Opinion: Column: Fortitude For a Fortnight

Opinion: Column: Fortitude For a Fortnight

Intestinal or otherwise. "All hands to the pump," (Downton Abbey), emotionally speaking. The weight of it all is not too much to bear, but it is pretty close to it:

  • 24-hour urine collection on Tuesday;
  • Pre-chemotherapy lab work and quarterly CT Scan on Wednesday (not often occurring on the same day but this cycle unfortunately they did);
  • Balance of Wednesday and Thursday waiting for lab results which ultimately determine whether I'm approved for chemotherapy on FRIDAY;
  • Thursday through Monday (or longer): waiting for scan results from previous Wednesday (my life doesn't hang in the balance exactly, but it's definitely hanging somewhere);
  • Friday: my actual chemotherapy;
  • Sunday through Thursday (post chemotherapy): feeling lousy, hardly eating, irregular sleep, tired all the time (typical post-chemotherapy side effects)
  • And finally, per my July 25 column entitled "Phoning It In," talking with my oncologist over the phone to discuss my scan, my treatment going forward, my life, etc.

In summary: Tuesday, July 24 to Monday, Aug. 6, two weeks of cancer "centricity."

Considering this first paragraph, no wonder I used the word hope and expressed per pen the written emotion so much in my previous two columns. When cancer or any other treatment for a serious disease, operation, recuperation, physical therapy and so forth is concerned, ultimately, what else is there?

Whether you're following doctor's orders and/or supplementing it with non-Western, holistic-type alternatives, rarely are there any guarantees other than as they say "death and taxes" and for a time was said in the 1940s and 50s: "The Washington Senators finishing last in The American League."

Nevertheless, hope springs eternal, as a formerly long-suffering life-long member of Red Sox Nation can attest: three World Series Championships since 2004 after breaking/braking the "Curse of the Bambino," (the 86-year drought since the Red Sox had last won the World Series in 1918 – Babe Ruth's last season playing for the Red Sox).

And as I live on/write on nine years and nearly eight months past a "13-month to two-year" prognosis diagnosed back in late February 2009, I am eternally hopeful – and always forever grateful.

And in spite of my amazing, miraculous good fortune, the last thing I do, and I mean the absolute last thing I do, is take any of it for granted. That is why the emotion so often expressed in pen and in person is hope. I am never going to betray/dismiss who and/or what has power over my outcome/life expectancy.

I mean, at the end of the day (heck, at the beginning of the day), I am a mere mortal and don't presume for a minute (or even a second) that living in the "Kenny lane" is sufficient to defeat the greatest advisory mankind has ever known: cancer. And though I am generally positive and optimistic, I am cautiously so.

After all, I'm just not supposed to blow by (live through) my original prognosis as if it was an arbitrary statement. It was the real deal, and when you first hear it, it's a surreal one at that. But here we are, late July, 2018.

At this actual real-time Friday-morning moment, I am on hold with oncology confirming that my pre-chemotherapy lab results are acceptable for today's infusion. (Otherwise, this fortnight will be extended by seven days.) As any cancer patient under treatment knows, one's presence is never really confirmed until the medical staff advises you. Soon, I will be advised.

In all the intervening moments, I am still waiting to hear back concerning the results from my CT Scan on Wednesday. Hopefully (there's that word again), we will hear before the weekend. It's so much easier to suffer through/anticipate the fortnight when news is known sooner rather than later.