Beginning two days after my chemo sessions every two weeks, I have a rough couple of days of after effects. It's mostly like a fairly bad flu – aches and pains and chills but no fever.
I crawl out of bed every now and then, check email for personal messages, have something to eat even when I'm not hungry because it's good for me and crawl back into bed.
In general, so far, given my predicament, I'm willing to make this trade-off – about three days of debility for 11 days of feeling good. Especially so after my blood tests at last week's treatment were normal.
The chemo treatments delay the growth of the cancer – for some unnamed period of time - giving me a few more months, they say, of healthy life, if it can be called that. Whether this is a rational choice on my part is a mystery to me.
Mostly, I'm just bumbling along, taking the advice of the doctors and nurses who, of course, have vastly more experience than I do at end-of-life cancer. Whether I'm right or wrong doesn't seem to matter much to me.
One of the things I'm grateful for is that my sense of humor remains. Let me tell you a little story that happened last week.
You who have been around through this entire adventure know that last spring I underwent two separate surgeries to place stents in my body to stop a dangerous internal bleed that was caused by the original, extensive surgery for pancreatic cancer.
The new surgeries were performed by a different kind of doctor than the one who did the cancer surgery.
A few days ago, a young woman called to book a six-month follow-up appointment with that surgeon telling me that before we met that day, he wanted me to have a certain kind of scan. Realizing she was unlikely to have read my medical record before making the call, I asked if I could skip the scan since my condition is now terminal.
There was a moment of silence at her end and before I could stop myself, I heard these words pop out of my mouth: “You know, a case of the surgery was a success but the patient died...”
Another stunned silence at her end and all I could do was laugh and apologize. But was there ever a more perfect moment for that old joke?
Like I said, I'm just bumbling along through this predicament of mine.