This essay was originally published on September 11, 2014.
Here I am for my third chemotherapy treatment; round three of the “Red Death”. Yesterday, after getting my blood work done, a physician’s assistant told me that if I was hoping my profound fatigue and other side effects were going to improve, I would be sorely disappointed. I normally appreciate it when people don’t bullshit me, but if there is anything I wish I could stick my head in the sand about, it’s this ordeal. Instead of noxious chemicals dripping into my bloodstream, I’d much prefer something along the lines of a rich Cabernet and a liquified Porterhouse steak. Then, the only side effects would be a bit of indigestion. But I’d feel damn good; of that I am sure.
What’s interesting about today’s treatment is that it is taking place on September 11. All day, I’ve been thinking about what I was doing on that day, as well as where my life has taken me in the 13 years since. Not once during that time did I ever think I’d be diagnosed with cancer (really, who thinks that?), but I watched other people suffer with the disease, and a few lose the fight. On September 11, 2001, many people lost their lives, and I can’t help but think about how their lives would have gone had they not been on those planes and in those buildings on that fateful day.
Going forward, I am desperately trying to stay positive despite what’s been going on in my life for the past few months. As I said in my last post, many friends have gotten together to help me through this, sending me hats and other things, and offering loving words of support and encouragement. Without them, this would be much, much harder than its been.
I’m finding it hard to string together many words today. I keep wondering whether it’s ironic or apropos that I am undergoing chemotherapy on this day, since it is one of somber reflection and remembrance. I hope that one day, I will look back on this experience and be glad that I went through it, but my mind will always come back to this date and never forget what happened in 2001, and where I was on that day, and on the same date in 2014.