With 2022 coming to a close, I'm feeling reflective. It's difficult to paint a picture of the year's ups and downs. I can only liken the year to a sine wave; my level of enjoyment rising and crashing as the complexities of cancer ebbed and flowed. The frequency shifting—sometimes hourly—as the year progressed. But life itself tends to be unpredictable, anyways, doesn't it?
Once again it's that time of year where friends, family, and colleagues get together to celebrate the holidays, imbibing in such abominations as eggnog and snacking down on abhorrent recipes of fruitcake.
For my 35th birthday, the Ontario healthcare system gifted me an oncology appointment: my first since finishing chemotherapy less than a month ago. I officially received word that I'm in the NED stage of my my cancer treatment. No evidence of disease.
Cancer Canuck has been making the rounds on social media. So, who am I? Why am I here? Learn more about the man behind the cartoon crab.
I was diagnosed with stage IIIC colon cancer as an elder millennial—thirty-four when I received the news—and facing my mortality so directly was not something I'd ever done before.
I want to preface this piece by saying that it was incredibly painful to write. It took me about three hours and a dozen Kleenex as I revisited the experience of my mom living with colon cancer. I miss her terribly and, with my father's permission, have published this in her memory with the hope that it helps others navigating their own losses understand that they are not alone.
Heading into survivorship is an interesting thing. It marks the end of treatment. yes, but it comes with some new pressures. When your job through treatment is to focus on getting better, what do you do when there's nothing left to be done?
Finally, I'm done. One surgery and twelve gruelling chemotherapy sessions later, I'm sitting at the end of my treatment path. Well, I will be when I have my take home infuser disconnected on Sunday.
Sitting in the chemotherapy unit, I can't help but look around at the different people who find themselves in such a terrible place. Here, under the glow of mismatched fluorescent lights, between the clinical, beige walls of the hospital, people are fighting for their lives.
Dealing with cancer since February has been exhausting. As I approach my final few rounds of chemotherapy, I can't help but wonder how long the exhaustion will last. Will I ever find my energy again, or am I doomed to be a husk of my former self?