Off and on since 2013 I have kept a separate blog for keeping people up to date about my journey with cancer. The blog has been gathering dust bunnies for a while since I was in remission for two years and was on a targeted maintenance therapy for two years, and not taking anything for the last 9 months, so there haven’t been many updates to post. At first, I intended to keep the cancer journey separate from my author journey. Not because I wanted to hide the cancer (though I might want to BURY it), but because I write for kids and thought keeping the two things separate was a good idea.
I have since changed my mind. Keeping the leukemia journey separate from the author journey damaged the message I want to convey. We all face obstacles in life — those pesky things get in the way of us attaining our dreams. I am going after my dreams and goals regardless of the obstacles I face due to illness. The biggest part of those dreams is writing the stories I am gifted with in the hopes that they reach and touch the hearts of others. And maybe by sharing the whole journey, I might inspire others to not give up, but to keep on going until their dreams have been achieved.
Last week, I posted about The Anticipated Decision. My blood values have skyrocketed and we made the chemo decision, but the question remained — which protocol? My doctor wanted some time to think about the best protocol for me, so I waited. When I hadn’t heard by Friday, I called and she asked whether she could call me on Saturday.
Saturday, the call didn’t go exactly as planned. I expected her to call with the name of the protocol. But instead, she was fence sitting. The abnormalities in the leukemia and lymphoma make it aggressive. Add my personal idiosyncracies to the aggressiveness of an otherwise slow-progressing disease, and I’m not the easiest patient.
She laid out a couple of options and told me to think about it and let her know. Cue the deer in the headlights look. It’s not that I cannot make a decision … but this seemed like such a BIG decision to make. And I didn’t know enough.
Thank goodness for the internet age where information is literally at our fingertips. At the end of my research, I had basically joined my doctor on the fence. I knew exactly why she had climbed there.
- It’s not my first chemo rodeo.
- The normally indolent CLL/SLL disease is like a rampaging bull in me.
- I’ve already lived with this for 6 years and I’m still younger than the average onset age.
The question isn’t just which protocol has the best chance, but what is our long-term strategy? After a LONG week of researching and thinking, I had boiled things down to two questions. 1) As one of the options was to resume taking the targeted maintenance therapy, was that postponing the inevitable? 2) If the chemo failed, was the targeted maintenance therapy still viable? The answer to both questions was yes, so decision = made.
I have never been one to shy away from the unpleasant. While I’m not ready to gleefully skip down the street because I will be back in the chemo chair, I am relieved to have a plan. Even though that plan means deliberately making myself sick in order to get better. But that is the trade-off. Six months of getting my cancer cells to commit suicide and six months of recovery, and I might enjoy several years of remission.
And there is the biggest carrot of them all. A chance to get out of the house and meet readers without having to be the masked author. Not having to take extra precautions when around other people to ensure my beleaguered immune system doesn’t give up the ghost. The obstacles I am not allowing to stop me can be removed for a period of time. And I will revel in every minute.
The next step is getting the treatment ordered and approved by insurance, and then I’ll be put on the chemo schedule. And now that the decision has been made, I can get back to what is most important to me … writing and sharing my writing. If you haven’t yet checked out Speak No Evil, I’d love it if you did. It is the best thing I have written to date and I’m so excited about it’s release October 1st. 🙂