waiting

I haven’t been writing because I’ve been busy waiting.

Waiting for school to start. Waiting to have the time to unpack my new apartment. Waiting for my boss to give me things to work on. Waiting to go on dates. Waiting for my sprained ankle to heal.

Right now I’m waiting, too. Waiting for the nurse to bring the labels so the lab can draw yet another vial of blood. Waiting for the results to come in. Waiting for the nurse to show the results to the doctor. Waiting for the doctor to look at the results. Waiting for the nurse to come out to tell me what the doctor said. Maybe, waiting for a prescription or for a shot.

And while I wait, I try not to get angry at the amount of time that I spend waiting in frigid, windowless waiting rooms and frigid, windowless exam rooms. Lately, too much time. Just this week: close to five hours. All of these hours adding up to days and weeks and months and years of my life, spent waiting. Maybe all of this waiting is helping put years on my life, but it might all even out in the end.

This chemo is not going well so far. I have to wait another month for a scan to tell me whether it’s working for the purpose it’s intended, but for now it’s content to wreck havoc on my bone marrow. It’s amazing, actually, that such a little, harmless-looking white pill can create so many problems in such a short period of time. Just four days on this pill, just four doses (or the combined effect of those four doses with all of the other doses I’ve ingested in the last month), sent my immunity spiraling to new lows. It sent my doctors and nurses running to sign the pieces of paper that allow them to load me up with shots and antibiotics.

I just have to sit and wait. I get alarmed at the low numbers that the lab sends back; but I feel fine. I feel worse when I get the shot that sends my immunity shooting to super-human levels. My skin feels tender like it does when I’m sick. And my bones just ache.

Someone asked me the other day, “Why keep taking this medication if it’s causing this many problems?”

It was a good question.

I said, “This medication is the last ‘easy’ option, where I can take a pill every day, experience supposedly minimal side effects, and keep the tumors at bay. It’s causing a lot of problems, but it might be working too.”

Now, as I wait, I wonder if what I said is true. This medication is not easy for me. It might be easy compared to some of the other treatments that cancer patients are made to endure. But really, when I spend most of my time waiting, or driving to and from the doctor, or laying on the couch because my bones ache (and because my sprained ankle is swollen), I don’t have much time left over to live my life.

I started this treatment thinking it would fail. After months of hearing doctors sing its shortcomings, and after taking a very similar medication that had very similar side effects that ended up failing, I wasn’t overly hopeful. So now I feel like I’m just waiting for the doctors to finally figure out what I’ve known all along: that this medication just isn’t going to work for me. I want to stand up, shut down the paper-signing and the lab-testing and announce, definitively, that I’m done. “Time to move on!” Start the next treatment already so I don’t have to wait anymore.

Still, I can’t be certain.  There’s a glimmer of possibility: it could be working. It could be killing cancer cells while it’s killing white blood cells. The little bit of medication that I have been able to tolerate could be enough. It could be working while I wait. And that’s what matters, right?

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9 Responses to waiting

  1. Kaitlin Pike says:

    Like most things in life, if you don’t try, you’ll go nuts thinking you missed an opportunity. Still sucks though :-/

  2. Juliann Long says:

    Hang in there Linz! Power of positive thinking? If it doesn’t work, at least they can cross this one off the list and you won’t have to hear about it anymore.

    I hope your sprained ankle heals quickly. Those are so inconvenient and seem to take forever to get back to normal.

  3. Juan ramón says:

    Hola Lidnsey, i follow all your posts.i´m from Spain.more i read about you more i think you have the soul of a fighter.Fighter always win.
    hope you get well soon!

    greetings ;)

  4. Andrew bland says:

    you are a wonderful human being. My advice is that your belief matters most. I really hope you take pure marine phytoplankton – its the basis of life on earth and i hope you get some and give your body what it needs to get well. the body itself is the best doctor and nutrition is key. Let food be thy drug n all that. Xxx ps this is not spam, it wont post without email n website it seems.

  5. Matt says:

    That’s alot of uncertainty!

    One day I had waited for a long time in
    the waiting room & then again in the private
    room.

    I was very aggravated when the Doctor walked
    in & he asked me what the problem was.

    I told him that I had to wait too long.

    He said, “Don’t get sick”!

    I just looked at him & laughed!

    Occasionally I do need to be put back in my
    place!

    I learned two things that help me to pass the
    time waiting & still feel like I have some control
    over my life.

    I meditate…

    I breathe in…I breathe out.

    I feel my breath as the cool air passes through
    my nostrils & then again as the warm air passes
    through my lips.

    And I am reminded of how important a moment
    can be.

    I begin to feel my body begin to relax…

    I claim these moments as mine.

    I am not surrendering these hours to disease.

    I am taking this time to empower myself.

    I also read/memorize positive affirmations.

    I imagine myself planting good seed in fertile
    soil

    I imagine the medicine giving me exactly what
    I need for as long as I need.

    So these hours that I must sacrifice are no longer
    a burden.

    I wait on my terms now, Lindsey.

    Something to think about…

  6. Jill says:

    Lindsey~ I recognize your anguish of both waiting and wondering…….You sometimes have to find out what doesn’t work before you find the thing that does. Your voice, your perspective, is nothing short of extraordinary.

  7. Mark Goldberg says:

    I totally get what ur saying. I am fighting cancer myself and recently changed prescriptions that should make it “easier”. But I feel whipped out and exhausted most days.

  8. J.T. says:

    Lindsey, it is hard but there is hope. I am a pancreatic cancer patient, was shocked when diagnosed and my pancreas was seriously damaged during an ERCP procedure. That was four and half years ago. I am grateful that I did not give up at that time and has been able to live a normal life since my Whipple. Do your best to fight!

  9. Paul Glowiak says:

    Lindsey-

    I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand over you or give you a magic pill to make you better. That doesn’t exist yet. What I can do is tell you that I am praying for you to beat this and get better. I think about you a lot and when I see you have posted, I think “Is this the day she is finally cancer-free?”

    I always have hope for you, hope that you win this fight. In the meantime, yes it sucks. I just want them to quit screwing around and start attacking this even harder, and to make sure that they are addressing all of your concerns. I have daughters your age, and I hope that they never have to go through a serious illness like this, and if they do that they have your courage and fight. You are amazing.

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