Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Chariot's on Fire!

"Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure."
George Eliot

     Now I could always quote Frank Oz as Yoda in Star Wars (Episode IV): "Do or do not, there is no try." I recently wrote a poem for Alysha, too private to share here, but it came down to a list of things I feel that because of my illness I have been unable to fulfill to the degree of quality of which I would have liked to. It's not for lacking the desire or spirit to satisfy my responsibilities as a husband and father, rather a degradation of my energy; physical and emotional strength which inhibits my ability to be the man I need to be. The ending of that poem however, stated my clear intention that in light of how I feel that this illness has debilitated me, that I will not give up or give into it without continuing to fight. Having still struggled on a daily basis to get the pain, again both physical and emotional, under control leaves me weak in the knees and weak in spirit. I've been told by several people that it would not be a fault to say enough is enough and give in to the pain and exhaustion. 

There dwells within me still a pretty dark place, an island of despair and hopelessness that wells up within me in times of weakness when i'm overcome by the effects of the cancer. Most of the time it's kept quelled by keeping positive and seeking the good in every moment. However, it is a persistent beast of burden that sneaks up on me when i'm not focused on maintaining a rampart of hope and positivity to repel it. Having continually received the same reply from prestigious cancer treatment centers around the country that "we can't do anything more for you," and having our options continually limited by genetic gene mutations that inhibits this protein or this molecular process from allowing certain treatment methods from being effective, needless to say it gets very discouraging. It certainly lends its hand in leading us to confront the inevitability that I may not make it through this. We've recently discussed with both the medical and radiation oncologists what plans of action remain and it's come down to finishing radiation, which i'm a week and a half into a 6 week round of, to see if it's had any positive effect in either moderately shrinking the tumor or alleviating any of the pain or other symptoms associated with the tumor placement. Then the potential for surgery would be discussed, even thought the consulting surgeon has shied away from being aggressive in pursuing surgery as it won't solve any of the other problems posed by the metastatic disease in my lungs and the still unknown phantom lesion on my liver. We are trying to push for the surgery regardless of his hesitations, even if it means finding a different surgeon, just to eliminate the continually aggravated nature of the primary tumor; the pain, the blockage and discomfort. I want it out. Then, we try the remaining type of chemo that is the last version available to me and then we make the most of my remaining days. 

I've been on the verge, in the midst of unbearable pain and discomfort, of giving up hope and feeling like I would give in, but my mind turns to my children and the pain and confusion that they would be left with in my absence and cannot and will not allow myself to willingly go to that place. Whatever God's plan for me is, whether my chariot awaits to deliver me to my eternal home now, I may be led to it, but with all the strength within me, it's gonna be down for maintenance if I have anything to do with it. The horses may be ready and willing to pull that chariot to the gates of heaven, but if I approach it, it's gonna mysteriously catch fire and be unable to fulfill it's journey. Sorry, not today... I certainly mean that in no defiance to God or to my acceptance of what my fate might hold, though regardless of how much pain I bear, no matter how weak and frail I become, I owe it to my family to fight with every last ounce of will and determination left within me. I've been going through possessions in my garage and my shed to see if we can thin out our belongings to have a yard sale and in going through all the gear I have for camping, skiing, rock climbing, and mountaineering, it pains me to think that I may never be able to use any of it again. My heart and soul yearns to climb and to ski high snowy peaks near and far, but my failing body anchors me to a desolate flatland. One day at a time, I will seek to keep that determination alive that I will once again have the strength to undertake another adventure, even if it would be my last. Just continuing to go through this trail is a daily adventure, but as long as I have the loving support of my family and of friends, I know I can reach that summit. Until we meet again, the best be with you all. Thanks for tuning in!


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