Just as I think I have a handle on living with my cancer and my treatment “strategy”, something rocks my world. My sweet friend Lisa that I’ve shared time with in the infusion room and doctor’s waiting area is in trouble. Big trouble. She’s been struggling for months and is now in the hospital hospice unit. I visited with her a few days after admittance and although she was tired, weak and pretty drugged, still managed some witty banter with me. We hugged. She assured me it would be alright, either way. I visited again 4 days later and her decline was dramatic. So, so weak and tired. Barely able to muster the energy to speak. I am so sad. I like her. I love her. We’ve shared so much B.S. and deep philosophy in the last two years. Her time is short, I know. I’m scared too. It brings the reality of this disease to the forefront again. I’m mad. I’m mad at our doctor. Crazy, huh? Like it’s his fault. But, if he can’t save her then why would I think he could save me? Of course all of this is emotion. The rational me knows the complexities, the reality and the odds. I’ve never even pretended to think the doctor can miraculously save me. I somehow need to know that he cares, though. If he can distance himself from caring, then we really are just case files. But, how could one choose medical oncology as a profession and not be able to distance ones self emotionally?
I’ve gotten good at saying that my disease is managed until it is not managed. A very mature acceptance of the situation. It plays well until I see the end of the story play out. I have watched and even tried to enter a few clinical trials without being accepted. I’ve been o.k. with that so far. I want to live the best life I can while I can. I don’t want to constantly chase treatments and put myself through wearisome travel and complex, time consuming and potentially awful trials for the foreseeable future. I want to really live right now. Right now is more important to me than tomorrow. But, when I get scared like this I can’t help but wonder where’s the closest cutting edge clinical trial? Sign me up now!
Tonight is the big American Cancer Society Relay for Life event in our county. Our Teal Talk ladies, some of us anyway, will be there in our matching Teal Talk t-shirts. We will walk the survivor lap together with our husbands and family. I have a long list of In Honor and In Memory luminarias to purchase that will line the track. I’ve attended this event off and on for probably 20 years, including the year of my diagnosis and frontline treatment. This year, however, will be the most poignant. I will celebrate my survival and the survival of those on the track around me. But this year will be heavily touched with sadness for those I know that have gone and my Teal Sister that is slipping from us.