“When did your symptoms start?” a nurse asked as we waited the last few minutes for my chemo to cycle in. She stood in the far end of the room, leaning against an empty side table.
“Oh, they didn’t.” I reply.
Her eyes widen, “you just caught this through a routine checkup?! That’s incredible!”
I’ve heard it before, so many times. And I am very lucky. Maybe not as lucky as if I had been checked a year ago. But lucky, none the less. The thing that I just can’t seem to comprehend, is how normal I’ve been through this entire thing. Not mentally, but physically. I haven’t had symptoms for any of these “major problems” that have come along. I am literally in the hands of the medical profession when they tell me I’m sick. I need to remove my colon. My cancer cells broke loose. I have a blood clot.
I haven’t had a single textbook symptom, but continue to lay my fate and health in doctors hands who “know better” than I. In theory, if I feel fine, shouldn’t I be fine?
Not the case. And I know it’s not the case, I have just found that so much of my life right now revolves around what I convince myself in my head, not what I can tangibly understand. Here’s a couple other “theories” I’ve put together on my own.
[UNVERIFIED] One of the most painful/uncomfortable sensations I’ve felt was recovering in the hospital in Mayo after my big surgery. The worst was when I’d move between laying and sitting. I like to think that it was so odd because all my other organs didn’t know wtf was going on or where to go. They would settle when I was laying, but as soon as I sat up, it was like a free for all to claim the voided space in my abdomen.
[VERIFIED] What happens to the space where my colon was? Does something move in to fill it up? Actually, no. Nothing does. The average person looses 5-8 pounds of weight (approx. weight of a colon), and some may never gain that back.
[VERIFIED] So, these cells that broke loose. They are just floating along through my bloodstream. Their source has been removed, but the chemo’s responsibility is to destroy them, before they can mutate again and attach onto other organs.
[UNVERIFIED] I’ve heard many mental strategies on ‘helping’ chemo attack these cells. Most of them involve visualizing the chemo attacking the floating cancer cells and pushing them out of my body. In my mind, the chemo is like my dad. When we were in Mayo, he chased rowdy 10 year old boys out of our hotel hallway by opening the door and yelling at them. My chemo works the same way. “HEY! Are you supposed to be up here?? No!? Well then get out of here!” and the cells all run away and out of me.
[VERIFIED] One of my favorite books right now was given to me by a former USA athlete, and has nothing to do with cancer. It’s called “Mind Gym; An athlete’s guide to inner excellence.” The first couple shorts cover things I’ve already learned about from other books – visualization, positive affirmations, trigger words, etc. Repeating these things generally lead to them occurring in your life. If it’s published in two books, it has to be verified, right?
[UNVERIFIED] The majority of what will lead to my conquering the next six months boils down to mind over matter.