“It is what it is. Life is what you make it. When life give you lemons…” You get the idea. Don’t offer me any more of them right now. Please. And, thank you.
Today I had a meltdown, a rather big one. I share this because sometimes I think I make this living with lung cancer stuff seem much easier than it is. And that’s not fair to all those living with lung cancer or their caregivers. I have so many things that are going right on this journey and so many blessings every day. The reality is that many are really suffering and over 400 Americans die of lung cancer every. single. day.
It began quietly, building throughout the day. Dan and I were both aware it was happening. He tried to steer it in a more positive direction. I could do nothing but let it go. Every little thing throughout the day reminded me of what I cannot do because of lung cancer. (Not my usual self.) By the time I realized that my somewhat crazed state was likely my medication doing it’s job in my brain, I was in tears. Sobbing, I said over and over, aloud and in my head, “I don’t want this lung cancer anymore. I don’t want this lung cancer medicine anymore.” Well there. Okay then. Now that’s wishful thinking. Because really? Really, for me there is no choice. I can’t just wish this cancer away. Anymore than there’s a choice about aging. What’s the alternative? Death. That thought knocked some sense into me. I’m not ready to give up on life yet. I’m still a healthy, young woman, just with lung cancer – my first brilliant oncologist Dr. Gandhi told me so! I wiped my tears, apologized to Dan, who held me through it all (as he always does), and moved on with my day.
Tonight I’m back to normal, my normal. Living well with lung cancer. And I know my medicine, the fair Lady Lorlatinib, is reaching and working in my brain. I don’t mind that my fingers and hands feel prickly as I touch the keys. Neuropathy, it’s a brain thing. It’s like I told my oncologist about my odd headaches, vision flashes, and messy speech – it means the medicine is working in my brain. Lady Lorlatinib is working very hard to contain and control that nasty little ROS1 riding around in his sports car throughout my body. I am grateful for this powerful drug and the research teams that identified ROS1 and treatments to slow down that speedster. Tonight, why, I even laughed when I put my cup into the cupboard to warm instead of the microwave. Huh, no buttons to push. Oops! (And no, everyone doesn’t always do that – I never did…)
My purpose in sharing this post is why I share my journey at all – to help people understand the metastatic cancer journey. To inform people who are well, so they may reach out to others with compassion. To inform others with cancer about the importance of finding excellent treatment, keeping your body healthy, and living with peace and hope. For me today was just a blip on the screen. Kind of like those teenage PMS days. The real me – I am at peace with my life, filled with hope, and surrounded by love. I pray for that same state of being for all who travel this road.
This is Lung cancer Awareness Month. Beware! And BE AWARE. If you have lungs, you are at risk for lung cancer. Early detection can mean possibly being cured, saving a life. Detection and genomic testing can mean a targeted treatment, saving a life. Research funding is needed so that the heroes can do their work, finding treatments, causes and preventions, and cures.
Me. Finding joy in the everyday every day, in the barn with the goats, snuggled on the couch with the three little dachshunds, just being here with Dan, in our home on the side of the mountain. Thanks for listening. Your prayers and thoughts of strength and positive energy for all who have lung cancer are needed and appreciated. Love to all.