I am getting bored with cancer. I don't even know how long I had it. It was exactly, as of today, one year ago that I went to my doctor. I had first seen "the lump" about three months earlier but chose to ignore it. I saw it everyday when I was shaving, sort of keeping track of it, but then when I got away from the mirror, I would just forget about it, go on about my day. There was never any pain, nothing to remind me and if I didn't see it in the mirror it wasn't in my thoughts. My daughters and my wife kept putting pressure on me to get it looked at. Three months of this (daughters and wife, not the lump) and I finally broke down and made the appointment. I have a really good doctor although I don't see him very often, maybe four times in my life. Why would you go to a doctor if you were not sick? Anyway, my fifteen minute appointment stretched to forty five minutes and I knew I was in serious trouble. Unless you are talking about golf doctors just don't do that. He did it all by just touching me and looking at me and talking with me. It is the forty years of doctoring. He had seen it before. I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he was certain. In the following weeks I was sent to a gallery of doctors and had a barrage of testing, biopsies and blood work,
cat scans and pet scans and God knows what, all to the same conclusion. I had "the port" installed in my chest and my tee shirts cut for easy access for this ABVD chemical cocktail they would be giving me. Twelve of them, every two weeks for 24 weeks. Six months that would try to dominate my life. It was pretty serious, the cancer had spread throughout me. I saw the scans, it was everywhere. This alien form eating me alive had spread from the lymph nodes into my spine and spleen, looking like I had been seeded with a shotgun, fool's gold in a cave. Fifty-fifty, those were my odds. This would have been tolerable if, once given
"the medicines", I had any sense of getting better. Quite the opposite happens. The ABVD cocktail is made from World War I mustard gas and it will make you very, very sick. If I were a doctor I would be making this out of fine brandies or good Scotch but they have no humor and no taste at all. Every day you wake up and it is worse than the day before. This goes on for six months or more and is a bit oppressive.
There is another side to this and that is the side I chose to take. Every day I did wake up. Think about that for a minute. Fifty-fifty odds became an even battle, not any kind of automatic defeat. I must have had 50% good, strong and willing cells in my body, capable of putting up a battle and willing to fight. I concentrated on those and every day gave them thanks and encouragement, learning to appreciate their strength. They wanted to live. I would give this cancer no quarters, no thoughts, none of my strength, nothing. There were days when I could barely function, didn't have the strength of a kitten. I did tons of thinking because that is all I could do. I couldn't read or watch T.V. without falling asleep. I went back, like watching old 8mm movies and relived my entire life, stealing the strength of my youth. I have lived twice.
What I do is Here.