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.
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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.