Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Reluctant Warrior

I’ve been waiting for a little while now for some brilliant bit of inspiration to materialize so that I might be able to conjure up some romantic idea about my current situation, however, it would seem that if there is such a thing as a honeymoon period after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, mine is definitely over.

The other day I ran into a friend in the grocery store. “You look great!” she said, (I get this a lot, combined with a look of surprise). “You are such a warrior”, she continued. I could feel the threat of tears rising in me. The truth is, I’m tired of being a warrior. I never asked to be a warrior and quite frankly I’m growing weary of the title.

I had my third treatment last Thursday and I am still trudging my way through the side-effects. Chemotherapy has left a bitter taste in the back of my throat and the inside of my mouth is blistered and sore. The veins on my left arm are bruised and tender, strained by the unfair task of being the vehicle that drives the poison through my body. My eyes are strained, my muscles ache and it takes every ounce of energy I have just to keep on moving. But I move. And I am grateful to be able to do so.

Of course, not everything is doom and gloom. According to my oncologist, my tumour has shrunk approximately 2 cm in all directions. This satisfying little tidbit is enough to make all the ugliness worthwhile. I have five treatments remaining, followed by a course of radiation that will last 5 weeks and will begin approximately 3 weeks after the chemotherapy is finished. I’m looking into the prospect of reconstructive surgery and can almost make out the dim flicker of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dave and Coady continue to be two beautiful reasons to maintain my warrior status. Refusing to let me get too caught up in my own drama, Dave still manages to drive me crazy with antics such as: sewing curtains for his van and lovingly referring to me as Mr. Clean. Not to be outdone by his Dad, Coady started saying “Mum” on his 6 month birthday. While Dave insists that he doesn’t really know what he’s saying, I only have to catch a glimpse of those big blue eyes to know the truth.

And so it is, the battle rages on. The reluctant warrior that I am, watching the snow melt away and taking with it my disease, my fears and my heart.