Mind games

August 22 will mark the 4 month anniversary of my trip into the emergency room. It’s been an interesting few months.

Like most cancer patients, I came out of the gate swinging for the fences. I listened to the doctors and nurses and all of their advice. They told me this would be a boxing match that got harder as the treatments went along. I talked with social workers who told me there were support groups when the going got tough. Everyone was impressed with my fortitude and strength and it looked like I was going to breeze right through this treatment.

A couple of days of nausea after the chemo. Back on my feet on Monday. Trying to make life as normal as possible during the in-between weeks. That was my first few months.

But about half way through, something clicked – my life isn’t the same. This isn’t business-as-usual. And the more this realization crept into my head, the harder it has become to pretend like everything is status quo.

My last couple of weeks has been more of a mental battle then a physical one. Coming to grips with another 3 months of my life on hold. Trying to fill up my days. Unable to find inspiration in my work or projects. Everything seemed to grind to a halt.

Sure, I have the ‘curable cancer’. And logic tells me that in a couple of months my life will return to normal – waiting for the next job, looking forward to days off, life not broken up into ‘good’ weekends and ‘bad’ weekends, no more Magic Monday Mornings. But whatever my life is like a few months from now doesn’t really impact the here-and-now. And its the now that I’ve been dealing with.

So that’s where I’ve been. That’s why I haven’t been posting on my blog. I think you can tell by my last couple of blog posts that this is the direction I was headed – spending my time counting the days ahead instead of enjoying the day in front of me.

This isn’t an unusual place to be. That’s why the doctors and nurses and social workers all give you their advice when you start the process. But who wants to listen to them tell you how hard its going to be? I’d rather think of this as an extended vacation where I can hone up on my Playstation skills…but even that gets old, fast.

I’m on the same track as so many cancer patients before me. I’m sharing my experiences with those currently going through treatment and those who have beaten cancer. Its all about getting over the hump to reach those better days ahead. This too will pass.

As this goes on, I thought it was important to update everyone as the latest with my condition. Let’s break it down:

I’ve got an important PET scan on Monday. This will show me how much of the cancer has been beaten. Best news is that I could already be in remission – cancer free. Or else, the treatments are working and there’s still some abnormal cells to beat down. Or, worst case, the treatment has stopped working as well as it should and we need to make some adjustments. But all signs point towards the treatments working in full effect – and that’s what I’m counting on.

I recently had an echocardiogram on my heart which showed that everything is normal with my ticker. The chemo drugs can sometimes do damage to heart and lungs, but it seems like I’m clear of that.

The PET scan is an important milestone. It will tell the doctors how effective my treatment has been and where to go from here. I can start to consult about my radiation treatments in November. And, also important, I need to deal with the SVC Syndrome that I’m still experiencing – the blocked veins in my chest. I still get dizzy when I bend over or exert myself too much and I know I still have a 3-5 centimeter blockage above my heart. After the PET scan, I can start to deal with that, as well.

So, yeah. There’s still a lot on my plate when it comes to treatment. But all of this will take care of itself. I’ve got a great team of doctors and nurses working on me. I’m looking forward to good results from the PET scan. And, in the meantime, I’m re-focusing that this is a time meant for healing – my goal is getting better and everything else is secondary.

Still, tho, the Playstation does come in handy…

My best to all. Look forward to seeing you soon.


8 responses to “Mind games

  1. Good luck on the PET scan Steve-O! Stay on the offense with a balanced mind, body, spirit and keep moving those chains.

  2. You’re right of course, life can’t be completely normal. But on our part, does it help you that we “continue to treat you as we normally do”? I think it is helpful. It’s like you’re in the game and we are on the sidelines (having a brat and beer), cheering! You are doing a great job and I know our season tickets will pay off. OK, I hope that game analogy is not too lame. Love you guys.

  3. I think one of the things that helps is to set some sort of goal for the future. It’s difficult to interview for jobs, etc., when you might not have the exact date you plan to enter long-term maintenance, but even a smaller, personal goal may distract from the day-to-day and help the perspective. You blog fairly often, proving that you know how to write well. Have you considered NaNoWriMo? It’s traditionally held in November, but you can gather your notes beforehand or have your own 30-day noveling session. Chin up. We’re rooting for you. 🙂

  4. Steve, I had to throw in my 2 cents. I’m with Ray and Digi above! Best of luck with the PETSCAN today. I just know it’s going to give you good news! Keep positive and chase away the blues to stay on the offense. Yes, we chat and keep things as normal as possible in our talks. Your friends and family have a mission to elevate you to a high level cause we love you very much. You have a great many people who will celebrate once this journey is over. You have wonderful Jen by your side and the two of you can overcome anything together!!

  5. miss you. good luck today.

  6. hey steve
    keep going fella; good luck with the scan and stay positive.

  7. hey steve…i have my whole bible study group praying for you…hope the scan went well!…ed

  8. We heart Steve and Jen

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