Monday, December 28, 2009

Be Careful

I've made the decision to wait until after New Years' for my next round of chemo. It was a difficult choice, and one that I'm still surprised at myself for making, but now that I've said it I'm trying not to change my mind. I still hate postponing chemo, and I want to be finished with it as soon as possible. I want to be finished with all of it. I finally realized that allowing myself to feel good for a few days isn't going to make that much of a difference in the long run.

I've pushed through ten consecutive rounds of chemo at an every-two-week pace. The doctors have told me repeatedly that maintaining that pace is simply unfeasible, but hearing them say that just makes me want to prove them wrong.

I was planning to force myself back into the hospital today or tomorrow, today being the twelfth day since the start of the most recent five-day round (meaning I've been out a week). But I've been a mess since then. My stomach is always a shambles, but this round and its accompanying virus really made me feel that I might be hurting myself if I don't let my body heal.

At first, I thought I might be able to go through chemo the two days right before New Years' Eve and then just make the best of the way I was feeling on the actual occasion. I might be miserable, but I'd be one step closer to being done. But If I waited a few days, my stomach might actually recover, and I'd have a chance to get out of the house and explore the outside world for a little while.

I went back and forth over what to do countless times, and along the way I realized that though I may be sick, and for that reason approach my life from now on with a little more regard to my well-being, I don't ever want to be careful.

I think it would be easy to take being sick and use it as a reason to try to avoid bad things from happening. It would be easy to start being scared, but what's the point of living scared? Shouldn't my flirtation with death teach me to go for what I want and to take some chances rather than holstering all of my guns and playing it safe? I don't actually own any guns, I'm just shooting for a metaphor, but really, I don't think that's what I'm supposed to do. I've acquired a heightened appreciation for life and living, so I'm going to chase after life, not wait for it to find me.

Going back in for chemo in the next two days wouldn't be careful of me, that's not what I'm saying. If anything, it would be brash and stubborn, both of which are words I would readily use to describe myself. But I've also pledged to be easier on myself. I still demand a certain standard of commitment and results, but this time I'm taking the doctors' advice and giving my body a break. And, at the same time, I'm rewarding myself with New Years' Eve. A celebration.

I have a ways to go, and after extending this round an extra two or three days, I'll be right back on the two-week regiment as long as my counts can bear it. Right now, though, I'm craving a chance to celebrate the ten I've already completed.

I've already promised myself to be cautious and to avoid trouble, at least for this year's New Year's Eve. The perils of coming down with something are no mystery to me. But if I'm not going to be infused with drugs and bedridden, I should really try to enjoy myself.

Like I said, I'll be back to the grind after just a few days, and I don't plan on slowing down or looking back. I'll plan ahead, though I won't deliberate to the point of frustration. I'll count the days until the things I'm looking forward to, though I won't be too calculated in the pursuit of my dreams. And I'll be responsible, and consider consequences before I act, and I'll do my best to avoid putting myself and others in danger, though I'll never be too careful.

2 comments:

  1. i took a brief break as well, when i was 4 cycles in... i had just had good scans, and my doctors gave me the choice to have a week of chemo without my regular nurses (i always got chemo on mondays, and the clinic was closed for labor day, so i would have had to come in on a tuesday) or take a week break. i took a trip to chicago with my mom, and while i had a lot of fun, i felt so good that it was really hard to go back into treatment (especially since my scans had been clean). i think it was really good for my body, though, because i didn't get as sick with my next treatment.

    i hope you have a good new year - how many more rounds are you scheduled for?

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  2. Only 4 more rounds! Then radiation and vaccinations, but I can't wait to be done with chemo!

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