More “good” news, more tears.
The new spot is gone. So no changes in treatment for now. I’ll have another scan and see my surgeon again in a month to finally (maybe) talk about the liver transplant they’ve been alluding to for a year now.
I bit my tongue during my appointment so I wouldn’t ask. Early on I used to ask “looking ahead” questions like that and I never got the answer I wanted, so I have stopped asking. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know the answer. “During the three years that I wait for a new liver will I have to see you and get my blood drawn once per month, stay on the chemo, and get a scan every two months?”
The answer is probably yes. Or maybe some qualified version of yes, like maybe I won’t have to see him every month, and maybe I won’t have to get a scan every two months, but I will stay have to stay on the chemo and no, this is still not going away.
I want it to go away.
I like my doctors, but I’ve already heard, multiple times, everything they have to say. I’m tired of seeing my oncologist every couple weeks. I’m tired of seeing my surgeon. I’m tired of waiting in the waiting room and of waiting in the exam room and i’m tired of getting blood drawn–and of reminding them to draw my blood. I’m tired of worrying about results and worrying i’m going to end up in the hospital for something again without notice. I’m tired of following up when they inevitably forget to call me to schedule something or forget to send a prescription refill to the pharmacy. I’m tired of getting bills, i’m tired of taking the chemo, i’m tired of getting scans. I’m tired of being a responsible, emotionally steady patient. I’m tired of contemplating big things like mortality, i’m tired of keeping everyone updated on things that have happened, i’m tired of being changed by this disease.
There was a brief moment late on Saturday night, when I was sitting at a familiar bar drinking a familiar beer with two familiar friends, in a very familiar city, that I felt normal. I felt like me–I felt like I used to. I didn’t have to think about any of these big things that I think about because I was just me, sitting in a bar, drinking a beer, talking about things that I enjoy talking about. It was wonderful. And then it was over–because I don’t sit in bars anymore, because I don’t drink beers anymore, because I don’t feel like just me anymore.
All of these things are just part of the ups and downs of cancer treatment. It’s OK to feel tired and sad.
But I can’t feel tired and sad for very long because it’s not good for my health to feel tired and sad. Sometimes, like now, I feel like i’m just holding onto my sanity and my strength by a string. I’m holding onto all of the organizing and staying on top of things that’s required when you’re a cancer patient, and all of the organizing and staying of top of things that’s required when you’re a graduate student–and my current health–everything, by a string. And if I stay tired and sad for too long that string will break and everything will come crashing down. I don’t think that will happen, because I have held it together during worse times.
Next Tuesday, I will have held it together for a year now. A year is a long time.