I have been searching all day for a word to describe how I feel about starting cancer treatment tomorrow (Tuesday 4/26). I had thought a while about my word being “INVINCIBLE”. I thought it was strong and powerful, and meant that I was ready to dominate. I do feel those things, but I don’t feel invincible. I am strong. I am ready. But invincible? That word is a little strong for me. I have chinks in my armor, we all do. I also don’t think that I need to be invincible to beat cancer. What I have to do is tolerate the chemo drugs that are going to do all the work. I need to be smart and strong. But, my word for today is not invincible. It does not feel right.
If you bear with my stream of consciousness description of my day today, I will eventually get back to this.
I woke up this morning thinking about ‘Treatment Eve’, 15 years ago, the day prior to the start of my radiation treatments during my first bout with Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was not a great day. I was about 2 weeks out from major surgery and I overdid it that day. I got sick, starting a downward spiral that resulted in me not keeping down any meals for 2 weeks. That was not the way to start cancer treatment.
I think I hit a home run on ‘Treatment Eve’ today. It was a pretty casual day at our house. Michele’s parents, who had been visiting for Easter, left late morning. Shannon and I had lunch together and then she took a nice long nap. I was able to get some work done for a few hours in the middle of the day. Then Michele, Shannon, and I headed out to join our friends for a late afternoon visit to the zoo. Unbeknownst to us, the zoo closes at 4 PM, precisely the time that we pulled into the parking lot. So we decided to go play at a nearby park and had a relaxing playtime there. It was fantastic!
After skyping with my mom (aka Grammie) during dinner, I gave Shannon a bath and put her to bed. Michele then shared with me some special notes from friends that we have been enjoying Friday potluck dinners with during Lent. The notes, along with all of the cards and messages I have received, have warmed my heart, given me strength, and brought a big smile to my face. These particular notes, from my new Baltimore friends, gave me the answer to my day-long search for a word that could I use to describe how I was feeling today.
My word: HUMAN.
It is human to love and be loved.
It is human to be joyful.
It is human to be thankful.
It is human to anxious.
It is human to be ready.
It is human to know that you are ALIVE!
I am all of these things today, and more. Very human.
I would be hard-pressed to find a time in my life when I felt more loved and gave more love. I have always known the love of my parents. I have long shared love with my wife and that has brought along the love of a father for his daughter. I have now learned in new ways what it is like to share the love of friends, old and new, near and far.
I am forever grateful to all of you who have contacted me in the last three weeks since I announced that I had been diagnosed again with Hodgkins. If I have not gotten back to you personally yet, thank you for taking the time to reaching out to me, for your thoughts and prayers, and for your love. I feel filled with the love of my friends and family and ready to start the journey toward being cured.
Tuesday, April 26, the day of my first chemo treatment is not the beginning of my fight against cancer. This started 15 years ago when I was treated for Hodgkins lymphoma the first time. It was renewed 5 years ago with the passing of my beloved aunt Norma a month before I started my first PMC ride. April 26, 2011 is just the opening bell of the next round in my fight.
Thank you for being part of my journey. I will do my best to post about how I am tolerating the chemo in the next day or so.
More soon. Love,