Obviously I find comfort in writing. Obviously I have some need to put down on paper that which is in my head. In fact, evidence suggests that cancer patients who write about their feelings have some kind of improved quality of life and/or longer life expectancy. Let’s hope so because I have those feelings and I certainly am writing about them. As it relates, the date on which I’m hand-writing this column is the date three weeks out approximately, before I’m scheduled for my every-four-month CT Scan and every-12-month Full Body Scan. I’ll know exactly how I’m doing – after the oncologist advises me of my scan results. Saying or doing anything now, assuming any facts not yet in evidence, hardly seems like a prudent course of presumption. Yet here I sit, pen in hand; with cats on the table.
As much comfort and companionship as “The Boys” (Biscuit and Chino) provide, they can’t eliminate my cancer thoughts, especially the thoughts now, during those final weeks leading up to the scans, when the rubber will really hit the road, when an inanimate piece of technology will determine my immediate future. Nor will the technician assisting me that day play any part in the outcome. Although it doesn’t stop me from asking for a good result. Usually I’ll receive a smile and a thumbs up in response. Joking with the staff seems to put me at ease and soothes the savage beast in me that is working like crazy to maintain the healthy (all things considered) status quo that has characterized the preceding 34 months.
But there’s only so much pretending one can do. The scan will ultimately tell the tale. Hopefully it won’t be a tale of woe because woe is me is not how I operate, which is good since my tumors (stage IV) are inoperable. In fact, stage IV means inoperable, I believe. Synonymous seems too innocent a word to attach to such a life-changing and serious diagnosis/prognosis, but if the shoe fits (which it doesn’t anymore because of the edema in my feet, a side effect of the high blood pressure medication I take in an attempt to meet the levels mandated by the manufacturer of the targeted treatment drug, Avastin, which I’m infused with monthly), I suppose at this stage (pun intended) I should be happy to wear it.
And I most definitely am wearing it, a larger size though. But to not admit that all of this cancer stuff wears on me would be a lie. And since, generally speaking, I don’t like to lie, and I have this need to vent and the space to vent it (and from all indications and feedback, a fairly receptive and interested audience on whom to vent), I am writing this column about the betwixt and between that a cancer patient (who’s terminal) feels waiting for words to live by, words which have never been promised, are not guaranteed, subject to change and totally out of my control: “All stable. No growth and/or movement.” Positive (meaning good) scan results.
All I can do is wait. When I know, you’ll know. There’s not much else to say really, but I’ve tried to say it anyway; except, the longer I’m a patient, the less patient I seem to become. I’m not losing it yet, but I’d sure like to find it. A cure would be nice, but I’ll settle for more encouraging/stable scan results. It is said that “Good things come to those who wait.” I only wish it were that simple.
Kenny Lourie is an Advertising Representative for The Potomac Almanac & The Connection Newspapers.