Published June 07, 2012
The planets aligned -- my white blood cell count was up -- and I was able to receive chemo last week. Three down, and one to go. If my white count hasn't tanked again, I will be able to undergo chemo this week, which will be followed next week with a CT scan to determine its effectiveness.
After 12 treatments, and before my recent four week chemo break, my liver tumors had decreased by 75 percent. Dr. Glaspy and I are hoping the scan will confirm that chemo has blasted out the remaining 25 percent. This does not mean the cancer is gone -- fighting metastatic cancer means I will forever be playing whack-a-mole -- but it will offer me a break from weekly chemo. How long of a break? One never knows, but it could be a six month break from chemotherapy, which I want very badly. A real break!
Last week after my treatment, my sister Lucy returned home to her family and job. When she left, I felt utter despair. I couldn't stop crying. You never know when the black cloud of sadness is going to cover you, but it is certainly forever lurking in the shadows. The sadness was overwhelming.
Was I sad because my sister left? Was I sad because I was alone again? Was I sad because I have cancer? Yes, to all of the above.
After three days of profound despondence and sleeping round-the-clock, I had an epiphany. When depression enveloped me this time, it was because I had to face the fact that I am truly alone. My loved ones can walk away and resume normal life, but nothing changes for me. I remain shackled to this disease -- a disease which can turn on a dime as it has for many. Diversion is the only way a person living with stage 4 cancer can survive.
My life is a series of short diversions which allow me to experience life outside of my reality. A reality that is incredibly sad and filled with uncertainty. Will I see my kids graduate from college? Will I be there when they are married? Will I ever know the joy of being a grandmother?
Don't placate me by saying that no one knows these things, that anyone can be hit by a car. That is so lame! I believe statistics will bear out that my chances of dying in a few years are far greater than your chances of being killed in a random automobile accident. It is what it is. And it is my cross to bear. Is it karma, bad genes, bad luck, or fate? In the next world, I believe I will know those answers. Until then, bring on the diversions!