It's me again. It's been awhile, so I wanted to check in and say "hi" and give an update. HI!!
I am trying to remember all that has happened since my last post. Seems like not much, but at the same time a lot. If that makes any sense. I also wanted to clear something up.
I get a lot of "you are amazing" and "you are an inspiration", etc. And, don't get me wrong...I love it. I'm not gonna lie. Ha ha. You can keep saying those things to me all you want! LOL. But, at the same time, I need you to know that I honestly don't think I am doing anything that any one of you wouldn't do in the same situation. I am pretty sure that anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer has been devastated at the news. "Cancer (even though it no longer needs to be) is often synonymous with "death". So, when a doctor says "you have cancer", I think it's pretty common that your first thought may be "I'm dying". And not just "I'm dying", but "I am going to die a long slow and painful death". Good times. But, even though those thoughts and feelings may stick around for awhile or come and go...at some point, some other part of you steps forward. It may be a part of you that you didn't realize you had, but it's something we all have inside of us and it's driven by our innate "will to live". That intangible feeling of HOPE. The will to survive. The will to stay strong. The will to keep moving. As I see it (and I think most will agree), when we are faced in life with ANY kind of setback, obstacle or battle...we have two choices. We can choose to stay in that state of devastation, stay miserable, and have zero quality of life until we succumb to the illness. Or, we can choose to call upon that internal fire, that deep down in our soul fervor for life, as well as our support system and our faith (whatever that may be) and fight to make the best of the situation. What's that saying..."Would you rather die while you're living or live while you're dying?" I know what I choose. And every cancer patient/survivor that I have met on this journey, thus far, has made the same choice. I am confident that you would too. Even if you think you wouldn't do it for yourself, you would do it for the people who love you.
And...while I am blabbing away about amazingness...I personally think that anyone who is a parent is amazing. Anyone who chooses a career in teaching...amazing. Anyone who has been through a divorce and survived it...amazing. And, anyone who has had to sit by and watch a loved one pass on from a long illness with cancer or any other disease...super amazing. In a way, I think things can be much harder for those that are loving and caring for a person battling illness, than for the actual person battling. I just think that having cancer (and sharing it publicly) really kind of puts you on blast in a big way and more people see your strength than in other circumstances.
And, just to set the record straight...and I think I have said it before...but I am NOT always positive. I try to be and I try to only share that side of me with all of you, but I do cry. I do get scared. I do feel sad and sorry for myself. I think it is important for me to feel these things. But, I choose not to stay in those places. I feel them, acknowledge them...TRY not to beat myself up for indulging in them...and then I move on and get to living. It's really what anyone would do in a crisis...just keep moving. So, when people say to me "I don't know how you do it..." Well, I kinda don't know either...but when you have no real choice...you just do it. Trust me.
Anyway...I would like to and do hope to be a positive role model for those facing anything big and devastating and difficult in life...but please know that I also gain my inspiration from all the love and support I get everyday from my family and friends and even, sometimes, strangers.
So...quick update since I blabbed on so much above. Ha. I went back to the NIH on Monday of this week to consult with a different doctor/team about the other chemotherapy trial (the dasatinib and bevacizumab trial that I mentioned in my Novel about NIH). So, right now I am trying to decide between this study and the other chemotherapy trial. I have listed pros and cons of both and they run pretty equal in that regard (though for different reasons). Tough choice. I do have to have a "wash out" period, during which I must stop taking any chemotherapy drugs...including the tamoxifen pill that I take right now...for 4 weeks. I stopped it today. So, I couldn't technically start either trial for another month, but I would like to make my decision pretty soon and get that ball rolling. I can also choose one of the two trials now and if it doesn't show any benefit after the first 2 months or so, wait another 4 weeks and try the other trial. So, I guess it's really just a matter of which to try first.
The best part of my visit to NIH yesterday was when the attending physician reviewing my case explained to me that...while I have tried 3 (tecnically 4) lines of chemotherapy with no luck and I have a medium-sized liver tumor...most of the patients in the study have tried 6 or 7 lines of chemotherapy with no luck and have larger, more difficult to treat tumors. I said to her "So...you mean...compared to some, I am really not that bad off?!" Nope! It's never good to have a cancerous liver tumor, but I am faring much better than many and I need to keep being reminded of that. Not that I wish for others to be sicker than me, but it's nice to have that reminder that I am still doing pretty well and should not even be close to giving up hope at this point. Phew! I will do what I do and keep on moving!! Y'all should keep remembering to do the same.