I told Tim that lately it feels like I’m perpetually in a good mood. I’ve been feeling so good, in fact, that I was worried the chemo wasn’t working. My amazing caretaker of a mother was here last week and outside of a few sleepy periods and some medicinally induced heartburn (which I now have a prescription for), it was pretty much life as normal. (Probably BECAUSE of my amazing caretaker of a mother. Mommas always make it better.)
At my doctor’s appointment yesterday, my nurse reassured me that yes, the chemo was working, and that a positive attitude could do wonders. “The mind is way more powerful than any drug we could give you.”
I think a lot of it is surrounding myself with good people. The older I get, the more I realize that I feed off other people’s energy. Like food or something. And just like when I eat too much junk, and then feel like crap, when I am around negativity, I become drained and depressed. Essentially, it’s the spiritual equivalent of binging on processed cheese.
For example, Tuesdays are unexpectedly becoming one of my favorite days of the week. I have a couple of work meetings with departments that have really, really cool people (I’m serious about the wine, Susan!) and I usually end the day feeling refreshed and energized. And even on chemo Tuesdays, the oncology nurses are almost uberhumans they are so awesome. I look forward to being around them.
I know too that a large part of my experience is just being freakishly lucky. I have girlfriend in town; her father is dying and his last wish is to see her and the grandson he’s never met. I can’t imagine all the emotions she’s going through. He, too, has cancer. It looks nothing like mine. After I picked her up last night from her uncle’s house where her dad is spending his last days, pumped up on morphine, she told me through tears that her 3 year-old was afraid of her dad; the cancer has disfigured his face to the point that he was barely recognizable.
On a daily basis, I hear from someone I know that has cancer, had cancer, has a loved one with cancer. Daily. It likes the bullshit equivalent of seven connections to Kevin Bacon, or whatever that game is. Except you only need two connections, tops.
There are so many outcomes to this disease, so many ways each person’s cancer story plays out. Some people live long lives after the c-word is gone, thriving, and like me, chalk it up to the anticipation that 35 was never going to be my favorite year. But hey, I got some good gifts, a greater appreciation of the people in my life (and cantaloupe) and a new boob out of the deal. Others suffer immensely, struggling to the end in unimaginable ways, situations that make you question how there could be a God if he lets this kind of thing happen to the people he supposedly loves.
Do I think I’m in my shoes instead of someone else’s just because I’m an optimist? I’ve had more people praying for me or the individuals I surround myself are of the more positive energy variety? Not for a damn second.
I don’t get it at all and I’m no more the wiser on this side of the battle. Life is unfair and it can suck and this disease takes way too many of the good guys out. At my appointment, a research nurse asked me if I’d be interested in seeing if I could qualify for a clinical trial when this is all done. It would potentially involve another year of infusions, every three weeks, but there wasn’t a nanosecond of hesitation in my mind. Because not everyone that has cancer thinks it’s one of the best things that ever happened to them. Or has a cancer that is clearly diagnosed and can be accurately removed and beautifully reconstructed so that only a few faint scars serve as a lingering reminder.
Cancer may be my bitch, but truth is, it’s still a f@$king bitch.