This morning, I awoke at 2. I had to use the bathroom, then I couldn't get back to sleep. This has become normal in the days after chemotherapy. Having caustic chemicals pumped into your chest has a strange effect on your body, things I didn't necessarily expect - but now take as normal.
Last month, I was reading the excellent blog by Dana Jennings of The New York Times, who writes about his fight with prostate cancer. His post on cancer operating on analog time in a digital world struck home with me because my life pretty much rotates around battling this evil that has invaded my body.
Cancer doesn't care that I'm the daddy of a precocious 5-year-old. It doesn't care that I would much rather play with her than run out of energy so quickly. It doesn't care that I am a night owl who likes to lounge as late as possible and now fall asleep before 9 p.m. and awaken before the sun arrives. It doesn't care that, given the alternative, I'd rather grow old with the love of my life.
Instead of living my life the way I want, the past five months have been on cancer's terms. Doctor's appointments. Surgeries. CT scans. Chemotherapy. Shots. Blood draws. Lots and lots of pills.
Chemotherapy is every 21 days. It's circled on my calendar. My life revolves around those dates with the angels at Columbia Basin Hematoloty & Oncology, not because I want to be there but because my cancer dictates it. It is a battle, a full-throttle, all-hands-on-deck, all-out war for my future. Whenever I feel beat down by the drugs and chemotherapy - when I get the slightest urge to give this cancer its due - I just look into my little girl's big, brown eyes and get a resurgence of strength.
I was chatting with one of my favorite nurses at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, and she mentioned off-hand that some patients will cancel their chemo appointments at the last moment. Maybe they don't feel like going for one reason or another. Is that even an option? I want this cancer out of me - and as soon as possible. I cannot imagine skipping chemo like I skipped so many college classes. This isn't about my GPA; it's about living.
Until I rid my body of lymphoma - and I will - I must live by its timetable, not mine.