Relapse. The word no cancer patient ever wants to hear. What does it feel like when you hear those words? Well I can’t exactly tell you, because I indirectly saw them on paper first. Last Friday, I got my second PET scan since my diagnosis. My first showed that I was in complete remission after two cycles of escalated BEACOPP. My results came back online the night before my scheduled chemo and Doctor’s appointment the next day. Deauville score 4. I already knew what that meant. My disease was progressing. All I could really do is cry, since I’ve been so strong for so long, but to be completely honest with you, I didn’t feel a thing. I just cried. Not gonna lie, I cried getting my labs done, cried during my Doctor’s appointment, and cried in the car ride home. But I didn’t really feel anything, because when you’ve been through so much in such a short period of time, you become numb to it. Nonetheless, It’s scary being told that your chemo isn’t working as well and now you have to try something else. It’s scary as hell. But sometimes the fear is what you need to keep going and make you really step up. I was also told that I’m the youngest patient that my doctor has ever seen to experience “foot drop” as a side effect of one of my chemo drugs, procarbozine. This explains why I keep falling every time I walk for a long time. Sorry doc, I’m also going to be your youngest patient to reverse that side effect, mark my words.
So now, our plan is radiation and then more chemo, and pray that it works. I know it will work, because I’m going to fight like hell for it to work. It’s so easy to just give up when you feel weak, especially in a situation like this. I gave myself time to cry and then I thought to myself “you know what, you almost died. You’re still alive. You are already that far ahead. Handle it.” People who are dying would kill to even have an opportunity for options. I’ve made it this far already and refuse to give up. So, instead of going home and continuing to cry, I made an immediate appointment with a physical therapist (perks of having your bff work with a PT = VIP besitos to my Daly!) I went to physical therapy to strengthen myself and learn how to walk again without falling flat on my face (Thanks chemo!) It’s very hard to go from being in the best shape of your life, to having trouble walking. Very hard to try to walk your dog one mile without falling over. Very freaking hard. So, I’ll be going to physical therapy three times a week, and I WILL reverse my foot drop side effect. Sorry chemo, the only time I will allow myself to fall is when I’m intoxicated, thanks! Whatever though, I get to see one of my best friends now three times a week.
The moral of the story is that attitude is everything. Don’t feel sorry for yourself when things don’t go as you planned. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of your situation. Think of it as another bump in the road that will eventually make you a stronger person, and give you a better story to tell. Use it as a blessing. Although it’s hard, it’s not always about you. Cancer, or whatever situation you are in affects everyone around you, especially your friends and family. You don’t just have to fight for yourself, you have to fight for everyone around you. In my situation, I don’t think about myself when I go through all of this. I think of my mom who has been with me every step of the way. I think of my friends visiting me in the ICU, when I was so sick that I couldn’t walk. I think of my friends who live in other states that put their lives on hold to fly to Florida and see me. I think of my friends who have spent hours with me, visiting me when I got outside of the hospital and that continue to visit me and support me. Those are the people that I have to fight for, the ones who believed in me and continue to believe in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
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