Hello, my name is Jay and it’s been three weeks since my last infusion…
Most of the side effects are gone. I can brush my teeth with real toothpaste. I can drink Mexican Coke and chew my favorite tobacco. Food tastes amazing and I think I may have put on a few pounds. Most of the nerve pain in my back is gone. My gut functions seem to be returning to normal. No hair yet, but I know soon it will start growing back. I’m starting to feel like myself.
After I made the decision to quit chemo, I had a few days freak-out. Really a silent internal freak-out. Had I made the right decision? Was I quitting; giving up? Should I still be fighting?
I spent those few days thinking through the questions. The answer always came back that I had made the right decision.
The semantics around cancer lean towards the fighting metaphor. I wrote a blog post once using the fighting metaphor to describe my own relationship with cancer. The time has come for that to change. I don’t want to fight anymore. My obituary will not say, “Jay lost his brave battle to cancer.” I choose not to fight anymore. I picture me and my family huddled in a muddy trench on the Western Front of WWI. We climb out of the sodden hole and walk away from the battlefield. No white flag of surrender; we just walk away. We head into a small town, eat warm food, drink hot chocolate and coffee, and then we go home to a hot bath and our own beds. Choosing a different path. Choosing to live with cancer instead of dying from cancer.
Death doesn’t scare me right now. I’m sure it will on and off until the day actually comes. It’s officially October, the month I have been saying would be my chemo break month. We have plans. Adrienne and I are going to Carmel next week to stay in a vacation home for three nights. We don’t know the people who own the house, but they are letting us stay for free. Thank you!
We are taking the kids out of school to go to Zion National Park. I really want to show it to them. We’re staying in a house with a hot tub overlooking red rocks. We’ll walk up the Narrows a bit, get our hair wet at the weeping rock where the water has been underground for a thousand years, and sit and stare up at the rocks for awhile.
I promised the kids I would dress up for the Halloween party we are having at the house. So far I have committed to being Indiana Jones. I think I can pull it off.
Adrienne and I will celebrate our first anniversary this month. Funny, both of us always forget what the date is. I want to find an excuse to wear my wedding suit again.
When I was in college, I had two best friends, TRJ and EP. TRJ lives here in Vallejo and EP lives out of state. She is coming to visit this month. Adrienne insists we have a slumber party, eat snacks and listen to records. I’m looking forward to it; although I won’t last until two or later like I could back then.
October looks good. I wonder what November will bring.