I find myself in a state of transitional thinking. For more than six months, I focused solely on getting through that sixth chemo treatment. It was my goal, my destination, and I thought once I reached it I would feel tons different. Interestingly enough, I don’t feel different at all. Except a teeny, tiny bit melancholy knowing that it’s not over and there’s more to come.
I wasn’t necessarily focused on getting rid of the cancer, but on getting rid of as much of it as we could because I knew up front that remission is my goal, not a cure. So my expectations were realistic, but upon arriving at the end of this major phase of treatment, I feel a little lost mentally. It’s kind of like my birthday came and went with all its excitement, but I didn’t get all my gifts – just one big one. There are still more gifts to come, but I have to work for them instead of just having them given to me.
I’m still a cancer patient, and will be for a long time to come. But how do I wrap my mind around this disease now? How do I psychologically prepare myself for being a cancer patient indefinitely? I dream of the day when the word cancer is not a part of my daily life. But in that dream, I cannot envision when that day will come. In two years? In five? Maybe ten? Only God knows.
I think the key for me is to transition my thinking from lymphoma is a disease I have to tackle to lymphoma is a chronic illness that will be with me for a while. Something not curable (yet) and that will remain with me for years to come until a new treatment is developed to remove the cancer completely from my body. And I believe that day will come. :)
If I were to think of this in terms of a race, the first part that I just completed would be a sprint – a hard core pounding of the pavement to get to the finish line. Now, that I’ve completed the sprint successfully, I am transitioning mentally and physically to a cross-country run because this is going to go on for a while.
That’s the tough part. I would really like for this to be a disease that I could get rid of and not have to think about anymore. But that’s not what I have and there’s nothing I can do about it. I have to accept what this is and live my life as normally (or better than normally) as possible, all the while the cloud of cancer hovers over my head just slightly out of sight. I can do this. I will endure and run this race with my head held high, without allowing discouragement to weigh me down, and with confidence that each day, each treatment, each test gets me one day closer to total remission or, Lord willing, a cure.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
It’s going to be a wonderful Wednesday! Enjoy every minute of it!!