I went to the oncologist last week.
Back to the same office where everything started nearly three years ago.
Different oncologist of course. (I believe in “VooDoo Magic” thank you very much.)
But everything felt the same.
“Lets get you in for a scan and let’s get ahead of this thing.”
That’s not exactly what I had in mind for the purpose of the visit, but I couldn’t find my words. I couldn’t find a connection. There’s some disconnect between me and conventional cancer treatment. I can’t figure out how to connect with the fast paced world of oncology.
This world never feels personal. It always feels rushed. And I never find the right words to say.
I felt like I had cancer again for the first time in 8 months.
Last May I had a CT scan that showed some immeasurable spots on the liver. My oncologist at CTCA didn’t want me to go back on what worked before my surgery to shrink the tumors on my liver. We disagreed on the next steps for treatment and we went our separate ways.
I spent 6 of the past 8 months aggressively healing the body, mind and spirit. But the past 2 months have been a struggle emotionally. I’ve just felt stuck. Stuck on one side of the shore looking towards the other side.
I just don’t understand the idea to treat Stage 4 cancer with chemotherapy. Cancer is already everywhere. Once you start, can you really ever stop? Life becomes managing side effects and hanging your hope on scan results to see tumors shrinking. I’ve been through that life. It wasn’t enjoyable for me. It put death in the forefront of my mind. I just can’t see finding myself there again.
Immunotherapy? I’ve been told I’m not a candidate due to my auto-immune disorder. I do not want that to flare up on top of cancer.
Sometimes I doubt what I’m doing is working, but what else choice do I have?
Luckily, I still have faith.
“Take faith, for example. For many people in our world, the opposite of faith is doubt. The goal, then, within this understanding, is to eliminate doubt. But faith and doubt aren’t opposites. Doubt is often a sign that your faith has a pulse, that it’s alive and well and exploring and searching. Faith and doubt aren’t opposites, they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners.” – Rob Bell
Gut and Nutrient Test Results.
I met with my naturopath oncologist before Christmas and went over my Nutreval and GI Effects test results (reports attached). My body is doing well. My gut microbiome needs a little work, but for someone without a large intestine, I’m doing extremely well. My Nutreval was solid too.
If you want more information on either of these tests and what they mean or how to take it yourself, please send me a Facebook message or email me. My contact info is on this site.
All was going well at my naturopath appointment until she asked me a simple question that gave me pause.
“Are you depressed?”
“I don’t know.” I answered.
I feel so over cancer. I used to be able to get out of bed and juice and exercise so easily. Researching and blogging was a daily occurrence. I felt so positive that good things were right around the corner. But the past few months I just feel tired of the routine. And living day to day. And the “this is my life, forever” feeling of treatment.
It’s a lot.
It’s not easy to be a cancer patient. It’s not easy to be chronically ill for 13 years. I do my best to put on the face of the guy that can handle it, but it’s not always easy. Anyone who’s dealt with cancer or any chronic illness understands that sometimes you just don’t have it in you to deal with everything, everyday.
Those days have been here often lately.
I answered her question honestly.
“I don’t think I’m depressed, but I just feel tired of cancer. I feel tired of the day to day routine.”
We talked through it a bit and settled on that I really need to do something to help others deal with cancer, even if I’m still fighting cancer myself. I wanted to start a support group a few months ago but life happened. It’s scary how quick two months can fly by these days.
I’ve read this quote before, but I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago and it really stuck with me.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
“I need something to do.”
I’m hoping to soon find out how, when and where to hold a support group.
In the meantime, I’ve picked up my guitar again and I may or may not playing a song or two at a coffeehouse event at Gilda’s Club next month.
I just need something positive to do.
The Other Side.
Lately, my life feels like the photo I used for this blog post. Cancer is this huge, rough body of water. I can see the shore on the other side, but I have no way to get there. Swim? I try but I turn back around, winded and defeated. Sail? No boat in sight. And there’s nothing to build one with.
I imagine the other side as the opposite of what I’ve been feeling lately. Freedom from disease. Freedom from my thoughts. Freedom from worry. Treatment. Stress. Finances. A cure for every cancer exists over there. A place where 5-to-15-year-plans exist with the possibility of retirement planning, student loan payoffs and mortgage payoffs. A beautiful place where you grow old with your spouse and where kids grow up and outlive their parents.
The shore I find myself on is foggy and you can’t see past next month. You’re weighed down in worry and stress and you do your best to hide it. Fighting/healing is hard work and takes up the majority of your thoughts each day. It’s hard to plan for a future when staying alive today is more important.
It’s frustrating. And it feels hopeless.
But if you stop and take the time to look around you, you’ll start to see the beauty in even this. You’ll see others testing the waters and looking for ways to cross. You see some try to cross and turn back. Others try to cross and never make it. What’s special about this side of the shore is everyone is helping the others stand back up and look for another way to cross.
Then you witness a few people from the other side coming back here to help. They may not know how to get us to the other side, but they’ll pour their all into helping us find a way.
And every now and then you see someone make it through the waters.
I desperately want to find my way to the other side one day, but for now I belong here.
Helping others back to their feet to find their hope.
And keep their faith in a sea of doubt.