The old adage goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I will add one word: The road to medical hell is paved with good medical intentions.
I’m not sure I have had a week this bad in my life. Chemotherapy is meant to arrest development of cancer cells. But why does it have to nearly kill you to do that?
I will spare you from all the details, but I will simply say that the past week has brought some of the most excruciating abdominal pain I have ever experienced, the worst medical care in an ER ever, a hospitalization, more pain, horrendous chemo-induced constipation, daily trips to the city for radiation, and now, a stomach that is shut down and will not empty.
The week has brought more tears than I have shed in 4 years. It has thrown my faith in healing back in my face to take stock. It has brought me to the point of asking my husband to leave me so that he can have a life, and have it with someone who has life and energy and vitality, someone who is not chronically sick. He deserves that. I have asked him this week to stick an anchor around my neck and drop me in the muddy Vermillion River.
That’s how bad it is right now.
As of yesterday, they have taken me off the new chemo drug. I see my medical oncologist next week and we will talk. I talked today to my radiation oncologist, who is wonderful, but he was real and told me that lung cancer patients are going to see metastases to the brain and bones and other organs…..and my mind was at once, screaming I DO NOT WANT TO DIE A GRUESOME DEATH LIKE THAT and YOU DO NOT KNOW MY GOD, THAT HE IS A HEALER.
Tonight I am laying alone in a motel, due to the gracious care of the American Cancer Society, to cut down on the daily miles. Twice a week now, they are going to put me up in this motel overnight. I am hungry, but can’t eat food because my stomach won’t empty it. I am struggling with God. I am missing my husband. I am feeling badly that when my son called me today, I only blubbered about having had my fill of this life.
I want to set back the clock. I want it to be June 1, with a good PET scan result, taking my old chemo which did not make me sick and in pain, and was able to be managed for the chronic constipation. I want to run back there, to the lake, to my blueberry patch, when all I had to think about was how many quarts we were going to pick that day.
I am grieving the life I have had for 4 years. Am I grateful for it? Oh, yes, so grateful. I guess it is OK to grieve what is gone. I have to at least give myself permission to do that.
For those of you who are my prayer team, please pray that my stomach would kick into gear and that peristalsis would start up again so I could eat. I am down to 100 pounds and look like someone who could star in a movie about concentration camp survivors. My bones show through, my skin sags, and my face is pasty. (I have fantasies of eating a whole pan of my mom’s orange rolls again) Pray that the decisions the cancer team makes about my future treatment would not constitute a life no longer worth living.