The next 500 words you read in this blog, give or take a few, will mark the end of my career as a cancer blogger. All in all, that’s a really good thing because it means I have run out of things to say about life with cancer. It has stopped being a disruption in my life.
Some people ask me if I am in remission and, what the heck…I say yes. My doctors haven’t exactly used those words. But that is mainly because it has sort of fallen out of fashion to say the word remission in the world of oncology. It’s too gloomy. It suggests an eventual return, does it not? So you might hear the acronym NED instead, which means No Evidence of Disease. You say tomato; I say… as long as I don’t have to have chemo, I’m happy!
I am aware that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) has been found in some cancer survivors. That probably explains why I struggle with guilt when I hear about other people who have actually lost their life to the disease. But fortunately, that’s the extent of the emotional side effects that I have been left to deal with.
Looking back on my initial diagnosis and the hours that followed, I’m struck by how certain I was that I was going to die, how desperately I did not want to leave my children, and how overwhelmed I was at the thought of someone having to sort through that pile of papers on my desk that never seemed to go away, after I died. The first two thoughts demanded every tear my tear ducts could produce, the last one…well that was just weird, but so very very me.
Now I find myself consumed in a crossword or sudoku puzzle every chance I get in a desperate attempt to eradicate “chemo brain” or what some call the “chemo fog”. I actually drove my car to the Safety/IM station for an inspection not too long ago, just to realize as I pulled into the bay that the car that needed the service was still in my garage at home and that I had driven the wrong car down. But my favorite story comes from a young musician/chemo patient in New York who got a flat tire late one very, very cold winter’s night. He got out of the car and managed to jack up his car and put the spare tire on without freezing his fingers off or getting mugged, just to realize as he was one foot back into the vehicle that he had changed a perfectly good tire and the flat one was still sitting on the wheel!
So, everything is going to be all right. I won’t blame myself for the tumor, but I will eat less sugar and more vegetables. I’ll take a hundred bad hair days over a “no-hair” day, any day and I will find a six-letter word for "laugh" before the night is through. My blog will go on...but have very little to do with cancer, if anything at all. Cheers.