Thursday, March 31, 2011
He has been doing a little better each day. Still far from 100%, but as long as he's not getting worse, there are reasons for hope.
He is still expericing headaches, although the severity has decreased. He refuses to take his pain pills because he is not interested in battling addiction this spring.
On top of everything else, the spacebar on his laptop is busted. This explains the relatively light blogging. Also, this post is taking about three times as long to produce.
He has been living on a diet that consists solely of bananas and beef jerky. Sometimes he wraps the bananas in jerky. He tried to make dinner yesterday but quit when he realized he had no salsa. He ordered Dominos instead because he has seen roughly 2,814 Dominos commercials in the past week.
Monday was "Zombie Movie Day" as Nick watched "Zombieland" and "Dawn of the Dead." Saturday was "80s Movies in which Black Guys Play Really Stereotypically 'Black Guy' Roles Which You Think They Would Have Stopped Doing by the 1980s" with "Back to the Future" (Goldie Wilson) and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (Charles Jefferson).
He tried to respond to a work e-mail on his Blackberry while on his back and ended up dropping the Blackberry on his face, which is a perfect metaphor for a work Blackberry.
He has empirically answered the age-old question, "For how long could a first-year associate disappear before people begin to notice?"
He talked to Dr. Ambinder twice this week and the consensus is that he's done with treatment. More on this in a later post.
He has been told that things happen outside his apartment, but he wouldn't know, since he hasn't been there in seven days.
He has a substantial backlog of e-mails due to his physical condition and the aforementioned space bar issue. He hopes to respond to you all soon enough.
On Thursday afternoon, this week will officially ascend to the "Worst Week of Nick's Life" list. On a day-to-day basis, he's really never felt as terrible for as long.
Nick tried to pay his International Cryogenics annual storage fee ($380!) with his Flexible Spending Account dollars and the FSA folks want "more documentation." He mailed them a Hustler.
That's all for now. More later.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sorry for the short period of radio silence on my end. But for the first time since I was diagnosed with cancer last July, I physically could not blog. What’s the point of fighting cancer if you can’t blog about it? The fact that I’m able to write this now – even as I do so from flat on my back again – is an upgrade.
There have been some rare occasions during this fight where I’ve considered whether or not to be completely candid here, but every time, I’ve decided just to write. I don’t really want to scare various people who read this and care about me. But whatever. I’ve been as open as I could for months. Why quit now?
Anyway, here goes: The past several days have been the most difficult days of my entire fight against cancer. I could not move. I go from the bed to the couch and then back to bed. I haven’t been to the other side of my apartment since Thursday. I have eaten a half bowl of oatmeal, half a salad, and a hot dog (take that, mom!) since Thursday. I can’t stand for more than about 30 seconds without severe headaches kicking in. I can’t even really lift my head. “Eating” consists of me lifting my head and trying to shovel as much food into my mouth as possible before the headache kicks in, which now triggers nausea. My formerly-powerful pain pills are currently of limited effectiveness; same goes for laying flat on my back. It’s possible there has been a time in my life when I have felt worse than I have the past three days. But I cannot recall it.
So there. I guess I blame myself. As you recall, I got some good news regarding the spinal fluid analysis on Wednesday, so by the Law of Nick, I should have seen this coming. If the PET/CT scan comparison goes well, Dr. Ambinder would immediately move to Guam.
Anyway, do what you want with all that. I’d tell people “don’t worry” and “don’t feel bad” and whatever, but that won’t work very well, particularly with my family. I’ll never complain about the daily phone calls, texts, and e-mails asking how I’m doing – I really do appreciate those. My irritation stems from having to answer them the same way day after day.
But isn’t this just the story of me recently? I wrote about how this wasn’t anywhere near what I went through this fall. I guess I was right, but only because it’s significantly worse. I’ve written about how I was excited to move to DC so I could leave all my memories of cancer treatment behind; now, I’m making some lovely new memories right here on my couch. I was excited to finish my treatment before starting work. I’ve now worked four full days since March 3rd. At every step in this process I’ve exceeded expectations. Now, doctors and nurses are baffled as to why I’m reacting this poorly. I guess I should have expected this. But I’m not sure anybody could have foreseen this becoming an ordeal twice as difficult as my first round of chemo and nearly as long.
I don’t really know what to say. This is an unmitigated disaster. I couldn’t blog for several days because I literally could not write. Because of some damn treatment that was pretty universally brushed off as “no big deal” and something people recover from pretty quickly. I’m still young, relativity healthy, in decent shape, and so on. This was not the expectation. But now I lay here five days after treatment still unable to move with no end in sight and I’m still not even halfway through this crap. I can’t think of too many ways that this situation could be worse.
But I can think of a few. In fact, they’re quite obvious. And, thank God, these don’t seem like things I’m going to have to confront.
So that’s why, if you want to read the previous paragraphs and feel bad, or feel sorry, or feel sick, or feel pain, or whatever negative emotions you want to feel, know that you’re doing it alone. Know that I’m not there with you.
Because I’m not doing this for the next 40 days. I’m doing this for the next 40 years. I already know the remedy for all this pain and suffering: stop doing this. With one order, I could make this all go away. But that thought hasn’t even crossed my mind. Not for a second. If anything, I’m considering doing these in rapid succession just to get them over with.
I know nobody has really forgotten, but I think it’s sometimes easy to forget the gravity of cancer. You see me up and moving around a few months after treatment and I’m doing fine, living normally, showing no ill effects for a horrible ordeal. And then you see me or hear about me flat on my back for days on end in unspeakable agony. And you might think that Situation A is better than Situation B.
But it’s not. It’s a charade. I’m not going through this all just so I have to do it again. That’s why it took me 30 seconds to decide that this treatment was the way to go after speaking with Dr. Ambinder. I’m not in this to avoid pain. I’m not in this to avoid stress. I’m in this to win. Period.
So if you want to feel bad, if you want to feel pity, stop. There’s nobody who has more of a right to feel those things than me. And I don’t. I’m not trying to be a tough guy. I’m not trying to play the “I don’t pity myself” card. I just do not feel those things. Yes, it sucks. But the alternative sucks a whole hell of a lot worse. And that is the end of the story for me. I can sit here and wish all this crap wasn’t happening all day, but it won’t change a damn thing. And it will be just as effective as wishing I never came down with cancer in the first place. That ship has sailed. That reality does not exist in this universe.
I have one goal here: the complete and utter annihilation of cancer. It has been my goal since day one. Any pain or suffering I have to endure en route to that goal is just noise. It’s not worth shedding a tear over; it’s not worth feeling sorry about. They are unfortunate means to an end, and they are drastically preferable to world in which I endure no pain and suffering because there’s nothing anybody can do to help me reach that goal.
I remember this every day I can’t get up off the couch. I remember this when I miss another day of work. I remember this when I’m struggling to consume as much food as possible before the nausea kicks in. I remembered this when I was wheeled into surgery on August 3rd, as I watched my hair slowly fall out, and every moment I sat in that treatment chair.
I never forget it. And neither should you.