One marathon and suddenly I think I’m an expert on marathon analogies but I’m going to use one anyway.
I’ve always disliked the use of war as a way to describe my journey with cancer. It implies that when you die, you lose. You lose your battle or your long fight. You fought bravely but in the end, you failed. You lost. You didn’t do all you need to do and the enemy won.
I’ve decided it’s a marathon where you occasionally hit some walls but in the end you finish. You succeed in overcoming the times that make you want to quit. The hills that threaten to do you in but only slow you down.
For some it’s a half marathon. A shorter journey that is no less difficult to finish. For others it’s the full. A long journey filled with walls to break through and the occasional train.
Along the way, family and friends cheer you on or provide you with energy snacks to give you that boost to keep going. They hug you at the end and tell you “well done” and “you made it”.
My journey has been a long one. It has felt like I’ve been beat up and knocked down. I think I tripped over my feet a few times and have gootten some impressive road rash but I’ve kept going.
This week I hit a speed bump. Or maybe I’ve stopped at an aid station.
Nexavar has stopped working and I have a new lesion in the “lower left aspect” of my pelvis. The 3 lesions on my liver are now referred to as “several”. Whatever the hell that means.
I’m now awaiting approval for drug #5. It’s called Tasigna and it’s over $8,000/month so insurance will probably be a little slow to approve it. I kind of don’t blame them but in the end, my doctor will convince them there are few other options and none are cheaper. The good news? It’s supposed to be much milder in the side effect department. That’s my silver lining.
That’s also the logic I used to convince my daughters that this was ok. I’m not sure how well I did but I tried. I kept it together and chatted with them about the latest wall we’ve hit. I told them of other people who have had great success on Tasigna. I told them I might start feeling better and will likely have more energy. I may have even convinced myself.
They’ve been sticking pretty close the last couple of days. Though D1 did spend the evening yesterday with her boyfriend and his sister. I’m ok with that. More than ok because I know that whatever she can’t say to me, she will say to them. She shared a text from them with me Wednesday evening that said they were “sick of her one word answers on her texts and were taking her for frozen yogurt and video games after school”. One word answers means she was struggling. That they stepped in and took over to cheer her up makes me happy.
Today I will stop by the elementary school and talk to D3’s teacher while they’re at lunch and I’ll email D2’s teachers and tell them my status. I’ll ask them not to say anything to the girls but to simply keep an extra eye on them. I’ll email D1’s band director because that is where she finds her peace and he’s the one person who will be with her throughout all of high school.
I’ll email a couple coworkers of SG and ask them to take him to lunch or out for a beer.
I’ll text my parents to say hi and let them know I’m ok.
I’ll call my sister to check on her so that she won’t feel like she’s hovering and checking on me.
I’ll go for a walk to give myself strength to keep going. I’ll get my head clear and my body strong in case my next aid station stop involves a surgeon.
I am hoping this marathon turns into a 100 mile ultra or whatever they’re called.
I’m going to take my time and enjoy the trips over the scenic bridges, along rivers and in the mountain foothills.
This is a race I’m not in a hurry to finish. I don’t want to set a personal record. I want to enjoy the sights and the supporters. I want them to walk with me so that we can give each other strength.
I want them to hug me at the finish line – years from now – and say “good job mom, you did well and we’re proud of you”.