It would seem I walk on broken glass. I must trod gingerly along the path so to not make any assumptions about the future. What I think will happen and what does happen are more oft’ than not … very different.
I thought I could handle the vomiting. I thought I would be able to handle the stomach upset, the fevers, the headaches… but did not anticipate the allergy. I also did not anticipate how incredibly sad I felt – weary – when I was left without my new drug regime. With it, came hope. Without it, came despair. Once again, the rug had been pulled from under me and I was brought down to size with an unexpected twist of fate.
From early morning until late afternoon, I waited. I did not continue taking my Olaparib. I did, however, continue to wonder if that had been the right call? Would there be withdrawal? Would there be consequences for having taken one single dose? Would it matter at all? So many questions. So few answers. Since this drug was so new, no one really had answers. Except… where to have lunch. That was my daughter’s decision. And that was after a bit of “retail therapy”. Funny – neither of us had previously been shoppers. It would seem of late, we have enjoyed going to shop together. I’m not sure what changed? Maybe me? Maybe I am less occupied with work and much more occupied with family? (Some would think too much as I tend to meddle with their stuff while they are gone to school or work thinking I am helping… NOTE TO SELF!)
Getting out and about helped me to cope with my weariness a lot. Still, I waited for a call.
“I heard you had a reaction?” inquired Mary, my drug nurse.
“Yes. I didn’t expect that. It came six hours after I took the first dose.”
“Wow, after one dose?”
And the conversation continued as I recollected the details of my reaction. Mary seemed quite surprised. In fact, had not heard of the symptoms I had described. Yup. I’m one in a million. I used to think that was a good thing.
“Well, let’s have you come and meet your oncologist Wednesday, okay?” she asked. “This does not mean you cannot continue the drug. We will try a few things that may help. Don’t worry, okay?”
I heard the words.. and I felt the hope. And then I exhaled. I hadn’t realized I had been holding my breath all day long. It had been stressful and after that phone call – I could breathe. How wonder it was to breathe. How light I felt. I suddenly had hope again. What a marvelous thing to experience. I never wanted to go back to that desperate place again. Never. I poured myself a glass of wine – and toasted the future. I breathed deeply. The stress was gone for the moment. I enjoyed that moment. I really enjoyed that moment. In fact, I enjoyed the rest of the evening. I could focus. I could talk. I could connect to the world around me again. I slept. And I slept well.
“Dave had the same reaction to his meds but his body tolerated them over time…” explained a friend of mine in a text to me.
“Sometimes the body gets used to the meds…” explained another friend through a text.
I read those texts eagerly and with hope.
When one has hope, there is peace. When one has hope, there is calm. When one has hope, it is easier to get up in the morning. I was woken up with my usual, “good morning, Princess”, and a cup of coffee. I could barely open my eyes. The events of the day before seemed to have exhausted me. I wanted to get up and walk, but I fell right back to sleep. I wanted to feel the elation of walking in the dark through the woods with Kevin, but I fell back to sleep. I wanted to hold onto that peace, that calm, that hope… and I did for a while. Soon, I realized that tomorrow would be a day for a new decision – a new trial – a new visit to the hospital. I wanted to run back to last night and the feeling of hope. I wanted to stay in that moment. That is just not possible. I must learn to live NOW and now yesterday and not tomorrow. It is easier to have hope living in the now.
Living now requires one’s eyes to be wide open. Living with hope requires one to see life through rose-coloured glasses, to appreciate the beauty of nature and family and kindness. To forgive. To be grateful. To love. Right now.
There will always be a new path upon which to walk. Sometimes, there will be broken glass. The cuts will heal, the path will clear. And when that happens, I will appreciate the moment and celebrate the day. Like I will today – in this moment – right now.