Got a text update yesterday from running buddy Brad. He was going to see his Oncologist and told me he’d report back with his counts.
“Hi Beth. Disappointing results today! White count stayed the same and most everything else dropped slightly. Dr. not concerned, but I’m realizing this might take some time. I just want my life back!”
I knew right away what he was feeling. I sent a return message saying that this was all positive news. Good counts = a good report. Always. But, it’s the getting to the “real” overall numbers and holding them there that feels like forever. You walk into that hospital feeling pretty normal, but after drugs like Cytoxin, Methotrexate, and Busulfan are pumped through your bloodstream daily, you feel ridiculously abnormal.
Nothing about your regular routine is maintained. Not one thing. From showers to food to sleep (especially the sleep), the way you function completely changes. But even more difficult than the functional changes is the waiting. Mentally trying to maintain an optimistic outlook on everything, yet knowing full well you are not fully well just yet, is unbelievably taxing.
So it was hard for me to know exactly what to tell Brad, since I can remember as if it was yesterday how badly I wanted out of there. I needed to function normally again, to get back into any semblance of a routine, but my body and my doctors would not allow it. And no matter how many times your brain tells you yep, we’re good to go, time to get back at it, whatchya waiting for anyway?, if the rest of you isn’t quite ready, there simply is not much you can do in that moment.
Have you met impatient, goal-oriented runners? Type A does not just refer to blood let me tell you. This is not easy for any cancer patient, let alone those of us who dislike sitting and being told what to do constantly.
But I will also tell you this: not being able to do anything in that moment has helped me all these years later to be ok in other [painful] situations. Sometimes we simply cannot – and should not – do anything in certain moments or seasons of life… other than wait.
Yeah, yeah, Tom Petty, we know that The Waiting is the Hardest Part.
I for one like a good cliché once in a while. Good things are comin’.