“I fight this battle all alone”Tweet
Above is a line from one of my favourite Alice in Chains songs, “Nutshell.” Ever since being diagnosed I tend to pay more attention to the true meaning behind some of the lyrics in many of the tunes I listen to and I love music. However this one stands out to me not because of the meaning in the song itself, but how I feel when I listen to it.
Now I have a strong and very supportive group of friends and family that would do almost anything to help me out. It starts with a great wife and partner in this, who always looks out for me, buys the food and supplies she thinks I need and is always there listen whether its a good or bad day. Even when I’ve been an asshole, yes, believe it or not I can be. She has been by my side for more than half my life. The one who encourages me to try things and go to the places that I want to explore. Very understanding through the mood swings I’ve had, and also by the fact I can be gone off and on for long periods during camping season. She is honestly my “Rock”, but unfortunately because of Covid has not been able to accompany me to any appointments or treatments.
I have family members that phone to check in to see how I’m doing, asking if anything is new or changing, offering up advise after researching some cancer remedies. Lots of close friends, and now old friendships renewed because we’ve moved back to my hometown, always asking how I am, offering up help. I guess what I’m saying is a have a large, diverse support network.
Along with friend and family, there is also my CNETS support group full of passionate, friendly and very informative people, without some of their guidance dealing with a rare type of cancer this journey would’ve been far more difficult. Through these groups I have met new, what should we call it? “Zoom” friends and family. Some of the best, most resilient people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and can’t wait to do in person one day soon, fingers crossed.
And of coarse there’s my medical team, I think I have the best Oncologist(s), I had great surgeons, the nurses who are always friendly when drawing my blood for 3 month lab work or those attending to me after surgery, or during a bowel obstruction attack. Their is also my Psychiatrist who calls every 6 weeks and referred me to the CBT coarse I attended and of coarse the people I met in class, along with the great instructors.
“Whew”, that’s a lot of support looking back now that I’ve written it all out and it’s staring back at me. Oh shit, forgot one last group, you the reader and the complete strangers who have taken the time to send me their best and wish me and my family well. This blog was started as kind of a diary for myself and just anyone who wanted to read to help and explain what kind of cancer I had, stage IV neuroendricine cancer(tumors) and to try and raise a little awareness, as I very high percentage of those diagnosed are at the stage IV level. And two years ago I thought I was one of the healthiest 46 year guys I know and now I’m one of the sickest(even though to look at me you’d never know).
I guess what I’m saying here is I have a vast network of support from people in my life both new and old and for that I’m fortunate. It helps me carrying on through each day whether it’s sitting down to write or getting out for a hike, jog or canoeing trip. Or days I need to sit and rest and a shoulder to lean on.
So, now getting back to the quoted line, although I have this great support group(which everyone needs), deep down I still fight this battle all alone, in a way. The first and most obvious example is my cancer journey has been through Covid, so besides being aloud 1 person to visit when I end up in the hospital, all my appointments and treatment I’ve had to go to myself and that of coarse is nobody’s fault. Tracy and others have offered, of coarse, to come and wait in the car when I get my needles, and she has come a few times and my Dad came once, but for that I’m usually fine on my own. It’s a 40 min drive, to get 2 injections that takes 10 mins, then I turn around to drive home, with the seat warmer on, it helps with the uncomfortable feeling, the real soreness doesn’t really kick in until the next morning.
But ultimately this is my bodies battle to fight, alone. The choices I make going forward can help with the quality of life I will have. The company I keep and the positive vibes I try to absorb, the lifestyle that keeps me in a good mental state can only help. But, as we all know cancer is a bitch and it has a mind of it’s own and will slowly try to break down my body, and ultimately end it. My body and my body alone is what will decide how long I’m here for. I keep up my habits, exercise and consuming good foods(for the most part) to keep this body as healthy and strong as possible. That’s what I mean by “fighting this battle all alone”, as a metaphor.
Like I’ve said before my initial diagnosis was 10 to 15 years to live and unsure of the quality of life to go with that , always tough to write that. That was now almost 2 years ago, so…. does that mean I’m down to a possible 8? My wife and others have told me how stubborn I am, sometimes I guess not always the best trait I guess. But being told I’m far too stubborn to let this cancer get me, is the flip side of that trait. Stubbornness, determination and will-power are now what keep me going every day and will for the very long foreseeable future.
I have a good laugh now when Tracy calls me “stubborn”, “Is that so bad I ask?”, always with a smirk on my face. I think it’s my one get out of jail free card when we have our rare difference of opinions……I think she’ll let my keep it.