In case you didn’t know, I am back on active treatment. Translation: I am back to chemo. It hasn’t been something I’ve been marketing or telling everyone. When people ask you how you are doing or comment on your “healthy appearance,” it really sucks that you have to tell them you’re back on chemo. They usually don’t know what to say next because it took them a hell of a lot of courage just to ask how you have been. If you know me well, you know one thing, I don’t bullshit.
I’ve had 2 rounds of in-patient chemo so far and to say it’s been hard is an understatement. It has kicked me on my ass to the point where I am barely able to get up off the couch. The hardest part for me is not having enough energy to ride or do basic tasks. There is nothing worse then finally being able to tack up your horse then ride briefly before having to do an emergency dismount because you’re too tired to hold yourself up. I am lucky enough to be supported by my barn family through all this, especially when they have to grab Joe for me and I have to go take a brief break on my tack trunk to catch my breath.
I am grateful to have been paired up with an oncologist that has a similar sense of humor and outlook on the world that I have. Many times we spend appointments trying to one up each other with sarcastic comments or share horror stories of the medical world. While it seems like fun and games, there are some days where my doctor can take one look at me and know that behind that forced smile is a slumped over deflated patient who is tired of dealing with this cancer bullshit. It’s in times like that when you know you have a good doctor who is looking at the well being of the whole patient rather than just the cancer inside them.
I was recently given a reflection from my oncologist that he wrote that I want to share. Don’t worry I got permission to post it to the blog. I made sure to cover my bases. I am hoping to come back in full force in 2017. I have plenty of stories and it’s been one hell of a ride so far. All I can say is what a long strange trip it’s been.
A Clinician’s Confession
Sometimes we forget that you are young
Sometimes we forget that you are an adult
Sometimes we even forget that you have cancer
We don’t always notice the tears behind that smile
We don’t always notice the needles in your arms
We don’t always notice that you spend most of your day with us
Often we fail to see that this isn’t what you had planned
Often we fail to see that your family and friends seem different
Often we fail to see that things aren’t holding together as they should
We never forget that this is unfair
We never forget that your life has changed
We never forget that there is somewhere else you would rather be
Secretly, we look forward to our visits with anticipation
Secretly, we wake up at night thinking about what we should recommend next
Secretly, we share the joys and sorrows of scan days
We were young adults when we were first given the privilege to be involved in your care
We were young adults when we first witnessed lives with cancer
We were young adults when we first realized that life is unfair
We promise to take this journey with you wherever it may lead
We promise to remember that you are not a child
We promise to remember that you are a young adult that lives with cancer - every day
When we forget, and we will, remind us with that gentle grace and dignity with which you caress the world.
-Written by Christian Adonizio, MD (December, 2016)