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The Cancer Journey: What is

Reposted from September 29, 2012

I woke up excited for my follow up at Queen Mary, not somuch in anticipation to see Professor Kwong, but mostly due to the fact that Icould go see Wen Ying and the nurses that cared for me during my hospital stay.

Wen Ying was already up sitting in her chair when I gotthere after I got my blood drawn downstairs. She’s been in good spirits and eating A LOT. We took photos together, talked (mainly about all the deliciousfood people have been bringing her) and even had a cup of tea together.Although I had experienced so much physical pain during my previous stay in the hospital, it was evident that the friendship I developed with Wen Ying and the staff as well as memories of the love I received from visitors, some of which was still evident in that hospital, trumped it all. It felt like I had come back to a second home. It felt comfortable, peaceful and joyful, feelings that people, particularly patients, generally wouldn’t describe to have when walking into a hospital.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time with Wen Ying, I had to return back downstairs and see Professor Kwong, get stitches removed from my lymph node biopsy as well as get an injection to boost my white blood count (so we later learned).

The consultation was short, as expected.

After examining me, he explained I will most likely be ableto use a lighter chemo drug this time around. Last time he gave me DHAP, a cocktailof harsh and strong chemo drugs. The drugs seemed to have worked in my body but it brought with it a lot of side effects and damage to my body, so he would like to switch to a lighter one and feels its possible at this stage where I’m not as serious as when I was first admitted (apparently he said it was really serious and he wasn’t even sure if DHAP would work on me).

So my next chemo drug will be Bendamustine, a lighter chemo with less side effects, plus the Rituximab that I have been receiving both in my chemo treatment in 2010 as well as this past time with Professor Kwong.

My second round will once again take place next Friday-Sunday (October 5-7) in Queen Mary Hospital, 21/F, bed # TBA, but I’m hoping and will request to be back beside Wen Ying. It’s a three day chemo like last time, and if all goes well, I’ll be able to be discharged and return home either on Sunday or Monday (I’m thinking Monday is most probable). I will first have an x-ray Friday morning to see if there’s still water in my lungs. If there isn’t the green light is on for Bendamustine to be administered.

We entered his office prepared with a list of questions – how many chemo treatments will I have to do? when will we do another scan? what happens if there is water in my lungs? what is Michelle’s result for the bone marrow match?

Many of our questions were given the exact same answer: “don’t worry about it now, we’ll deal with it as it comes along.”

Frustrating as it was in the moment, I look back at it now and realize it’s a principle we should all be living by. If you think about your day, how many minutes or hours even do you spend thinking, planning, worrying,contemplating, envisioning, speculating about and working for your future. Yetwe don’t even know what will happen in the next minute, let alone the next month or year. Jesus puts it nicely in Matthew 6:34 when he said, “therefore,do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s actually easier to put this into practice when you have cancer. But even in just this past week when strength and energy has come back I have found that I’ve reverted to spending too much time in the future rather than in the present moment of life. The health we have today, the people we have in our lives in this moment in time, the tea I sip on as I write this, and even the pain in my back (from the injection for my white blood count) are to be embraced with thankfulness and if possible with joy simply because we’re alive today, at this second to experience it.

There’s a quote I love that goes like this: “If you worry about what might be, what might have been, you will ignore what is.”

Carpe Diem!


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