I’m in pain!
It’s Tuesday, 5 November, 2019. It’s been a rough couple of weeks. For some reason, about two weeks ago my ribs began to hurt like a motherfu… I mean they really hurt. I’m talking barely able to stand up straight sometimes hurt. I’ve been concerned because often the bone pain associated with myeloma starts in the ribs. I saw my oncologist and she suspects it may just be musculoskeletal. I take Tylenol for the pain but that’s really all I can do. By the way, don’t you hate when you have chronic pain and when you take something for it people ask, “Did it help?” Like, how could I know if it helped? I don’t know how painful it would have been if I hadn’t taken the painkiller. Anyway, I’m scheduled to take a PET scan next week to see what’s going on. Hopefully it is “just” musculoskeletal. But even so, I’m in pain!
Yesterday was a particularly rough day. I barely slept the night before, my ribs hurt, I had chemo, and I received the monthly bone strengthener which made me feel sick all afternoon. On the way home from treatment I stopped at the store to pick up a few things and as I was leaving I had a sudden and severe dizzy spell. Crack! Like lightening. I stopped and sat down. Eventually it passed and I drove home. The sick feeling and the dizzy spells continued all afternoon. Thankfully I was able to take a long and much needed nap.
Steroids are the Devil’s candy
Let me tell you about the fucking steroids I’m taking. My god, I’ve gained weight and my body is swollen all over. I feel like my head is a big ol’ pumpkin. My body feels awkward and I barely sleep.
Several years ago I had to take steroids while I underwent radiation for a brain tumor. I’ve written about that already. The radiation caused my brain to swell and the steroids were necessary to bring down the swelling so my brain wouldn’t pop out of my skull. Fair enough. At that time too I gained weight and couldn’t sleep, I craved carbs. I mean craved! I remember I’d drive to my treatment and on the way home I’d stop at the bakery and eat a muffin. I couldn’t fight it. In all fairness, they were damned good muffins. I’d literally roll around on the floor like a dog trying to find a comfortable position. I slept about 4 hours a night. I was edgy and short-tempered all the time.
This time around I’m not edgy or short-tempered but that’s probably just because I live alone and there is nobody here to bark at.
Every little thing’s a big thing
Because my immune system is compromised every little thing’s a big thing. Like, last month I developed this kind of tumor lump thing on my groin. It really hurt. After a couple of weeks it had to be lanced and drained. Turns out it was probably just an ingrown hair. Normally an ingrown hair wouldn’t be much more than a pimple. But it became a whole thing and it makes me wonder, is this story with my ribs just a little thing that’s a big thing too? Is it something that would normally be done and gone by now? Except nowadays nothing is just done and gone.
In January, after a little holiday in Mexico over Christmas I’ll graduate from chemo and go into the hospital for the bone marrow transplant. I’ll write about that when the time comes. After that treatment I’ll recover at home for 3 or 4 months. During the first 30 days it’ll be necessary for somebody to be with me 24/7 due to fatigue and risk of fever and infection. I’ll also have to go to the Cancer Center every day for the first 3 weeks to be examined.
And after all of this is done, then what? I feel like nothing is going to change. I mean, I have an aggressive form of a non-curable cancer. Where is it going? Nobody can know that of course. I’m not a negative guy but I am realistic. My oncologist hopes that after the bone marrow transplant I can go on a maintenance program and not have to deal with this cancer again for like 10 years. Other medical professionals, leaning on more practical experience tell me I’ll have a year, maybe three before I’m back in treatment. And the stark reality is that I may die anyway.
Oh stop! Everyone hates when I say I may die but it’s the fact. I won’t pretend death is not on the table. And don’t say, “We’re all dying.” Yes, we are all dying. So step out into a busy intersection against the light. Wait, what? You won’t? Why not? We’re all dying anyway, right? Oh, you mean if you’d be putting your life at risk and you might die sooner and more painfully than you should expect? OK, now you get it.
And my point?
All of this complaining leads me to what’s on my mind. I’ve been alone for over three years now and I’ve had reason recently to think about where I stand in terms of love and relationships. I won’t get into the most personal details but there is someone I loved a great deal a few years ago who has kind of reentered my life recently. It’s nothing serious, just emails. Friends. But it’s the first time we’ve communicated regularly since it ended and I won’t lie, I’m feeling a hundred different things. I’m reminded of the deep feelings I had for him and it makes me wonder if I’m still feeling them. I’m confused.
I have not allowed myself to be emotionally vulnerable to anyone for quite some time. Lately cancer has been my excuse. I feel awful. I look awful. I may die. Let’s face it, I’m no catch. And anyway, who the hell wants to get involved with a guy who is sick, needs to face the challenge of losing weight and getting healthy while fighting cancer, and could possibly check out for good in a couple of years? That would be nuts.
If the guy I’m talking about was having feelings for me, I’m not sure I could resist him. But I don’t think he is. A lot of years have passed and we’re different people now. And what if somebody else was to become interested in me? I don’t know. Could I deal with all the complications of a relationship in my life right now? Am I strong enough to risk adding emotional pain to my nearly constant physical pain? Maybe it’s best I keep doing this alone. Like I said, I’m a realist. I’m no catch. And frankly, nobody’s knocking on my door.
My life. Where is it going?