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Chemo 54.0

Fifty four rounds of chemo can give you pause to think.

When I’m sick with nausea, when my energy limits me to movement from the bedroom to the bathroom, when my head is in a fog of dysphoria, sometimes I wish that this wasn’t my life.

As much as I have accepted the circumstances of my own life and long since come to peace with its outcome, this doesn’t mean I have moments when I wish it was different. I guess its part of what it means to be human, hoping for a better future, hoping for an escape from life’s present miseries. Perhaps the recent acquisition of our first home has helped to make me wish things were different now that I am getting a taste of what the future might have been. It seems ironic that I make plans for the longer term future, acknowledging that the shorter term outcome is by far the more likely. It is almost like a cruel game of dangling the carrot, but always keeping it just out of reach.

Whilst these thoughts might rattle around my head at times, they cannot linger for long. Unless I am blind to the world around me, I am quickly reminded how good the life I have actually is and how blessed I am despite my circumstance. I may not be able to boast good health, but I’m well enough to continue to work full time between 54 rounds of chemotherapy. I have an amazing wife who journeys through this pain with me, enabling me to face it head on despite the fatigue. My life is full of people who support and care for me in various ways. I actually couldn’t ask for too much more.

I also see patients who suffer through far worse than I have ever had to, I see some die through cruel twists of fate and circumstance that might see someone else live. I see pain that I can’t imagine, both physical and emotional, in the souls of those I treat and the family around them.

All of this gives you pause to think….

Our suffering often seems so great to ourselves, a giant tree that is only so large because we stand right in front of it, blinding us from the even larger trees in the forest that stand before others. When we take a step back from our tree and see the context in which we live, it makes it so much harder to complain. Our tree is never as big as it seems when seen in context. And when we begin to focus on other people’s trees, their suffering instead of our own, all of a sudden the tree that seemed to loom so large begins to appear smaller than we thought.

If there is one thing my life’s turn of events have taught me, its that focusing on others instead of me removes myself from the picture. I realise my life is only one of many lived on this planet, and whilst I will die young, I will die blessed with the life I have been given. Hopefully, in return, I can bless others with that same life rather than focussing on my own. It is ironic that through having an ‘others’ focussed approach, I find the peace required to deal with my own circumstance.

Life was never meant to be lived with us at the centre, that only brings misery, self ambition, and loneliness. When life is lived with others at the centre, that is when we find community, friendship and love…. it sounds really soppy, but it works…

Until next time…

Categories: Blog, Cancer Update
  1. Christy Rolfe
    January 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Yes, Jared, you’re right, the pain or misery we may have to bear inside us is eased by helping others and by living in joy for what we can be grateful for.. sounds soppy yes, but it so works. The reward is what we see in others and I think it helps neutralise our own emotional pain. Some opine that we should stop and really feel the pain in order to deal with it but I don’t think so. We can acknowledge it but I think it works better to move on and enjoy the next moment, living in the now.
    What you are doing is very valuable. You bring a unique perspective to your work and your blogs are always informative and insightful. We travel with you and wish you and Hannah glorious days, heavenly nights, loads of good meals well-digested, diverting company and fun – above all, fun….

    January 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    You are incredible

  3. Dyana Parore-Connell
    January 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Love reading your blogs. You are an amazing person, the way you deal with your health and your attitude to life is amazing. I wish you and Hannah all the best as you travel your journey day x day.

  4. theresa
    January 24, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Wisdom .. you have so much of it.. you share and we can learn..thank you so much..and i am so sorry for the misery you have felt this round.

  5. Lara
    February 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Hey Jared,
    Your Blog is inspiring. I have now been following your journey for that past 6 months or so.
    You have such an amazing faith in your hope in God. I too am a Christian.
    I am a 42 year old mother of 3 young children who was diagnosed one year ago with AdenoSquamous lung cancer, Stage 3A. I’ve never smoked – it’s a very rare type of tumour. I had surgery which probably removed 90% of the cancer, but unfortunately neither the resection margins nor the lymph nodes that they removed were clear. I then had concurrent chemo-radiation which was pretty tough. After about 6 months recovery, I now find myself feeling amazingly well (apart from the odd left-overs from surgery/chemo/radiation of course).
    My email is lara_maree@hotmail.com
    Would love to email you if you have time/energy to drop me a line.

  6. Carolyn
    February 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I first heard you on the radio years ago and was touched by your story and every so often since then I have ‘popped’ in to see how you are going. I’m truely sorry to read that you haven’t been able to kick that cancer to the kerb as I’m sure everyone would have hoped. The manner in which you carry this burden though has been an inspiration to many and I would have to travel a great distance to find as wonderful a witness as you. May God’s grace continue to be with you and may he continue to grant you the courage and strength to meet each days challenges, BUT most of all may His healing hand continue to rest on your right shoulder so that you may know he is there and that you are not alone until such time as you know His glory – Amen.

    • Jared
      February 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Carolyn, thanks for your comment.

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