Friday, March 30, 2012
I don’t ever recall a more beautiful spring. The purples and blues of the field violets, spangled with the yellow dandy lions all upon a slate of vibrant green, how I had missed seeing it all like this in the years passed, I am uncertain. The cancer has affected me in other ways as well. It seems I am no longer in a rush – not anxious for anything coming at me from out in the world. Since cancer, I have slowed down – become more deliberate. The good things seem sweeter, more beautiful and lovely, while the mundane, non life threatening things out in the world seem so small and insignificant.
This is the two hundredth and seventeenth day I have known about the cancer. Over this time, I have either been recovering from surgery or sick from the chemotherapy. To say that this time has been without its challenges, well, you know that wouldn’t be a true statement. While it has been beyond difficult, and some hopelessness has burdened me at times, the sense of wonderment and appreciation for the Earth and the Universe have simply multiplied in me a thousand fold, and I have not often lost faith and hope. There has been more than one time, I was in so much pain and so sick, tears flowed down my face in sobbing fits of hysterical weeping. And while I have wondered how I could possibly continue such a harsh treatment program for what the doctors call “”life extending therapies” and not “life saving”, down deep in side me, I have not lost hope or faith.
I believe in these 217 days, I have accepted the possibility of death to this cancer, and I am not afraid. So as not to be confusing, I want to live to be an old man, but if that is not God’s plans for me, I truly am not afraid. And as odd as it may sound, this circumstance has brought forth in me a deeper, richer love for the world around me and the people in my life as well. So in this respect, and as ugly as it is, the illness has been a blessing. Contrary to what you’d think, I find that I am not as depressed and not as often as I have been in the past. I have less anxiety and so long as I have a little time left, which I believe that I do (I may be cured altogether, and that is what I hope for –it is not impossible) and as long as I don’t have to be really sick, physically for very long, I am okay with things. I have adjusted to it, or so it seems.
Still, it is not that I don’t have moments of profound emotional weakness. I do, and when I do see all of the beautiful things around me, or engage in an activity that I love, I do feel a sense of loss. But as a Christian, I feel certain that these things will be available to me in Heaven, whatever or where ever that may be.
As for now, I was originally scheduled to have twelve treatments. I have only been able to complete eight, and I have had three attempts at the ninth. My body shut down each attempt. They have suspended the treatments at the 2/3rds complete mark, and we are in a holding pattern until I can get in to see my doctors at UK. I am reasonably certain that I will go back on some form of treatment. Even though my scans from February were clear, the medical staff all state that the cancer will return and will probably even return if I am able to complete the last four treatments. My body is recovering well from the lack of chemo (it has been 50 days since I had a full treatment) and I am becoming much stronger. I am quickly becoming more able to do the things that I did before the cancer treatments, yet this happy thing comes at an expense. The stronger I get and the further away from the last treatment I get, I know that is possible that the cancer is growing and getting stronger as well, looking for a new home, perhaps in my liver or lungs. While this possibility is never far from my mind, I don’t experience a need to dwell on it; at least not very often.
I am utterly confident, the things that are suppose to happen will happen – and so long as I continue to do what the doctors suggest, and as long as you and I continue to pray about it, there is no need for any further action on my part. If I could jump in front of a large truck, and stop it by physical strength alone, I would do it in this case, but that is not possible, and that is a perfect metaphor for my circumstances. And since it is impossible for me to stop a large truck in this manner, I will forgo the attempt.
So with the knowledge that I am fighting as hard as I can, and with the family, friends and doctors who are working hard to make me as comfortable as I am, I will continue to enjoy and admire the rising spring and other seasons of the up and coming year. Oddly, while facing one of the worst possible human conditions, my own death, I have never felt more blessed. I Praise and give Thanks to God (in my own way) and I have the deepest sense of gratitude to all of my family and friends. For the first time in my life, I see with the most profound certainty that all things are possible through God. Living with stage 4 cancer and NOT being paralyzed in fear is proof enough to me of Gods loving grace.
God Bless All of You.