Monday, September 1, 2008

It Keeps Finding Us

Leukemia - check that - blood cancer continues to find us wherever we go. It doesn't just seem like every few days I hear of someone battling blood cancer. It happens this way. Kathryn says, "Don't we also know people who have breast cancer?" Yeah, that too.

Frankly, I'm sick of the pit in my stomach when I hear someone else is battling any cancer. About five days ago, someone in our profession told me of another colleague who is battling blood cancer in a Memphis hospital. He's African-American, which as you blood cancer experts know means he has a lower chance of survival.

Saturday night, a friend of a friend told me about a relative who has myeloma. In church on Sunday, Dori and I saw four-year-old Charlotte, who is battling ALL and is in the middle of her chemo regimen, take communion. We see their family, who we've gotten to know a little, experiencing some of the same crud we continue to face.

We don't have a list of everyone who is battling blood cancer. If I knew last year the number would be so extensive, I would have started a list. Sometimes when I'm tired at night, I just pray "for all the people who are battling blood cancer" and their caregivers, families and hospital staff, rather than go through the list. I can't keep track of it all; subconsciously, I think it's almost better that I don't but sometimes I feel selfish that I'm not being more attentive.

Kathryn asked me today if someone is going to find a cure for cancer. I told her I believe someone or some group of people will. I told her that's a big reason I run, to which she added, "And for Mommy." Nothing gets by K-girl, as our friend John calls her.

Yesterday was a cross-training family day. Sister Anne joined Dori, the kids and me for a Radnor Lake hike. Will dragged in the heat, so he and I cut it short to three miles, while the girls went four. Today, I ran 5.5 miles in the late morning heat (90 degrees and 70 degree dewpoint) at hilly Percy Warner Park. The run was difficult. After scaling Three Mile Hill, I stopped for a spell before getting back on it. My biggest problem was the skillet full of hash browns and veggie sausages I ate for breakfast. Bad running food.

If I sound disgruntled, I am. I don't feel this way often, but I do when one of several of my triggers gets pulled. Sometimes, when this crap gets to you, you bemoan the lack of control. You want to wave a wand and see all the affected people you know be healed instantly. Little else you think about seems to mean much when you feel this way. Most of the time, this feeling nests for a day, maybe two, then it's gone. I'm pretty sure fellow caregivers and blood cancer patients and survivors can relate.

Dori is having a better day. Today, she shared what Dr. Jagasia told her last week - that 14 of 15 blood cancer patients who received the same intense chemo and radiation regimen in 2006 as she did are still alive. Dori's "one-year biopsy" is scheduled one month early on September 9, so we'll see where we are soon.

1 comment:

Ronni Gordon said...

I know what you mean about a wave of bad feeling coming over you. I think I introduced myself on one of my previous comments. I had an auto in 2003 for AML, then relapsed in 2007 and had an allo; stayed in remission but had graft failure and got another allo this past June. It's hard to decide how to handle it when a funk comes on. Sometimes the harder you push against it, the worse it is. The best thing is probably accepting it and then adding a big dose of distraction. With your running and other things I don't know about, sounds like you have good ways to distract yourself. Plus, whatever you do, as you said, the funk always passes somehow.