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.


Tracy said...

I feel there are no words that can be useful right now and everything I want to convey can be done in a hug - so here is a hug from me to you. HUG!!!

Reesh said...

Well the reluctant warrior that you are has managed once again to perfectly paint a picture of your current status with such a remarkable voice. Thanks for sharing...

karen said...

Knowing that you don't want to have to be a warrior makes you even more of a warrior in my eyes- damn that!! A warrior though has the right and willingness to ask for help and take long rests from being strong. Does that make any sense?
Hugs, Karen and family

Lisa Gallant said...

You are fighting a worthwhile fight, Jenn and I think of you every day. Sending you love and prayers from PEI!!

Lisa G.

lisalou said...

warrior... is just not a word that I would use. Not this side of 1993 anyhow.

I do think you are special though. Special ans strong and beautiful. And, I don't know what Mr.Clean Dave grew up with but he must have been a pretty hot looking lady.

Love ya

Michelle Frisch said...

Warrior or not, you are a strong and optomistic fighter! I continue to wonder how you are doing, and love the updates on your blog/facebook.
My brother on the otherhand, can be pretty "funny". Whether or not you resemble Mr.clean, I think you look great bald. Definately have the ability to pull it off.
As for Coady, he sure does know what he's saying, from one mother to another, you JUST know.
Take care of yourself, my crazy brother, and my handsome nephew!
hugs and kisses!

Bruce Davison said...

Hi Jenn,
I love your blog, but just wish you had different source material. :-)

I agree with you around the limits of the warrior perona/archetype. It doesn't really capture your experience. I think you outrank a warrior, you're a parent. Parents do what needs to be done, with a warrior's courage but with a much bigger job description.

Keep writing and take care!

Christine said...

Hi Jenn,
Wonderful to meet you Deli Camping. Your personality is so wonderful and upbeat, you made my weekend happy (it's hard to be happy camping in the snow, and wondering which drinking guy is gonna chop his foot with the fire-ax first).

I envy your beautiful shiny head, you look so fashionable, I honestly thought you were just making a fashion statement. When I got home I had such badly tangled hair, took 2 shampoos to get the smoke smell out ... your "Do" is so-o-o Practical.

Cheers, Christine & Jay.

Roger said...

It is a fight, isn't it. I was a reluctant warrior five years ago when the surgeons took my left kidney out because of cancer. The fact that I had cancer still scares and humbles me. It's a bit of a cliché, but every day is precious to me. Hang in there Jenn. Love ya.