I had chemo yesterday. So naturally, I am pumped full of energy given to me by the big dose of dexamethasone (a steroid) prior to the daratammumab infusion. I have swept the entire house, wiped down everything, sprayed an aerosol labeled “Funkaway” all over, and ate a bowl of rice with Teriyaki sauce. Oh, yeah, and had two cups of coffee – don’t judge; it’s what I do. My mind is abuzz with so many ideas. And yet, I am also saddened by news of yet another person near and dear to me that has been diagnosed with cancer.
My nephew’s stepmom (and one of my sister’s closest friends since she is co-raising her son) was just diagnosed with colon cancer after numerous misdiagnoses and losing so much weight that she is down to a whopping 98 pounds. She has a tumor in her ascending large intestine (colon) that is blocking about 80% of the passageway. She can’t tolerate anything solid. So she has been on a liquid diet for a while. She is struggling to say the very, very least.
In addition to a stepson, she has a son and daughter that are in various after-school activities, and a husband. She is very active in her children’s lives and has a lot of spunk and energy… normally. However, this has got her down in a very bad way. Naturally, she is tired. Tired of being sick, and tired of being just plain tired. This is not who she is. She pushes through fatigue like a linebacker. But this is different. It’s cancer. I mean how much more of a red light – or stop sign or construction worker telling you to stop and yield to oncoming traffic in a one lane passageway – can one get to being told to stop when all you want to do is get to the other side and down the road to where you need to go.
Due to my new life as a cancer patient, I reached out to her and offered encouragement and support. But what does one say to someone just diagnosed with cancer? If you were diagnosed with cancer, what would you want someone to say to you? I mean, God forbid it happen, but just stop to think about it for a moment. When I was diagnosed, I was in such a daze, confused by what I have since I didn’t know about it before hand, and overran with this feeling of vindication.
I had been struggling with lots of health issues for about 2 1/2 years before I was diagnosed. I was falling apart… literally falling apart! I had fractures everywhere, but no one believed me that there was something more wrong with me than a simple UTI and a femoral fracture. It was a bittersweet moment when the doctor said, “Cancer“. I thought to myself, “See, I was right! There is something genuinely wrong with this body of mine!” But in the same respect, I thought to myself, “Oh, no. I have cancer. I’m not ready to die. My kids need me still. My husband needs me. What do I do?” I began to think of the fellas graduating without me there. My husband remarrying. Not being able to meet my grandchildren, if that comes about.
I thought only about the worst case scenario… at the beginning. Slowly as I went to various doctor’s visits and settled into my new life as a cancer patient, I relaxed a bit, and began to see more positive things that came about in my life, like the rallying of my family and friends to help in childcare, transportation, and support. I saw this horrible monster of a thing bring out the goodness in people. Not that I would ever wish anyone to get cancer for this sake, but, “all things work together for our good,” right?
In addition to this news, my cousin-in-law’s brother was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and naturally she reached out to me for any and all advice. I told her everything that I could in that moment, remembering his situation is much different than that of mine. And trying not to scare the guy, I gave mostly things he could do as opposed to “this or this may happen”. He is very fortunate to have a spouse that is very involved. I sent a book also since they live on the other side of the state from me.
The take away from this post is: CANCER SUCKS!
Gotta go fill up my cup…..