It's been two weeks since I got home from travelling, and I haven't even started writing a will or looking at paperwork for SSI or disability retirement….although I did ask a friend to download insurance forms for me. Granted I've been ill, but it's been a year and a half, for crying out loud. I should've had these things done a long, long time ago.
It's hard to think about death all the time, especially while trying to fight for life. But, it's been the story of my life, this procrastination. Best to get it (the whole paperwork thing) over with and go on with the business of living for however much longer I have. I'm a bit nervous—I've been on this protocol for going on 9 months.
There's an experimental drug out now, going into Phase I clinical trials. Its aim is to extend the effectiveness of Tarceva for patients who respond to it (a small minority, me included). It has some serious side effects, which is crazy, as Tarceva already has its own serious side effects. At any rate, those who qualify for the study must have disease progression while on Tarceva.
I haven't done much research lately on new or possible treatments for my condition. The last CT scan report stated, "Numerous sclerotic bone metastasis—unchanged". "Numerous"—is that what disqualifies me from radiation, or any other treatment besides chemo?
Cancer permeates every day of my life, which makes me wonder why I suffer guilt for not returning to my job, which has been supportive in many ways. Money is of little value, although perhaps if I had more of it, I'd consider trying to find some place willing to give me more advanced treatments. I need to tap into SSI and such, because the time will come when I may have to pay for the expensive chemo drugs I take.
The husband's not around much, and that wouldn't change whether or not I was ill. Today was his birthday. He's in another country, in -17 degree weather, and he's got the flu. I have to reconcile myself with the idea that whatever limited time I have will not be spent largely with him. His position invariably is, "Someone's gotta work and support us." I may consider asking him to change jobs if the traveling doesn't let up—an idea I don't think he'll warm up to. Perhaps traveling makes it easier for him to cope with my illness. He's not around it every day. Just every 2 or 3 weeks, for a few days.
If I sound like I'm succumbing to melancholy—I am. I've always been a very serious person, though it may seem like a contradiction to some. Cancer has heightened that introspection, and I don't bother hiding it anymore. I think it's useful to think of one's mortality from time to time, and to admit to fear.
The idea of "living each day to its fullest" has become a weird abstraction. Some days I feel pretty crappy, so I "waste" them on bad TV and drinking tea. Some days I just don't feel up to doing anything fun, meaningful, productive, etc. The days I feel fairly normal make me lose focus—I behave like a "normal" person, making plans for future travel and engagements, shopping, plotting to buy a house…
I read a few "cancer blogs" before writing this, and realized I'd been in denial until the most recent bout with a respiratory infection, which won't abate, and which worries me. Is the end near? Probably, because what does "near" mean? Maybe I'll make it to 2009, but it seems like every day brings me closer to a deadline normal folks don't have to think about. I know you're not all sitting there wondering if this is it, 2 years, surely that's long enough? The oncologist at UCSF said, "At least 3 years". He was just giving me bang for my buck, since his 2nd opinion cost almost $900. Even at 3 years, I'll just make my 10th anniversary, which is a time goal at this point.
Well, enough rambling. I'm getting a massage tomorrow, and after that, I guess I'll try to be productive.