If only the significance of an achievement was measured in more than in numbers. Forty rounds of chemotherapy have come and they have gone, and such a number would seem as though it should be laden with significance, such as those of the years of life gone by. But instead, round forty is yet another notch in the wall, one of many, each notch as insignificant as the other.
Two years of chemotherapy have passed, three years of cancer. It was even three years yesterday that I had the encounter with the scalpel that arguably saved my life, yet at the same time revealed its fragility. Three years since my hemicolectomy.
Three years of life where I emulsify the bitterness of chemotherapy with the joy of living. An unlikely duo of flavour who’s individual components enrich the other. It is through my joy that the suffering, the chemo, becomes all the more burdensome, yet it is through the suffering that even the mundane becomes joyful. For how can we know what black is unless we compare it to white, or white without comparing it to black, lest we mistake either for a shade of grey.
This round passed as previous have, and thankfully more tolerable than number thirty nine. Another notch in the wall, set apart only in that it precedes the forty first. In all other aspects it remains to be an undesirable experience.
Till next time….
One more round of chemo closer to a milestone that shouldn’t be measured.
… yet my life is measured in such increments.
This most previous round was a lot rougher than some of the earlier ones. No rhyme, no reason, but the nausea more apparent, the fatigue more palpable, and the ongoing abdominal pain that almost sent me to the ED on Sunday night. Its such a fine line when one wonders whether or not I should be going to the hospital for symptoms. Do I walk the road of the hypochondriac, or the stoic patient who foolishly refuses treatment. Its not as clear cut as it should be, even when I’m a doctor. At least when I’m treating patients and making decisions I have empirical evidence to guide my judgement, blood tests, radiology results, the clinical exam. All apart from the latter I lack at home. Fortunately a chemical cocktail of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, paracetmol, and sedatives allowed sleep to beat the pain… and in the morning, relief.
I’m not entirely sure what caused it, but it was transient, and it resolved (mostly), which is good enough for me to ignore it for now. I shall address it should I encounter it again.
Two more weeks until I make the 40th round mark. I wish I got something to celebrate with rather than the nausea and misery I usually get. I guess I’m grateful that I get a bit more life to live from it, that in itself is reward enough… Although life itself is not very useful unless you do something meaningful with it. There are 7 billion people in the world now living their own unique life, I wonder how many of them make it a meaningful one….
Till next time..