Trying to find the humor
It’s Saturday, 15 June, 2019. I received the news on Monday but I haven’t been able to write about it all week. Still, I’m determined to continue this project. I want to record my journey, even when it’s not easy. So, the diagnosis? It’s malignant. It’s myeloma. It’s cancer. Fuck.
I’ve thought about how to write this all week. I’m trying to find the humor. I mean, I know it’s there. Here. Somewhere. What’s a cancer patient’s favorite movie? Finding Chemo. How’s that? Funny? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t have to be funny right now. Maybe I can just write what I’m feeling. The problem is, for me, sharing those kinds of feelings makes me feel, vulnerable. I hate that feeling. Humor allows me to express my fears without sounding like a coward. What do you call a group of eight cowards? Octopussies. Yeah, I’m one of them. I’m scared.
What am I scared of? Death? No. I mean, I don’t expect to die from this cancer anytime soon. It’s probably shortened my life but I know I won’t die in three years, or four. My oncologist says myelomans are living longer thanks to a new class of drugs. How long? She admits there’s no data yet. Anyway, death is not my greatest fear. It’s pain. Pain is my fear. Will I reach the point where pain is my constant companion? Am I going to have 15 years of struggling with painful bones? How is this cancer going to change me? Tom Brokaw had surgery to relieve the pain in his lower back. That surgery left him three inches shorter. Is that what I’m in for? God, I’d have to buy all new clothes. How would that suck? I hate shopping. That’s pain.
They’ll have a big target
I’m going to start chemotherapy a week from Monday. I’ll enjoy that treat Mondays and Thursdays for two weeks, followed by a week off for my body to rest. This rotation will continue for four to six months. I don’t really know what to expect. Apparently my chemo will be a combination of pills and a shot. They’ll give me the shot in my belly. At least they’ll have a big target.
After chemo at some point I’ll be hospitalized for what they call a bone marrow transplant, or a stem cell transplant. It’s not actually a transplant at all. They remove, filter and replace your own blood cells. My oncologist warned me that this is not a pleasant process. My hair will fall out. As if I’m not already scary enough. I’ll be in the hospital for two weeks, followed by several weeks of recovery. We’ll probably do this in January, right after the holidays. Ho ho freakin’ ho.
So that’s where it stands. I got through this. The entry is complete. It’s probably the hardest and least funny entry I’ll make. Thank you for your understanding. I’ll do better next time.
Am I OK? Yes. I am. I mean, I will be. It’s just a lot of shit to deal with. But I will deal with it. It’s not like I have any option. This battle came to me. I didn’t ask for it.
I want to say, the support I’ve received from my family and friends has been not only amazing, but it’s strengthened me. I know I’m not alone. Thank you. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. It’s going to be a rough year. And I dread it, I won’t lie. But here we go…