Monday, March 12, 2018

I want to live like's an update from my new oncologist...

"I'm doing better than before, but I still don't feel right," I said. This was my first appointment with Dr. D, my new oncologist.  "It's been over two years since chemo began...and I'm still not well..." Then...the magic question..."Will I ever get better?"

(To date, there's no remission for the type of cancer I have, Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia. I went through intensive rounds of chemotherapy in 2015, and have been receiving ongoing treatments every 6 months ever since.)

"What's happening," Dr. D asked. He pulled up a chair, averted his gaze, and listened intently.

"I'm constantly debilitated," I said. "I feel like I have the flu. I'm like a cellphone that's stuck in the red zone and drops to black. And, depending on the day. I feel quite sick." I recited a litany of agonies...fatigue, intestinal uproars, dizziness, bone pain, headaches...

Suddenly, he spoke. "That's good," he said. "We want that!"

I paused mid-sentence. What?

He looked at me. "It's working," he declared.

I cocked my head.

"The treatments are supposed to trigger your immune system to attack the cancer cells...It's working," he said. "We're killing cancer cells!"

Really? I thought. That makes sense.  I smiled.

"Unfortunately, it produces the same effect as when your system works to fight off a virus or the flu," he added. "That's why you feel so bad."

For some people, the drug doesn't work.

But I'm one of the lucky ones. It is working for me. My numbers are good.

"Forever?" I asked. "Will I need to have these treatments forever?"

The oncologist stared at the notes in his hand, nodded his head and murmured a response, "Yes."

Then he looked at me.

"It's working," he said. "So the next time you feel awful like that...just's good news...We're killing cancer cells!"

Now that's a positive spin! I'll take it!

(Of course, I went home and did my own research, which confirmed that this drug, a targeted drug, adheres to the cancer cells which my system is continually producing...and it adheres to the excessive protein produced by my healthy cells. All of that results in viral-like symptoms. No wonder I can't control how I feel...I can only react to it.,,Some days are good...some days are not...It controls me...I don't control it. Makes sense now though. And I also learned the drug lasts in your system from 6 months to 3 years. No wonder I need to have treatments every 6 months!)

Somewhere deep inside, a light lit. I realize...once's time to move on with my life...get on with it...quit waiting to feel 'normal'...move the life I've been given.  

So will you listen to this awesome song with me?  Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets. I fall so short, but all my hopes and dreams are in this song..

Have a great day, and thanks for being here.

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