Now that I've spent the last two publishing weeks moaning and groaning about my potentially life-changing CT scan results from my upcoming September 26 scan, I think it's time to buck up, don't you? I mean, how long can I continue to drone on before I bore even myself? Talk about putting the cart before the horse, I'm putting myself before the cart. If I've learned/assimilated anything in my nine and half cancer years, it is that waiting for results rather than presuming or anticipating and/or especially overreacting to them in advance of anything actually being confirmed as negative/problematic is, highly recommended. Much easier said than done I understand, but the alternative "butters no parsnips," to quote Mrs. Patmore from the Downton Abbey kitchen.
And if one has been compromised, as I have been by a "terminal" diagnosis (2/27/09), followed by years of chemotherapy and the variety of associated side effects, wasting any time or energy on pursuits which don't enhance life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is a pursuit not worth taking. Moreover, given how little control one has over the entire cancer experience - from initial screening/testing/diagnosing/staging to lab-testing/treating/maybe even "surgerizing" (to use of my late father's made-up words), it would seem the sooner the patient/survivor accepts and sort of embraces their place in the cancer feedback loop, the better. Otherwise, the process likely becomes even more excruciating than it already is.
Not that my oncologist hasn't been forthcoming or the least bit unclear about my situation and the varying alternatives, risks, the known and the unknown; he has, the problem is that cancer can be, shall we say, uncooperative. Adding to its "uncooperativeness" is its effect on a patient (yours truly) who has lived years beyond the presumptive treatment guidelines oncologists refer to. Generally speaking, stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer survivors of nearly 10 years are few and far between so there's very little empirical evidence/information available advising oncologists how to treat the anomaly. (I've been called worse.) They're challenged enough determining how to treat the 234,030 new cases projected for 2018 (according to the American Cancer Society). When it comes to treating an old case (mine), common sense and trying to not make things worse seems as much a reasonable course of action as any, especially as I try not to count the days until my next scan. It will get here soon enough - or not, so I see no advantage in obsessing about it and staring at the calendar. Oddly enough, outliving one's prognosis by as many years as I have presents its own peculiar set of problems.
I never thought I'd be quoting/invoking a Doris Day song but, "Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future's not ours to see, Que sera, sera. What will be, will be." And though I realize Doris wasn't singing about cancer per se, it was more so about life; nevertheless, if there's one subject that us cancer patients could use all the uplifting lyrics sung and/or talked about, it is words which can minimize the slings and arrows of the outrageous misfortune which has befallen us and to help find a way to make the best of the extraordinarily difficult circumstances life has us living.
So what if I have to wait a month for the other show to potentially drop? I'm alive and reasonably well. Besides, there's no guarantee that the shoe dropping will be the cancer shoe. Maybe it will be the non-cancer shoe? Regardless, whatever shoe drops on or about September 26, I'll be there to pick it up, find some bootstraps, buckle up and get on with it.
"This column is my life as one of the fortunate few, a lung cancer anomaly: a stage IV lung cancer patient who has outlived his doctor’s original prognosis; and I’m glad to share it. It seems to help me cope writing about it. Perhaps it will help you relate reading about it."