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.
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.
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?
October 1st marked the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. Believe it or not, this also marks a very divisive time in the breast cancer community. As a result of all of the pink ribbon campaigns, there's a real sense that the pinkwashing of an extremely deadly disease undermines the severity of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer always kills.
One of the quick lessons that you learn when you're diagnosed with cancer is just how important it is to hold hope as you navigate the gauntlet of tests, scans, and treatments. For those living with cancer, hope is a concept that can change rapidly and unexpectedly. When cancer becomes metastatic, hope looks a lot different than it does with less advanced cancers.
I'm marching toward the last of my planned chemotherapy treatments, carefully counting the days until I no longer feel like trash due to the wonderful, awful drugs being pumped into my veins every two weeks. It's hard to believe that, in eight months minus one day, I'll have been diagnosed, had surgery, and completed my planned treatments.