top of the list is my family, then perhaps friends, colleagues, etc. and then I think of ways on how to give back or make a difference to them. I had just earn my day or week and I am not going to waste it. After all the sufferings from chemo, each day must have a meaning: that’s how I decide. I often make it simple by calling, texting, email, etc., but the point is I make it a point to acknowledge them to say that they made a difference in my life.
This blog has made my life fuller. It started out as a journal of my marathon adventures, now it is providing you front-row seat to my roller coaster cancer ride. Keep this in mind, earn the day given and spend it with meaning … you are better off than me.
P.S. A family friend, AnnieG, came in from Florida for a visit. She is cooking me lots of my favorites dishes. Thanks, Annie. Another shout out and a big thank you to my dear friend Mary AnnG from Connecticut for giving me my own DVD copy of Downton Abbey. Double cheers.