My promise to myself and anyone reading my posts is to be 100% transparent throughout. I may even contradict myself from the beginning post to the end of my posts, as my feelings will certainly evolve and change. So here it goes.
Reality… Even though Cancer really sucks on the body, my spirit and mentality remain a 10 out of 10, as self-promised. I am very happy and optimistic, and have nothing but fight in me to keep pushing forward. So what I am going to talk about is purely physical feeling.
Before I had Cancer, I would just hear about someone who had it. If they survived it, I would just be happy for them. Like, “alright, good for them, that is awesome.” If they didn’t survive it, I would feel sadness for them and their family. But I was ignorant to the fight that you go through with Cancer. It really is a daily battle on your body and wits. I didn’t understand that until recently.
A month ago I was 200 pounds. I was at the gym 6 days a week, and in the best shape of my life. I had been working out 8 months straight. I will self-admit that I was the hottest version of myself possible. I did shoot a couple of selfies. Ha ha.
I am 100% positive that being in shape is why I am here today. My lungs should not have been able to breathe with the amount of blockage and fluid that was present. So working out proved its value. But I have lost 30 pounds in 1 month. I have regained my 1994 high school body, which is naturally skinny. With all the treatments, there really is no choice for weight gain. What happens is that all the muscle basically melts away. But I think I am at a good maintenance point now where I will stay at this weight.
Although my brain is 38, my body feels like it is 90. It feels better to bend my knees than to stand upright, and it is more comfortable to slouch. Old man withers… Then there are the tingles. From the steroids (which are very important for the chemo) comes a tingling sensation in the fingers. It doesn’t hurt, but feels extra sensitive. I also feel little flutters in my heart. Not dangerous… but I definitely know my heart is there, which is strange. Under normal circumstances, we get used to things just working. I have constant small reminders that my body is actually functioning and keeping me alive.
Along with the steroids comes heightened anxiety. I have never understood or had anxiety until now, but it is very real. Your body gets antsy and unsettled. Like having 10 cups of coffee. I use all my mental techniques to control it, but it goes beyond that. It’s chemical. So there are medicines to help even you out. Unless you take the medicines, you feel tired, but wired at the same time. Last night I went to bed at 3:30 am, but didn’t even feel tired until around 10:00 pm. That was partly my fault, though, because I was convinced I could sleep without medication. I should have taken the Ativan earlier. I am just not accustomed to taking meds. In the past, I even avoided Tylenol. Not any more though.
There are more physical effects that come from the Chemo, which makes your energy come and go in waves. It isn’t like being under the weather, where you just feel lazy-ish. It is more like a weakness overtakes you in pulses and ripples. Accompanied with Chemo is an acidic feeling behind my sternum. It is almost like nausea, but not as extreme. More like when you read a book during a car ride for too long. There is also an effect much like when you yawn, and you feel that buzzy sensation around your head… But with the Chemo, that feeling sticks around for hours, rather than ten seconds seconds you yawn. Again, none of these things hurt outright, but they definitely make themselves known.
Then there is Senna. Senna is a drug you take to make sure you stay regular. Otherwise, you don’t get Chemo, and you don’t want to interrupt that. So the stomach is always gargling a bit.
I’m not sure if everyone who goes through this has the same experiences. I can only speak from my own perspective. Between all of these different drugs, mixed in with the actual Cancer, my body is left feeling old, frail, and achy. Some moments are better than others. Cancer is a battle for sure. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. My situation is more extreme than many, because of the intensity of treatment needed.
I’m not sharing this to get sympathy, or to inject more fear of Cancer. Rather just walking you through a day in my life. The funny thing is that living is so worth going through all of this. There are a lot of tunnels to pass through, for sure. But none of them matter. They all have light at the end of them.
Although I vowed to live in the moment, and maintain happiness (which I am), I can’t help but fantasize sometimes about my future. My dreams have simplified, though. I look forward to stepping back on the baseball field with my Sluggos teammates. The longest I have gone without throwing a baseball in the last 10 years, other than when I had shoulder surgery, is maybe a month. I look forward to pitching just an inning, even if I throw 50 mph and suck. I just want to step back on that mound to feel complete. I look forward to dunking a basketball again in a pickup game. I look forward to just jumping.
I am excited to travel. I look forward to giving Brandon a piggyback ride. I look forward to holding Baby G, my sister’s kid-on-the-way. I see April and I with a cute baby in our new house. I won’t escape today for the promise of tomorrow, but I do look forward to the future, and all the surprises it will bring.
For now, the good news is that they did let me out of the hospital early. So I am at my folks’ home, the same place I grew up in as a kid. I haven’t lived at my house in 19 years. So it is a different experience, to say the least. But thank God I have such amazing support. It feels nice to have the comfort of my family around me. I know as much as my Mom would love to see me healthy, she secretly likes going into ‘mom mode’ to make me a sandwich and clean my pillows. That is beyond comforting and I appreciate it very much. I couldn’t imagine going through this alone.
As for the next steps, I am outpatient this week. This means that I will be going into have Chemo at the hospital on Friday. They will also do Cat Scans to see my progress. Then, through the next six months, I will be in and out of the hospital. Sometimes I will stay there for a few days. On a couple of occasions, when the Chemo is really at its height, I will be living at the hospital for three weeks at a time. So for now, I savor the time at home.
That wraps up the health update of the day. I love you all and wish you a very happy day, every day, and lots of good health.