One step closer

I’ve spent the entire day getting all my ducks in a row for Monday’s biopsy at UCLA. A zillion phone calls, a hundred pieces of the puzzle to fit together and even if every person I spoke to between Wednesday and today confirmed, “Done, and done”, I bet come Monday something will be missing. I hope it all works out in the end, even if that happens. Another baby step towards buying time and prolonging life.

Am I really prolonging life, or am I postponing death? It’s a permanent sticky thought in my brain’s bulletin board – Is death near? Should I be preparing for that instead of planning a trip to IKEA, a huge Thanksgiving dinner, a trip to Nashville, pre-Christmas craft weekends, trips for the New Year… ? Why plan death when you can plan life? Cough, cough, wheeze, ouch… Let’s go to Hawaii while I can still get out of bed…

Knowing I’m a bit closer to getting on therapy that will improve my quality of life does wonders for my morale. It makes me Happy, it makes me Hopeful, it makes me Grateful, it reminds me what the word Blessed means. It heightens the grief and longing I feel for those I’ve lost to lung cancer, but I fight in their honor. Every extra day, every joy, every breath I take I share with them in spirit.

My desk is piled high with bills, admin paperwork… in the end all that matters is what it is of ourselves we leave behind. I can’t leave a pile of money so I hope, like those I’ve lost, I can leave a vestige of compassion, knowledge, and a passion to find a cure for lung cancer and all the other underdog, orphaned, invisible diseases that plague humanity. It’s amazing that we went to the moon over 40 years ago, yet we haven’t achieved world peace, solved world hunger, found cures for the most common diseases, or found a way to stop destroying our planet and wasting its resources.

In my youth I wanted to change the world somehow but like most people, I didn’t stop to consider exactly what that would take and make it a life goal. Having cancer and being terminally ill has put me on the path of joining clinical trials – as much to prolong life as to contribute to medical knowledge. Yes, I’m willing to be experimented on – what have I got to lose? And I’ve mostly been rewarded. I urge everyone to keep an open mind toward clinical trials should they ever have a complex medical condition – whether it be arthritis, an ulcer, migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, psychological issues, stress, sleep disorders… there are thousands of trials and the majority of them are good trials, aimed at moving us closer to cures and understanding.  While it’s true pharmaceutical companies are in the market to make money, most scientists who work for Big Pharma do what they do out of a desire to move science forward and help humanity (and maybe get a big house and nice car, but that’s par for anybody who works for a living).

So on Monday they’ll harvest cancerous tissue from my collapsed lung (I wish they’d just take the bastard out) and experiment on it. It’ll probably bite back, it’s so ornery, but the less of it is in my body, the better. Apparently I won’t even be knocked out for it, darn it! This weekend I’ll look over my Advance Directive, make sure my final wishes are known, and get my mind set for Monday’s procedure. I hope on Tuesday I’ll just have a sore spot and it’ll be business as usual. Think of me and wish me luck.

 

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