NEVER AGAIN!: End of Chemo Round 18 (The Final Round)
Today I woke up with a familiar feeling. A feeling that most closely resembles the feeling you get after a heavy night of drinking (or so I’m told…never been much of a drinker). This feeling has been with me pretty regularly for 18 months straight now. But this morning was different because even though the sensations were the same, I knew that I will never have to put the source that creates that pain in my body ever again. That’s right, folks…I’m done with Chemo!!!
Surprisingly I have had mixed emotions about it. There is a part of me (a very small part) that liked the security in knowing that I was using a tried and true method of treatment that has been proven to greatly decrease the chances of recurrence (or at least prolong the years before recurrence). That part has been completely trounced, however, by the rest of me that is thrilled to know that I can now fully engage in the recovery process. Everyone has their different post chemo experiences and that is where prayer is greatly appreciated. Most stories I’ve heard from people have been very positive… but I’ve also met some people that have never fully recovered from it’s effects and in fact have found them worsen over time. My attitude with every new step is always the same, “All aboard the Hope Train”. What that means practically is that I plan to treat my recovery like you would a Chronic Illness. I plan to see it as something that I won’t let stop me from moving forward in life but at the same time see it as something to help give me patience and hold me accountable to always taking my health and wellness seriously. In a lot of ways I’m grateful for the reminder (or the “thorn”, if you will) that will always be there to help me prioritize my life in a way that promotes health and longevity and keeps the most important things the most important.
The timing of this is very interesting as the Moore’s are entering a definite “Transition Period”. Amy is leaving her current job and will be starting something new that we are very excited about (more about that in a later blog entry). I have some things in the mix as well.
The steps we are taking right now (moving forward) require a tremendous amount of faith on our part. We feel very much like Indiana Jones in “The Last Crusade” when he steps off that cliff into the abyss then lands on that invisible bridge. Currently, we are in that very brief moment where he’s going for it but hasn’t quite hit the bridge yet… and I’m not going to lie… it’s freakin’ scary. I’m a pretty cool headed guy but I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been having moments of doubt and despair. Here’s the thing though… Amy and I know for a fact that the invisible bridge is there…Why? Because that is the human existence. We all take that step every day…some of us are more acutely aware of it than others. Most of us, however, have a false sense of security and that’s why we don’t realize that we’re even doing it in the first place. What Amy and I have learned through the long journey of treatment is that when you make yourself aware of that step of faith (that, again, we’re all taking on a daily basis), every time you hit that bridge you get so much more joy out of life. You become more grateful for every day and for those around you. You even learn to be patient and loving towards people that don’t deserve it.
This idea is best summed up every time I talk to someone new and they hear about my journey (no matter the person…everyone says pretty much the same thing), they say something like, “I guess none of us are really ever secure…” (those of you that know what the journey is like, say the next part with me), “I could wake up tomorrow and get hit by a car and it would all be over.” It’s almost comical now for me to see people have that “eye opening” realization (just because it’s always predictable), but at the same time I’m excited for them to hopefully be transformed by that realization.
Here’s the thing, growing up as a Christian, this idea of living by faith has been drilled into me for as long as I can remember. Thankfully, I’ve come to realize that prior to my diagnosis I was actually living that way… but on an unconscious level. The problem with that is because it was buried so deep inside me I would constantly feel at odds with myself. I wanted so badly to be like King David and live with almost reckless abandon, but on a conscious level I believed I needed to embrace an attitude of “self reliance”. Self reliance in it’s purest form is a noble pursuit but the way I had been interpreting it was making me miserable and in a lot of ways (I believe) opening my body up to becoming sick. If there has been anything I’ve truly gained throughout this treatment period is that I have been given the ability to free myself up from my own misery and live the way I want to live (and know is the RIGHT way to live) on a CONSCIOUS level.
At this point it can only get better from here, right? I do have a choice though. I can look at each passing day as one more day of life and one day closer to feeling better…or I can view each new day as one day closer to a recurrence and my eventual painful and agonizing death. Obviously, I choose the former, but the idea of the latter forces me into a place that can help set my priorities…It’s the whole, “if you knew you only had so many days, weeks, months etc, to live…what would you do with your time?” scenario. That is actually a pretty awesome thing when you think about it… and I guess my point is that even though the idea of it is scary and daunting, it is simply the reality of human existence (some of us just have it shoved into our faces in a pretty gnarly way), so why not become aware of it, embrace it, and step out in faith. That is exactly what Amy and I are doing from here (we literally have no security blanket at this point and are stepping into the complete abyss) and you’re invited to be a part of it with us. I speak for both of us when I say that we’re totally excited because we know this is all a part of the wild ride that we call “The New Normal” (I hope if you’ve stumbled upon this blog that you realize that this has nothing to do with that recently canceled NBC sitcom) and so far the rewards have far outweighed the negative.
A million thank you’s for still being with us and supporting us and praying for us. We’ve been blessed to know that by just being open and transparent it has been an inspiration to you. Couldn’t have made it this far without you.
P.S. That picture above is of my actual medication.