Notes from the Front Lines, January 2016
The years prior to the war were spent in relative contentment. My chosen occupation had given me the opportunity to spend my days in the company of young children. Filling me with their warmth and laughter but most importantly building within myself super-antibodies from the filthy germs they spewed daily.
Stress? Not with 2-3 beach vacations a year with my favorite fella. My children maturing nicely and not pissing me off too much made home life content.
The consumption of bean sprouts and tofu combined with weekly spin classes and yoga had my mind and body in sync with the cosmic alignment. My opponent had underestimated me. It would prove a costly error.
The Battle of Surgery Fu**in Hurts!
The war began with an invasion. The surgeon leading the charge was the best in the country. The enemy was taken swiftly. There were casualties. Half a pancreas and the spleen were lost. Recovery was slow, the pain massive. After they wrenched the morphine pump from my fist they sent me home with a couple of Oxy, Snickers bars and a clean bill of health.
Ten months later a routine scan showed my liver looked more like swiss cheese. A battalion of tumors had invaded my liver. Their sheer number and size precluded any kind of surgical assault. Understanding the cunning of my adversary I had already begun assembling my battle forces months before.
I recruited two general commanders, a medical oncologist and a research oncologist. Considering the rarity of my cancer, I needed someone on the cutting edge.
Both women, they are the most important relationships I have. Yes, husbands can prove to be very helpful also, but its much more difficult to find an excellent female oncologist in the tri-state area. You can always get another husband. People do it all the time.
From a terribly short list of options, the doctors and I made a plan.
The Battle of Chemo Hill
Chemotherapy. Drugs used to eradicate cancer cells. There were five types available and we would use each in succession. The plan was to use each one for the longest available time and destroy as many tumors as possible.
For four years the battle raged. One treatment never took hold, another failed quickly and the enemy made deep inroads, ultimately taking out half a lobe. Another worked so well, some tumors shrunk completely away resulting in a year long cease fire that I enjoyed tremendously. Oh, my friend Jose Cuervo, I miss ye…
There were losses, a couple of toenails and some loose teeth. One drug removed the pigment from my hair turning it white! Stopping the drug caused it to turn brown again!
We’ve now entered into a new era. Nuclear medicine. A trial study begun in Europe has given me the opportunity to become participant #3 in a targeted radiation therapy. My lucky number.
Specific chemicals attached to radiation are blasted through the bloodstream to attach to receptors on each individual tumor. Once there, the chemicals cause the tumors to swell and BOOM!
My first treatment was Thursday. I am now fully radiated and looking forward to whatever mutant superpowers I may have acquired.
I have added 3 new general commanders to my war council/book club. General of Morale, General of Spiritual Advisement and General of Nausea Abatement. They are diligent and capable in their roles.
I am now recruiting Storm Troopers.
Here’s hoping the enemy is on the run. I’ve already booked next years vacation.
From the Frontlines on the War on Cancer