Cancer, Chemo and Not Giving Up
It’s 3am on Tuesday. I’m in the middle of round 3 of my chemotherapy treatments for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I haven’t slept in days.
This round has been extremely painful. I do like to imagine that the intense pain I’m feeling is the cancer being killed and scrubbed from my organs. Every time I’m hunched over in pain I try to envision my cancer being brutally destroyed inch by inch.
I’ve finally figured out what chemo is. It’s kryptonite, it’s the culmination of all things sad. It’s a megaton nuclear warhead in IV form. It’s pure condensed evil. It’s designed to help while hurting. I feel like accepting chemo is like making a deal with Dr. Facilier.
For those of you who don’t know what chemo is, it’s a vile cocktail of truly intense meds that’s designed to stop all cell growth, good and bad. You’re essentially killing your cancer while killing yourself.
Chemo is like riding on the back of a missle headed for earth and the idea is to jump up and off the missle right before impact.
There’s been some firsts tonight. I was in so much pain that I lay naked on the bathroom tile, pouring out sweat and was literally begging for death. This was followed by intense vomiting. The vomiting led to my first nose bleeds.
I’ve never wept or screamed like I did tonight. I passed out from the pain and found myself huddled around the toilet a few hours later.
For the very first time I felt like I’ve lost. I can’t do this anymore. I’m not going to make it. I can’t survive another day of this. As I lay on the tile weeping, I entertained the thought of giving up, letting go. Disappearring into the ether. No more pain. No longer a burden on Stef. I would have easily welcomed death’s warm embrace.
As I sat there hoping to die I realized this wasn’t me talking. That’s not who I am. I’ve fought every day of my life for one thing or another. I was bred for this sh!t. Why was I thinking this way? It’s the additional component of chemo that they don’t tell you about. Something about the chemo cocktail has an element of darkness. Sadness, loneliness, helplessness, it’s all bottled in there.
On the positive side of things I’ve found comfort in water. I bounce between my bathtub and our hot tub outside. Water helps more than my pain meds, go figure.
We have an old little 110v portable hot tub that Stef cleaned up and fixed just for me. She literally spent an entire day cleaning it out and putting it together just so I can have some relief. She’s amazing.
I don’t have much else to add other than this is a super tough time for us all. Now more than ever we need to help keep everyone moving forward. If you’re hurting, I’m here for you. I love you. If you need help, reach out. If you need someone to talk to, ask. You’re going to make it. You’re awesome. We’re all in this together, let’s do what we can to lift each other up during these dark times. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love and adore you all. You’re awesome.