Today I am on my 8th day in the hospital. It has been very difficult for me this round. But let’s first start off with the fun stuff.
I had my son Brandon in San Diego for 32 amazing days. He is the best medicine :) Fortunately, we timed everything just right, and I was only in the hospital for six of those days.
When I got out, I felt surprisingly healthy. I went to the beach, swam in a pool, took bike rides, threw a frisbee, and played catch pretty much every day. I also learned Minecraft, thanks to Brandon. I remember trying to teach my parents Mario Bros, and they were clueless. They just couldn’t pick it up. That is how I felt trying to learn his game. I guess each generation will get more and more confused by the games our kids play.
It felt nice to feel pretty normal. When I say ‘pretty normal’, I mean far from normal, but not in any pain. More energy.
Now I’m back in. This round is called 3B. It takes place over two phases. You go in for 4-5 days, and then out for a week. Then back in again. They give you chemo for 36 hours, and then special fluids to rescue you from the chemo effects. Your levels have to get down to .1.
The last round, my levels dropped to the desired range within two days. This round, however, my kidneys have suffered injuries. Basically, they got their kidney butts kicked. So my levels have not been able to recover at the same speed. I’m stuck. It is now Day 8, and I am still here.
I think it is always important to stay as positive as possible. That is the best way to heal. But everyone has a breaking point. I will fully admit that this round broke me a bit. This round, this final round, has been brutal. It is like a tease. You will see pictures of me at the beach and think, “Wow, looks like he is getting better!” And I am. But then, the second I go back on chemo, I go right back to where I was physically. I feel so weak right now, like an old man.
This round, I have experienced things that I hadn’t really gone through in all the previous rounds, like post-traumatic stress. I have felt anxious, depressed, frustrated, angry, and, negative. These are all words that I would definitely never use to describe me. Actually I am the exact opposite. But you reach a point, (and I believe this exists in every human), where you just can’t take it. You feel defeated. I had moments of this for the first time in my life, and I couldn’t escape it. So yesterday I just embraced it. I cried a bit, then cried some more, and then a little more after that. I couldn’t help it. But after that, I felt a little better.
Now, I believe there are two ways to recover. 99% of the time I am going to keep it positive. I think it ultimately helps the healing process much quicker. But 1% of the time, If I need to, I will allow myself to crawl in a ball and have a little pity party. It mentally released a lot of frustration, and I am feeling better today.
This isn’t easy. It is not the same as feeling tired and waiting to have energy again. There is no feeling like this. Your body just takes a beating. It really is a war.
The good news is that this is my final round of in-patient treatment. Assuming my Pet scan checks out well, I will not have to stay at the hospital anymore. When I go in for chemo, I will be able to leave afterwards. I will also be taking chemo pills/steroids at my own house. It will still be tiring, but there really is no place like home. I wish I could click my heels and be there now. So I am in a waiting game until my numbers improve and my Kidneys repair themselves.
So back to the good news/fantasy. I am hopeful that the doctors clear me to go home tomorrow. I am optimistic that my Pet Scan will be clear, meaning that Cancer can no longer be detected. Then, I begin my two years of maintenance. During this time, I will grow my hair back, start working out more, take a trip with April to see the fall leaves, visit Brandon, work a couple of days a week at the studio, hang out with my new nephew, enjoy my family and friends, throw on the baseball uniform and play first base and bunt, ride my scooter, go to the beach, eat at restaurants, go to the All Star Game, and just enjoy my body getting healthier every day.
I don’t think these are crazy dreams. I look forward to seeing them come true very soon.