I officially made a year of being diagnosed (it was actually on April 24th, 2018).
I guess it hurts knowing that I'm still in the same predicament. Trapped from something that I just have no control over. So much has changed all within just one year of being diagnosed with cancer.
So where am I at? Mentally, physically and emotionally I'm checked out. Chemotherapy didn't work, I was given an expiration date and before you know it I'm signing up for a clinical trial with a new team, new hospital and a new treatment plan. Three sessions into the clinical trial and I'm ready to stop. I was told this treatment would be a walk in the park, especially after going through chemotherapy. Well, I guess I'm just that unlucky since I'm showing the "uncommon" side effects they warned me about. I've definitely gotten weaker. I feel different. Most days I'm just in pain, miserable from my skin peeling, the never ending rashes, constant coughing or the body aches. So I'm given more drugs to help make me feel comfortable.
All within a year I've changed. Drastically. More and more of who I am continues to change. I guess I see the world differently and live life differently. I'm nothing like the person I was before this nightmare. I use to have this fearless drive to just pick up and go. Take risks. Regardless of the consequences lingering in the back of my mind, I made it happen. Even if they weren't the most logical decisions. I just followed what made me happy and let the rest work itself out. Nowadays I'm a bit more grounded, physically limited to do a lot of things and unable to do what I want most in life - traveling with my camera on hand while experiencing new things and exploring new places.
A year of living with cancer means a year of putting my life on pause. This goes on and on until I'm free of cancer or until I lose my battle with cancer. Now I certainly don't want to sound like I've given up. I have a lot of fight in me. I want to live. But if living means I have to continue putting myself and my family through this, then I certainly would prefer to stop. I've decided that once I reach my midway point into this clinical trial and if my scans indicate that this treatment is not working then I'm going to stop treatment altogether. I know, this might sound selfish and unfair, especially to those who have it far worst and are doing all they can to live. I promise, I want to live but if it means being miserable, sick and unable to do a lot of the things I use to be able to do - then am I really living? Or am I just prolonging this life to be constantly poked around, injected with drugs that make me sick and unable to live how I want to live. Quality of life is a lot more important to me. I don't want to live just to exist.
Basically, I want to live a normal life free from the drugs and side effects. I want the chance to live life and enjoy it a bit. Soak in the sun, drive across from West to the East Coast and then leave the country to visit some of the places I've dreamed of visiting. Capture and document what I can and meet the kindest souls in new places. I have this happy place in my mind that I sometimes go to - Italy. I have this picture in my head where I'm sitting down in a small town in Italy, sipping my coffee and indulging in their delicious dishes while staring at people and listening to their beautiful language. I want to make that happen. But with this treatment that I'm on - I feel like I get further and further from making that a reality.
Yes, I am afraid. It's insane that a little over a year ago I was worried about where my life was heading. Now, I worry about whether or not I'll live, bills that continue to pile, hospital appointments, if I'll be miserable tomorrow and everything that comes with this stupid disease. I did not ask for this. I guess no one really does. But this was certainly not the life I had envisioned for myself. All my life I carried this burden of wanting to make it. I put my head down, focused and worked hard. I wanted to be successful and say that all the sacrifices and stupid decisions I've made meant something. Instead I'm left with a disease I have no control over. I'm not afraid of death. Of course I'm worried about being in pain when the time comes. But I'm more afraid of missing the monumental moments in life. Things that I won't get to experience or witness. Like not being able to adopt a kid, or being financially stable to buy my family a home. Or even experiencing life with my family and friends. To think about those moments that I won't get to be a part of - that's what hurts. There's a lot I have yet to experience. A world to explore and memories to capture. I'm afraid of not being around to experience all of that.
So that's where I'm at. I'm sorry for the long update. It took me a bit to express how I'm feeling. It's been a year and it doesn't get any easier. I still have my waves of emotions that come and go. But thank you for reading and following along. For now, here are some photos I've taken this year - as usual it's all random and I'm all over the place.
As always...thank you, appreciate you, and I love you!