As we venture around the bend of Day 160 (has it really been 5 and a half months?) we have reached the Home Stretch as far as my treatment is concerned. I’ve completed my chemotherapy regimen (the joy) and yesterday was my final CT scan before the Verdict is read on whether or not the past 6 months have done any good or not. While I hold my breath for the results of that scan, I can spend the next two weeks enjoying the fact that I won’t have to be injected with any more orange poisons – and here’s to hoping that the next two weeks’ solace becomes a permanent state of affairs for me.
Recently I’ve been forced to do some serious soul-searching and reflecting upon the last half-year. I’ve always considered myself a strong person, both in mind and body. Even in tough times, I’ve been able to make my own decisions and live my own consequences – confident that I am the one in control of my own destiny at all times. Lately this has been called into question – that because of my condition I am not in control and I am not able to fend for myself. I not only find this offensive, but I find this a true stab at who I am as a person and where I stand in the world.
When people think of cancer, the most common image they seem to draw forth is that of the enfeebled senior citizen – wasting away in a hospital bed, chained to machines that are their only link to this plain of existence. Cancer comes across as a death sentence – something that has no other result than the sweet embrace of Death after a long and hard – but ultimately futile – struggle for life. This image seems to have been adapted to me by some people that I honestly felt knew me better than that.
Let’s get two things perfectly clear: I have never – never – felt worse in my life than when I was strapped to the rickety peach-coloured chairs of the chemotherapy unit. But make absolutely no mistake – I have also never felt like I was not able to make my own decisions. At no point have I lost sense of who I am or how I want to live out whatever remainder of my life I have left on this earth. The mere thought that anyone would suggest that I need others to make decisions for me because the cancer was affecting my logic somehow is completely ridiculous and purely out of my range of capabilities as a human being.
I think the problem here is that people are letting their perceptions of Cancer get ahead of their perceptions of me as a confident, strong-willed, existential person. I am not enfeebled. I am not weak. Cancer or not – I am the only person in control of my decisions and my life. If I didn’t like the state of affairs, I’d make the appropriate changes. Anyone who thinks I am not the same person I was a year ago has got some serious back-peddling to do.
So the next person who feels the need to step in “in my best interest” had better sit back and try to remember that – cancer or not – I am the same strong person I always was and always will be. And if anyone has any suggestions for what I should do with my life would they please write them down on a piece of paper, place them in the toilet, and take a big fat crap all over them – because that’s basically what I do with most things people tell me to do. What can I say, I’m also stubborn.
Mood: Cool, Calm, and Collected.