A Cancer Patient’s Manifesto.
Well, here we are. Here I am.
I’ve made the decision to stop doing chemotherapy. I’ve been doing FOLFOX – Fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin along with another drug I can’t remember right now for a bit, intermittently.
My choices are not great. Would you like a shit sandwich or a shit sandwich with pickles? Obviously, I’d take the shit sandwich with pickles but it’s not like any of my choices are even that good.
I still do not want to die. I still do not fear death. I just don’t want it to come so soon. But really, what the fuck does the word “soon” even mean? 1 month is too “soon”. 3 months is too “soon”. 3 years is too “soon”. Pretty much the only thing that isn’t too soon would be 30-40 years from now, and I’m pretty confident that if by some grace of a god I don’t believe in, I was alive in 30 years it would still be too “soon”.
I’ve never loved life. I never loved living. I’ve always been depressed, always questioned why we’re here, why I’m here, what’s the point of being here, etc etc. Amidst all their nonsensical lyrics, my favorite band pretty poignantly delivers my general malaise in one of their songs with “What is the central theme to this everlasting spoof?” Please be aware that as much as that line speaks to me, other lines in the same fucking song are “It’s Cadillac rainbows and lots of spaghetti, I love meatballs, so you better get ready” so, really digging for gold here, that’s not a song about life/death/existentialism or fuck, maybe it is and I’m just an idiot. I’ll let the academics debate that while I live out my days not giving a shit about it.
Yet, here I am, not wanting to willingly let life go either. I’ve found the absolute love of my life. Those of you close to me can attest to the verbal diarrhea I’m prone to spew and just how annoyingly verbose I tend to be – words truly fail me in articulating the connection and love I feel for my partner and receive back from her. Emily, I love you so much and truly cannot express it within the confines of this form. So, please, imagine in your head, me performing an interpretive dance of your own choosing (probably something like the landlord’s performance piece in Big Lebowski or Napoleon Dynamite’s dance scene), to fully understand what you mean to me. I love love love love love you.
We’re all dying. Me, more obviously than most. You. You reading this now. You are going to die some day. Every single person you have interacted with and known and will ever interact with and will know will die some day. Sorry (not really) to be so blunt or to be the bearer of bad news. Your bodily functions will cease. Your cells will break down. You will decompose. Return to the earth from which you came from (maybe? but that’s a whole other conversation, are we fucking aliens on this planet?!? Is this all a simulation?!?). Anyway, not to be too much of a downer or dive too deep into the what-ifs, unknowns or conspiracies, I’ll bring us back to the reality of me and my current situation.
I’m still sick with cancer. My liver is filled with abnormal cells that just want to reproduce and take over my body. All they want to do is have some fun, and I’ve got a feeling, they’re not the only ones…
What that still means is that in theory my liver will eventually fail and that will kill me. The doctors seem to think that barring any miracles, that’s about 6 months from now. There’s other fun variables out there – my last scan may have showed a lymph node in the liver having the beginnings of cancer, so maybe if that’s real, it could spread and take me out more quickly? Who knows? No one! It’s just part of the fun and hilarity in this whole fucking party.
But basically, the chemo I’ve been having may be killing cancer cells but it’s not doing a great job of it and/or I’m fucking it up by choosing to travel and live how I want versus doing chemo full time and being a sick fucking cancer patient the rest of my living days. Either way – I’m confident with my choices. I’ve lived more than many people who got in double the amount of years I have and as much as I do genuinely love you all, you can shove your opinions, approvals, support or disapproval of my decisions up your ass. I don’t need it and I don’t want it. I apologize to those who can’t see the nuance in this but if you feel like I’m saying Fuck You, that’s ok too. Fuck You.
I have some plans to follow through with for the beginning of this new year. After that, I’m planning on throwing my hat in for a trial in March – the rate of success of one of these trials actually reducing tumors or increasing my life is only 15%. But fuck it, may as well give it a shot, I suppose. I’ll have to be pretty closely monitored during that time, so travel will be limited. It sounds like side effects are minimal for most of these compared to the approved chemotherapies I’ve taken part in so far in the course of my treatment. From my consult with the cancer center, my understanding is that this would be about a 6-8 week commitment and I can back out at any point. We shall see.
I’m often asked – is there any comfort in knowing you’re dying? Yes, yes there is. I find comfort in certain things – maybe some find it morbid though others find they can relate. I find comfort in the fact that I most likely will not be here for the 2024 US Presidential election and potential political collapse of our country. I will not be alive for resource wars. I will not be alive to continue to see the repercussions of our inaction regarding global warming with all these “natural” disasters that seem to be happening in increasing frequency and duration.
Despite my oftentimes cynical, sarcastic, angry, sad, whatever attitude, I do sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who has taken time, energy and intent to reach out or to think about me and those friends/family closest to me during this fucked up year and a half. I truly do wish the best for everyone and individual happiness and health for all.
I’m not sure how much more I’ll be updating this blog from here, but much love to everyone – I did promise rants, and I’m pretty sure this post counts. I’m a phone call (please don’t call me), text or email away if you’d like to be in touch. Unless I’m dead, then disregard that last statement, but I’ll let y’all figure that part out.
Cheers, love and rainbows,