So, I took a week off from the blog. Hopefully you didn’t miss me too much.
We’re now officially a week away from my next hospital stay. Next Tuesday morning, I report back to the hospital for what should be a fun day – I’m having a portacath surgically inserted into my chest in the morning, then getting admitted back into the hospital in the afternoon to begin my first consolidation round of chemotherapy. The portacath gives them easier access to my veins so they can draw blood, push various drugs, and generally just poke holes in my chest for the fun of it. From what I’ve been told, I won’t even be able to tell that they implanted a button into my body. I don’t believe them.
Also, in the list of things to look forward to during my next visit, the dosages of the cyterabine that I’ll be receiving is changing, and thus, so are the side affects. While my first dose of cyterabine was an around-the-clock drip, I’ll now be receiving it in a three hour burst twice a day. This higher dosage of medicine comes with the nifty side effect of irritating your tear ducts, however, so during next week’s hospital stay (and the two after that), I’ll be receiving eye drops every two hours. Around the clock. For six days.
As you can imagine, I’m very excited about this upcoming stay. I can do anything for less than a week. I can do anything for less than a week. I can do anything for less than a week.
We’re not just sitting around dreading next week, however. With my counts mostly recovered, we’ve tried to engage in social activities here at the house as much as possible. We had friends over and made them dinner on Saturday night, marking the first time we’d used our kitchen to host guests. Last night, more friends came over and brought dinner to us, which was really nice. We also have visitors lined up for the end of the week as well, and it’s been nice to not feel quite so isolated even as I try to do my best to stay infection free during my time home.
In terms of overall health, I’m happy to report I’m still doing well. I had a bit of a downward cycle over the weekend, with a lack of energy on Saturday and a near-fever on Sunday, but those symptoms are both gone and blood tests on Monday morning confirmed that there’s still no leukemia in my system and all appears somewhat normal. However, like any disease that comes with a significant risk of recurrence, we’re learning that one of the main obstacles that we will have to overcome is analyzation.
I know that’s weird to say for a guy who spends his days crunching numbers and trying to interpret convoluted formulas, but we’re also realizing that there are going to be opportunities to overreact to any small deviation from normal in how my body feels on any given day, and that fear is going to try and turn every one of those into a chance to worry that the leukemia might have returned. This is, after all, the great deceit of fear – it only has power corresponding to the amount of faith you put in it. Fear offers us the chance to worry every time my neck hurts or my leg twitches, but we have determined that we will not live in fear of leukemia returning, but will live in faith that its time has passed and it will not return.
If it does come back, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but we will not worry about bridges that are not in currently in sight. This isn’t always an easy battle, and because of the mysterious nature of cancers in general, it is easy to give validity to fears that come. However, how we respond to fear a choice, and as for Amy and I, we have chosen that we will simply give fear no credit. We place no trust in what it offers, and we disregard its opportunities for worry.
Cancer diagnoses offer a prime breeding ground for fear. Thankfully, we don’t have to cultivate it, and we don’t have to let it overtake our thoughts. It’s not always the easy path, but a month after the original diagnosis, I’m proud to say that Amy and I are still here, still standing strong, and our faith is not wavering. Hopefully that’s still true when the nurses are waking me up every two hours to put #$*!& eye drops in my eyes.