If one could consider there to be a “best” part of having cancer, I would have to say it is those moments where I forget I have the disease. I have these moments, often. And then I am reminded just as often I indeed have cancer. Whether it is nausea or peripheral neuropathy, fatigue…or perhaps that chemo pump fanny pack I wear every other week for forty-six hours? My hair is thinning, too. It resembles goose down and I am a bit disappointed cancer didn’t give me goose wings so I can fly South. Did I mention the pills? Angie and I paid a trucking firm to move the house and plant it right next to the drive-thru at Walgreens. The conveyor belt is being installed this week, straight from their window to ours (I don’t actually have that many pills but even three or four a day is too many for my taste).
I haven’t updated my journal here in some time because I realized I don’t like talking about cancer. It sounds funny now that I have typed those words but it is worth mentioning. Cancer seems to have become my identity. I am reminded of it, daily. I look in the mirror and see my hair standing up from static because it is so thin. The part shifts with the breeze as I walk and I don’t even have a “part”. When I break a sweat, I feel like I fell off a roof. It just hits me so hard. Chemo kills the immune system. Chemo essentially kills you to keep you alive.
My reality is this: a study in 2014 shows men and women ages 30-49 diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer have a 17% chance of living five years. I also have a high risk of contracting a subsequent cancer even if I go into remission. So I better get used to doing the chemo dance. And I am used to it. I hate it but I enjoy living and I believe in the treatment. Just six months ago I could barely swallow a bite of a turkey club and now it is once again easy. I even slap on extra turkey just for the challenge.
I did get some kind of bug or food poisoning that put me in the hospital for a minute. I survived, of course. Overall, I have an average of ten days per month where I feel “normal”. These are the days I forget I have cancer. I cherish these days. If any of you are trying to reach me and ever feel ignored, just know I am likely trying to forget I am sick and avoiding the discussion on purpose. I don’t want to talk about cancer all the time. Let’s talk about cheese and pizza and comedy…or woodworking. I can talk about guitars and music, too but most of you wouldn’t know 75% of the bands I listen to. I am a total snob when it comes to music. I do think Bruno Mars is a bad ass though, where pop music is concerned.
I hope everyone enjoys the holidays. I am grateful for every one of you and all the support.