I feel like I should be signing off and in some way I am. Still, the Great Cancer Adventure continues….
Feeling overwhelmed by the side effects of the latest chemo (8-10 episodes of diarrhea per day, beginning in the dead of the night) and knowing the options from here are limited, after thinking about this over the weekend, I decided to suspend treatment. Permanently. While the ending might not be pretty and the decline steep, the ride bumpy, I’ve had enough of living without much prospect of good quality of life, even if only temporarily. Besides, the survival rate for people with my type of cancer at this point after initial diagnosis, is in the single digits, so I’ve had a good run and cannot reasonably expect much more than I’ve been given. Yes, the chemo side effect should even out over time, but even so, now seems like a good time to see what’s next. So, I called CTCA Monday morning and let them know of my decision, and things proceeded quickly. I hope we parted as friends, but it does seem like I was never there; I’m a ghost with little electronic trail.
The Champ called a brother (Mike) who has lots of experience with hospice, and he had two recommendations, both of whom sent reps to our living room by the afternoon, and we made a decision that evening. We opted for Lutheran Senior Services, and we signed the paperwork this morning, Tuesday, so our world changed dramatically in less than 36 hours. The kids are coming in this weekend, since sooner is better than later at this point. Betty’s got lots of messages and phone calls, which she relishes, whereas by and large people have been keeping their social distance, even virtually, from me, something I very much appreciate. Yes, I will miss the quarantine. The world is a far, far better place when extroverts keep their distance, at least from me.
There’s a metaphor in one of the hospice pamphlets, which tells the story of a sailing ship moving out of sight over the horizon until it simply disappears. Then, on a far distant shore, beginning as only a speck on the horizon, in time it becomes a welcome vessel arriving safely home. The moral of the hospice metaphor is different from the one that comes to mind for me, which is that there are now, and always shall be, only two stories. Somebody takes a trip. And a stranger comes to town. In whatever time I have left, I expect to be reflecting on this often.