Here are some answers to some frequently received questions I get:
Q: How many chemo treatments do you have?
A: This is still up in the air because they do 4 treatments then a PET scan to see how my body is responding. If the scan is negative (no cancer), they will do 2-4 more treatments to ensure all traces of cancer are killed. If the scan is still positive, they may do up to 8 more treatments for a total of 12. There is also other stronger chemos, radiation and transplants that can be done to get me to the point of remission if needed.
Q: What has been the best part about chemo/cancer?
A: LOL nobody has actually asked this but I gotta say the anti nausea stuff they give you makes you hungry 24/7 and I never get full so I can finally put on the weight I’ve been trying to for all this time. Also, my mom is a great cook and my dad is great at picking up pizza so I’m super blessed haha. The doctor was laughing today when she saw I was 71 kg (156 lbs) at the start of treatment and now I am 80 kg (176 lbs), but she said I’m still skinny and I hate that word, so I guess I’m going to keep eating.
Q: Am I working during this time?
A: Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a great job working at Sasktel as a programmer. My benefits have allowed me time off while still getting paid most of my wage which is a huge blessing to me as I can focus on giving cancer this L instead of focusing on work.
Q: What are the chemo side effects like? How do you still have hair?
A: Fortunately for me, my side effects have been very minimal so far compared to most people but I’ve heard from a lot of people the 3rd treatment is by far the worst one. I receive treatments on Thursdays. The first few days are good but by Sunday night continuing on until noon Wednesday I feel like I have been hit by a truck. My whole body aches and I feel so tired. Most people would say “just sleep it off” the problem is, they give you steroids that keep you laying awake all night. I also get peripheral neuropathy which makes my feet cold and my fingertips feel numb. Now for my hair, it hasn’t fallen out and they say some lucky people just thin or don’t lose any, it’s about time my luck changes aha.
Q: What’s the hardest part about dealing with cancer?
A: The hardest part for me is that you can never turn your brain off. It’s always thinking or worrying. I can read 100 positive stories about people being cancer free for 5 years or 30 years but then read one negative story about someone who died. Instead of focusing on the fact that this cancer is highly curable, my brain sticks with the negative story. The negative story keeps me up at night, or reminds me I can’t be smiling and quickly brings my mood back down again. My mind craves to be told from my cancer doctor that I won’t be one of the negative stories. I want my doctor to say with 100 percent confidence, I’ll be okay. But they can’t do it, because even though over 90 percent of people with my diagnoses are cancer free in 5 years, there’s still a chance of being in that 10 percent.
So as you can see, putting my faith and mind in thinking I’ll forsure be healthy again is dangerous. That’s why (even though it’s so hard some days) I need to not put my faith in living forever on this earth but placing my faith in the One who can give me eternal life in Heaven. It’s so easy to forget or lose sight of that, a huge help to me has been the song called “So Will I” by Hillsong (link at the bottom). The lyrics say that “All nature and science follow the sound of Jesus’ voice.” Amazing! Every insect on earth doesn’t move unless He allows it, every cancer cell dies or grows by His touch, every morning the sun rises as He commands it to do, so if all of creation still obeys God then so will I. These following lyrics really are powerful to me and a great perspective through this cancer…
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If You left the grave behind You so will I
Those words have so much power and give Christians the courage and strength to know the creator of all things holds your bad situation in His hands. This for me gives me peace knowing I don’t have to worry about being a negative story because the grave will be left behind. I’ll be in a place where sadness, pain, worry, injustice, cancer and sin are no more. But until that day, just like all of creation does, I will worship and praise my creator and thank the Lord for breath in my lungs for as long as I have it.