Forgive me, readers, for the gap in this narrative. I've not been able to write and am unsure I have much to say.
The last month has been far more difficult than I'd ever imagined. They told me the effects of treatment were “cumulative.” What they didn't explain was how that accumulation would become a crushing weight.
I've become enveloped by a shroud of fear and lethargy. As I told my friend, Paul: “I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
I had two really bad weeks and one slightly better week after Round 3 of chemo. I should have been writing during the slightly better week but became distracted by family matters and personal struggles. The inkwell of my creative (and spiritual) soul seemed to have run dry.
I hate whining. When you step between the lines, you play your game, dammit. No one wants to hear your candy-ass excuses. Leave it out on the field or just stay the fuck at home.
Those sentences might have comedic value were it not for the ugly truth – my ugly truth – hiding in the cracks and crevices of the type that forms those words.
Okay. Let's take a cleansing breath. Find some positives.
Yesterday, God willing, was my last chemotherapy treatment. A good thing. Yet I find no sense of accomplishment in that, only mild relief that it's over.
And tomorrow is the last of the 40 radiation treatments to my chest. There is some hope that the end of radiation will shorten the chemo recovery time. That leaves me a month before I return to The Big Machine to have my brain zapped 15 times over a three-week period.
“Whole brain radiation” is now standard protocol for small-cell lung cancer. The brain is typically the next rest stop on lung cancer's highway to hell.
I have two scans next month that will show whether or not cancer has been kept at bay. I do not look forward to them. The foreboding possibilities, my personal sword of Damocles, keep me frightened.
Finally, the blood clot drama may not be over. I'll be undergoing stress tests in May at the Clinic to find out why my left foot and ankle still go numb, although preliminary tests show that blood flow in the leg is fine.
The vascular surgeon, Dr. Clair, suspects the problem might be a narrowing of the arteries somewhere higher in my body. If that's the case, he said, an angioplasty might be needed. I shouldn't be surprised given my history of smoking and high (bad) cholesterol count.
I apologize that this post looks like a transcript of an 85-year-old sharing his medical calamities, but that's what my life has become.
There is no pride to be found in my suffering. Only suffering.
I intended for this journal to show smokers the ugliness of lung cancer treatment. This is for you, smokers. Read it and weep.