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Archive for November 20th, 2008

This last week has been an interesting experience. I’ve had some very good days and some bad days. On one of my good days I feel like I am done with the effects of my cancer treatments. I have energy, my thoughts are clear and I have positive emotions relating to the future. This is then followed by a day when I feel crappy and disoriented.

When I felt down every day I formed a layer of acceptance to that condition. I lowered the bar of what I expected of myself to a level that I thought was reasonable for my relatively stable, crappy condition. Now that I am vacillating between quite well and fairly crappy it’s hard to know where to set the bar of expectations. Last Sunday I was ready to hope that it was “over” and I was going to be “normal”. However, after the last few days, I have to accept that the fatigue and poor condition may continue sporadically for a longer period. Externally, Cassie assures me I am better: that I look better, am more engaged and engaging and spend more time being active. It’s peculiar that my perception hasn’t caught up with that yet. I think it’s because my expectations are impatiently setting the bar higher and higher, which leads to disappointment.

I can see how a relapse would be more emotionally difficult than the initial diagnosis. After the initial diagnosis you focus on what is to be done and accept that it will be difficult as you fight the cancer. With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma the statistics in favour of a cure are good so you take heart in that even though you feel poor. A relapse would compound that feeling with a despairing feeling of failure. It would seem that all the difficulties of the initial treatment had been for nothing.  The treatment of the relapse will be harsher than initial treatment. And, to top it all, the statistical probabilities of survival plummet. So, let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

I think the best way to handle a relapse would be the way General Teddy Roosevelt Jr. handled having his troops landed on Normandy beach. They were miles from where they were supposed to be without most of their supplies and no armoured support. His demoralized officers clamoured for orders as to what they should do as the defenders hammered them with deadly fire. He just told them, “We’re starting the war from here”. And they did. And so will I if it becomes necessary.

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