Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little More Than Just A Bump In The Road

I always figured I knew the beginning and the end of my story. The beginning, of course, was when I got sick. The end, then, would be when I'm no longer sick. In my mind, the bookends were there. All I had to do was fill in the middle, make it interesting, and everyone would love me for it. I suppose that's not exactly fair to you, reading my story, wishing me well and hoping that my next entry might be the one in which I bid good riddance to this disease.

I figured, "Well, I'm the one who's sick, I'm the one who has to deal with all of this, so why shouldn't I exploit it for what it is?" Everybody loves a happy ending; everybody likes to feel uplifted; to believe in miracles. People just want to be inspired, right? I think we maintain faith in an almighty power in order to feel less alone; we tell ourselves that there's some sort of plan for us all so that we don't feel like we're just floating, bouncing around, back and forth with no direction and no purpose until one day it's over and we stop.

Last night, I got the results from my most recent PET scan, taken last Friday. A lot of the trouble spots looked better. But for the first time since I began treatment, there were some new spots that hadn't been there before. And for the first time, I wasn't so sure about everything.

Given the hand I've been dealt, given the numbers and statistics, it was more likely than not that this would eventually happen. I knew that all along, but as long as everything was still going in the right direction, I kept it as far from my thoughts as possible.

It doesn't mean I'm pressing the panic button. It doesn't mean we have to sound the alarms. It means that what we've been doing hasn't been working as well as we'd hoped. It means we have to find something else that will work. It means we have to turn back around and start heading in the right direction once again.

I'm not scared of dying. I've said that before. And right now, at this point in time, that's not something I have to face. But as much as I want to be strong, to put on a smile, I am scared of not knowing. I'm scared of not knowing whether or not we can find something that will work. I'm scared of not knowing how long it will work until more trouble spots mysteriously appear.

My goal has been to beat this thing. I've wanted to get rid of it, put it in the past, and use it to help me become a better, stronger person. I realize now that I may never fully get past it. It may be a part of my life for as long as I'm still living. I never wanted to be going through treatment until my final days, but I realize now that I can handle the most brutal of treatments that they can come up with. I'll gladly go through treatment until my final breath, if it means managing my disease and keeping me alive.

I want to live until something else kills me. I don't care what it is, just not this.

It's just one test. There will be more tests. Plenty of them. They're just more doubts. There have always been doubts. There are more people to prove wrong. I still have time to do it.

I promised never to sugar-coat anything. I'm committed to telling it how it is; expressing things as they really are. Right now, they're not as good as they were before. It doesn't mean they can't get better again. In fact, I'm expecting them to. And I'll continue to tell my story, good and bad, the way it really is. You can expect the truth, whatever that means. That's a promise.