Yesterday I had my three month check up with the oncologist. I don’t mind admitting that the past three months have been difficult ones for me as I do NOT wait well. The BIG question for the visit was whether the blood values had started behaving themselves or whether they either maintained or became worse, which means the watchful waiting would change from watching to chemo. Based on the way I have been feeling and my increased fatigue levels, I knew the results would be worse, and my anticipation was that we would discuss when to do the bone marrow biopsy and when to start chemo again. For the first time, I have approached the blood-value checking without knowing what I hoped for.
Let me explain. Barring divine intervention, I knew I would not be walking in to find that my values had all returned to the normal range. With the way I have been feeling, even had God made that happen, I’d have probably dissolved into a puddle of tears because the truth is I don’t feel well — I’m not 100% and I know it. And if everything was normal then there was something seriously wrong. So what were the possible outcomes of the visit? The expected march forward toward chemo, which is not something to be greeted with glee … or to my mind, even worse, sentenced to waiting another three months because the values remained steady.
Soooo, the results were worse, and not just a little worse. The progression continues to be aggressive and the values jumped as much as they did between April and July. What did I feel on hearing the results? Validated. My energy levels have been extremely low and at least there is a cause I can point to … other than feeling like a slug. But here is where things went off course from expectation. Instead of hearing bone marrow biopsy and chemo, I heard come back in January. Ummm, my blood levels are as bad or worse than they were when I went through chemo in 2013, so I didn’t understand why we would continue to wait.
But here’s the thing, while my white blood cells and lymphocytes are clogging up my system, my platelets are fighting the good fight and refusing to be beaten back. They are still within normal range. And BECAUSE they are still hanging tough, the doctor wants to give them the opportunity to continue their fight … so we wait and check again in January. Did I see this as a positive? NO! Why not? Because my mind doesn’t deal well with feeling like I’m in limbo. I know I’m not well, so I want to move forward and FIX the problem. As unpleasant as moving forward can be sometimes, it is taking action, and I am GREAT at putting one foot in front of the other and powering through. No matter what.
My dear friend, Italia, helped me get back on track emotionally with a lesson in gratitude. I was seeing the storm and the lightning strike and feeling like things were just going to continue in limbo, and that I truly don’t want to spend the rest of my life like a hermit. I need time-based boundaries … because I can do ANYTHING for XXX amount of time, as long as I know. Doing things for ??? amount of time, I don’t do well. So I saw the storm and the lightning was the jolt that said, you don’t have any control here and you’re just going to have to wait. Italia tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at the rainbow — the positives in the situation like: not having to be in chemo through the holidays, giving the medication my doctor prescribed to help with the fatigue a chance to work so I felt better and more ready to face chemo, being able to continue working from home to help me stay as healthy as possible. She reminded me that God is in control and I was focused on my picture of what I wanted and not on the bigger picture He has for my life.
This is WHY we have friends. 😀 To help us look for the right things. Normally, I am always searching for the rainbow, the bright spot in the storm. But all I saw were the gathering clouds and the destruction caused by the lightning. Does seeing the rainbow make things easier? A little. I am still dragging tail and feel like some thief came in and stole all my spoons while I napped, but I have my little ball of hope back, and with that alone I can conquer the world.