Before I went into the chemo room, we met with my oncologist. It went something like this-
The doctor walked into the exam room and said that he had the results from my CT scan. He told us that I have numerous small spots in both my lungs, one large and one smaller spot on my liver, and a spot on the bone of my back.
Then he paused.
He went on to say that if I wasn’t emotionally up to having chemo today that we could reschedule. He paused again.
I remember thinking, “That’s weird”…. He had just told me that the cancer was by far worse than we had all expected. And yet he asked me if I want to go home and think about it? Once I got out of my head the only thing I could think to ask was about our previous chemo discussion. Is the treatment changing with all the new results?
He said cancer had already progressed and the treatment would be aggressive. I had planned for chemo today so I wasn’t leaving without it.
The oncologist asked if I had any other questions. I just looked at Steve, and he asked the hard question, “What is the prognosis?”. “The short answer? Two-ten years.” And that was pretty much the entire conversation.
I was just told “you are going to die from cancer”.
I remember a few minutes later sitting in the chemo room. Looking at Steve, I realized that my 80+ year-old parents may outlive me. In that moment all I could think to do was cry, but I looked around the room at the other patients and thought it didn’t look like their day was going too great either, so I held it in. Six hours later I had finished that first chemo treatment. The Oncologist never even came back to the chemo room. Left in complete shock, we headed home.
Hope may just be the best word in the English language. It has synonyms like #expectation, #longing, #desire, #confidence, #trust, and #faith. We use it when we want to describe some of our deepest emotions, with phrases such as our only hope, no other hope, false hopes, and the saddest one of all — no more hope.
Hope can take so many different forms and meanings and even change from hour to hour, but I believe it is one thing all cancer patients and their loved ones can agree they need. Hope won’t come easily for all of us. You more than likely will have your own way of dealing with your diagnosis and your own way of finding hope. For me it has been finding hope in moving forward.
I knew from the beginning for me to keep hope means to live my day to day life exactly like I was prior to having the word cancer in my life. Ok, so not exactly. Remembering all of things I had hoped to do prior to “D” day… Well those things, I do them all post “D” day without hesitation. Moving forward and living the life that I have always dreamed of helps me keep my hope. I choose happiness and I choose hope. I have found that when I choose to be happy I am also choosing to be hopeful. Yes, I have a terminal disease that will one day end my life. But we all have an appointment with death and I choose not to feel sorry for myself.
Thinking of all #cancer #warriors when the progression of the disease has taken its toll. The options of treatment have long past. What kind of hope do they find as they lay in hospice? Hope in no more pain? Hope of their families carrying on without the disease’s limitations no longer a part of their lives?
I am blessed to be doing well with my current treatment. I will have other treatment options when necessary. And in the meantime I am working on living my life to the fullest and working on keeping the hope for peace in my heart when my time comes.