Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I've Been Fighting The Beast For A Few Days

I often say I have my good days and my bad days when it comes to my cancer. What does that mean? "Bad days" are ones in which I can literally feel my body under assault from the cancer and my immune system fighting back. The impact on me is fatigue bordering on exhaustion, a general feeling much like the flu without the fever or chills. As the disease progresses, my bad days are getting more numerous and worse, like the recent episode that began last Friday.

It began Friday afternoon with an increase in my level of fatigue coupled with a loss of appetite; I had to force myself to eat that evening. On Saturday morning, I didn't finish one breakfast pastry and my sole food for the rest of the day was a can of tomato soup. My big activity for the day was lying around watching television and reading. On Sunday, I was determined to do something, so Di and I did some grocery shopping. The bags of groceries felt like they weighed a ton as I brought them in from the car, and I promptly took a two hour nap when I was finished.

Monday was the worst. I couldn't force myself to eat anything other than drinking some milk. At times, I was physically shaking. My cognitive abilities were scrambled; I tried to read but I was unable to concentrate and found myself re-reading the same paragraph two or three times. By afternoon, I had given up and just lay on the bed. I thought, so, this must be what it will be like when I finally die from cancer. By 8:00 pm, I had to go to bed for the evening, and as I drifted off to sleep I had this nagging feeling that maybe this was it, that perhaps this was the night I would die. I know I'm supposed to have learned some message of courage and hope, or some profound philosophical insight, that I'm supposed to share with everyone. But I didn't. All I could think of was, wow, 56 years and all that I've been through, and it might end tonight with a slow motion fade-out. As the old Peggy Lee song once asked, "Is that all there is?"

But I awoke Tuesday morning. I was very weak, yet I didn't feel as totally emptied as I did on Monday. As Tuesday progressed, my appetite returned and so did my strength. I was able to focus on things again and I could think clearly. And today I feel 1000% better than I did 48 hours ago.

Somewhere inside me, my immune system won some battle against my cancer during the past few days. Maybe it was trying to invade some new organ, or that tumor on my liver was trying to expand some more. . . . . . . . I don't know, but I'm certain a victory of sorts was achieved. And I think I got an advance preview of what it will be like to die.

All in all, a very interesting few days. Now I need to get to work and catch up on some stuff!