I've been immersing myself again in cancer stuff over the last few days. Checking out websites for organizations, finding blogs by other colo-rectal folks, as well as finding books and movies that deal with it fictionally. It's not like I don't think about it everyday, but most of the time I put it on the back burner of my mind and focus on anything else. It might sound strange, but it has been a good thing for my mind recently. Kind of a forewarned is forearmed sense. I may not have a lot of control over what my body is doing but I can mentally take some control. I've learned a couple of things and gotten a better hold on some of the lingo. It's a strange comfort. I am sitting heavily, yet comfortably, with the reality of this disease.
The hardest and weirdest part has been some of the blogs I've come across. I am the kind of gal that likes to start things from the very beginning. I like to experience stuff fully and not miss any steps/parts along the way. So I find a blog and immediately head to the first entries and move forward in time from there. Which is great until I get to a post from a family member or friend that says that they've passed away. Changes the whole perspective on what I've been reading. It sets you back into reality pretty hard, and again reminds me that I am dealing with (as I've said recently) some serious shit. There is a little sadness, but in a strange way it bolsters me in this fight. I have learned a lot about the different turns this process can take: remission, recurrence, treatment difficulties and options, etc. Also helps me to be forewarned about side effects and issues related to my current chemo, possible future chemo and other treatments. After all, a gladiator doesn't focus on the carnage around them at the end of a fight... they take away knowledge, strength, will, courage.
I've also been reminded that I feel pretty lucky in my personal journey through treatment. I have dealt with the standard side effects but nothing has taken me down too far physically. Surgery recovery was the hardest part, and even then only for the first three or four weeks. I've not had allergic reactions to any medications or chemo. I didn't have any outstanding health issues going into this. No new health issues have cropped up in the meantime. Other than my little infection debacle a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I'm getting off pretty easy.
One of the most comforting parts of my web crawling has been realizing that there are others going through the exact same thought processes and emotions that I am. It's nice not to be unique for once. And you should all understand just how keen I am to be unique. Ain't no one out there like me dammit! But in this situation it is nice to be just another member of the crowd. I am not the youngest to go through this; I am not the healthiest to get this; I am not the only one; I am part of a larger group (an army) of gladiators. And we all have to wade through the same muddy shitpile to get to the end, the other side, the accolades, the warm showers. And everyone (real and fictional) has their loving friends and family to help carry them along. Reading or watching that part is heartwarming. Because that is one very good reason why we fight. For the smiles, hugs, words and love that is out there. It is hard on this side of the coin, but I recognize that it can be equally difficult for you on the other side as well. I hope I don't forget that and get too caught up in the Victoria Show. I work hard to keep it all balanced.
So I am a little fixated at the moment. I'm sure it will pass in the coming days and I'll turn my focus to something else. Probably nephlet things as the baby shower quickly approaches. I'm planning a short trip out of town for the next couple of days to see a variety of friends; always a good thing. My pep is back and I'm going to run it ragged.