“We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”
Ever since hearing the news that my cancer never actually went away, I’ve done some hard thinking. Obviously the first question that I asked was, “Wait, you said it was in remission, why’s it back?” Well, turns out that my cancer (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) grows so slowly that the chemotherapy medication Rituxen (Rituximab) doesn’t cure the cancer so much as only kill the growing cells. Therefore, anything dormant remained in my body until it lazily woke up and decided to grow again.
“Have a RAPTORous Halloween!”
The first time around I thought, “So, I have cancer, but if I put my body through a lot of terrible stuff I can exterminate it and it’ll be gone.” This gave me a lot of hope, and a very positive outlook. I felt like I had Cancer Lite ™! Then it came back, and my first-time-around innocence was wrecked by the fact that yep, I actually have cancer, it’s persistent and virulent, and it’s probably not going away easily.
When I realized that my cancer might never be fully treated by chemotherapy, and that it might return often, I got quite depressed! The depression didn’t lift until I got some good news on Tuesday, that the cancer might still be around, but it was once again in a small area, and we caught it before it got to the rest of my lymph system.
We’re trying to figure out a different treatment for this stubborn spot of cancer. Maybe it will be surgery (I’ll have a surgical evaluation next Tuesday). Maybe it will be a different set of chemotherapy drugs. What helps is knowing that even though it’s an enormous drag to have it back, it’s still something that can be dealt with.
I am incredibly lucky when it comes to depression. I don’t have any sort of clinical depression, so when I get depressed, it’s usually for a very good reason. The second it felt like my issue wasn’t life-threatening, my good mood returned. I focused on all the bad stuff that was NOT happening to me, and upon the fact that even if this is a life-long illness, at least it isn’t a DEATHLY illness, and shit happens to us all.
I filled my schedule with a lot of things (corn mazes and Disney and concerts and all kinds of stuff), and I also drew a lot. Creating ridiculous doodles is my reaction to stress, so I made some elaborate Halloween postcards. I made sure I was having fun! I tried to keep in mind this very important fact:
Enjoying life is the way to really live it!
Next step, surgical evaluation. I’ll keep people posted.