Two months have passed and, unfortunately, writing had been the last thing on my mind. I have had to put myself into a sort of “survival mode.” Waking up; going to the hospital; fighting fatigue in the afternoon; finally drifting off to sleep…this is what my days have looked like for the past two months. I’ll catch you up…
Two months ago I was told I needed five more weeks of radiation therapy and I prepared myself for the monotony of going to the hospital every day. Not long thereafter, my doctors recommended that, along with the radiation, I add some chemotherapy to accelerate the effectiveness of the radiation. Chemo had been on and off the table since I was diagnosed.
For most people, chemotherapy is a no-brainer, but for me, it is a bit of a risk. In 2012, when I had a relapse of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I had an stem cell transplant which left me with a compromised bone marrow. Chemotherapy impacts the proper functioning of the bone marrow of a healthy person, but for a person like me, it can have an even greater impact. In addition, radiation treatment hits 20-30% of my bone marrow. The dynamic duo of chemo and radiation caused my blood counts to tank. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy (of Anchorman fame), chemo “was a bad choice.” I landed in the hospital for a few days, transfusions followed, and treatment was put on hold. Eventually, my “team” decided to discontinue the chemo and I couldn’t move ahead with radiation until my blood counts came up. Fast forward…after seeing more doctors – as of today I’m up to six – and countless blood tests, my counts have started to rise on their own and radiation has resumed.
While I am relieved to be back on track, even having bursts of energy and glimpses of myself from time to time, I am exhausted. My motivation is sapped. My spirit and resilience are perpetually challenged. I even lost my taste for the grande white chocolate mocha with whipped cream. I know I’m still here somewhere, but I was brought to the bring of hopelessness and I am just starting to return. I’m not done yet, but I am cautiously optimistic that the worst has passed.