It seems my posts are getting further and further apart. I believe some of this space is a result of my life returning to a normal flow but my life has never had much of a flow to it. I will openly admit it has not been a white water river for ever and much of my life was more a kin to a nice lazy river as I would float along with the occasional odd snag. For most of us our lives are not smooth water and nothing nearly as predictable as the flow of tides but I feel like I have had a pretty fair share of rough water in the last year and half. Of course I would love to think it would smooth out again and comparatively it has but no matter how much I am prepared there are still those odd rapids hidden around the corners. Even now as I think I have and idea of what is there as I have scoped most of the bends and boulders I find myself caught off guard.
This was not a set up to inform you all that I have developed some new problem but a way for me to bring myself through the tossing and turning of another day of off labs. My labs aren’t horrible. They have more red exclamations next to them than most of my patients but I have become somewhat accustomed to that. But sometimes when I get into the computer to look at them I tell myself “look dude, one of these times they aren’t going to look good” but I keep thinking “but today they may be all headed in the right direction.” For the last few months my kidneys have continued to be suspect which we have all chalked up to the immunosuppression med cyclosporine I get to take. The trade off is that my liver looks good and the GVHD seems to be in check. But today two of my liver enzymes turned positive again. Not bad and no where near what they were 5 months ago but enough to make me cringe, because my kidneys numbers don’t look great either.
The two of these malfunctioning sets of numbers in combo with the added nausea I have had for the past 2 weeks, the excessive tiredness of dealing with a cold, working more just sort of sucker punched me and I found myself momentarily flipped in the rapids and struggling to right myself as I bounced and rolled through the numerous thoughts which often toss me when I think of all that could be going wrong. I say momentarily because it seems like that is all it is. In my travel through this cancer canyon my worries today were short lived compared to some of the sections. I would love to be able to say that I just talked some sense into myself, thought of all the good points of my current life and shook it off with a smile. I didn’t. Every now and then I just lay down and think about how fucked up this all is and start to feel sorry for myself. Oddly though there is always something there to change my attitude.
Today was Brooke’s birthday for starters and feeling bad for myself seemed just way to selfish on a day when I should have been doing more for such a wonderful and beautiful person. That kept me calm and made me realize that probably the only gift she would really want today was me to be healthy. Acting weak wasn’t what she wanted. Oddly the next thing that helped was that I read some articles for the Clinical Medicine class I help at on Wednesday. The articles were about hope and how we as physicians can crush hope with some ill planned out verbage. What I took from it though was not that my silly thoughts of how back these lab trends could be but that I have made it this far with a hefty dose of hope. Hope that I will see more of Brooke’s birthdays, hope that I would return to work, hope that I will get more time with the boys, hope that I won’t let down all those people who believe I am strong enough to make it through this. The list goes on, and on and on.
I am alive because medicine these days can do some amazing things. I am alive because of some good luck. I am alive because of all the support I get. Yet, it is clear that maybe the biggest rock in my wobbly wall is hope. The hope that this will all be behind me someday. I don’t have any crazy notion that I could have done this on hope alone but it is clear that so much of what has happen feeds into that feeling that there is more to be done. Some people can jump in here and say some stuff about god, but it isn’t that. Hope is something from within our minds. It can be bolstered by the kindness of others, strengthened by good thoughts , and maybe even buoyed or sank by the ideas tossed around by doctors. Yet, realistically if your mind can derive some hope for even your darkest situation your body will have a fighting chance.
I still have a lot of hope about a whole bunch of topics in this world. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to effect them all with just my mind but I do know that if I don’t keep trying to picture something sweeter than I am only going to end up sour. So my labs don’t look good, tomorrow I will make coffee for Brooke, bike with my boys to school, I will ride on some great trails of Alaska, I will hang out with friends as we run around with our kids, and I will just keep wondering if the next day could be even better. At least that is what I hope.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.