Wishing That Remission Meant an End of Treatment
I get weirdly jealous of those, who had often gone through horrific treatment, who get the all clear which means an end of treatment. I want that. And I know it sounds completely mental. Why would I wish for a transplant? For intravenous chemotherapy? For this really invasive treatment? Well. Because it would mean an end to it.
11.5 years of treatment takes its toll
Living in a medically managed remission is a funny place to be. Limbo land. I’m only in remission because of the oral chemo that I take every day. And no, the impact (in terms of side effects or being an inpatient) isn’t as great as intensive treatment. But the impact of living with it every day... with no end in sight... with having an ‘easy’ or a ‘better’ cancer is huge. And trying to get people to understand this, even those who have had cancer, can be challenging. They don’t see the problem with taking a pill every day for the rest of your life. They don’t see the problem with having the hospital dictate so much. They don’t see the problem with being in clinic all the time, trying to find a treatment that works, and getting on with life. They don’t see how it really is. Probably because I smile and say ‘I’m ok’. Even when I’m not.
And would I want to be without cancer? Yes. Would I want to be told that remission meant that I could move on with my life? Yes. Would I want it so that being in remission didn’t really mean anything as it doesn’t mean an end of treatment? Yes. 11 and a half years of treatment is taking its toll.
The flip side
But then on the flip side... I always argue both sides. With the rare exception, I always think of the other side, voice the other side. Maybe I should have been a lawyer... I am still here with basically only one side effect from treatment. Yes. It’s a very challenging one. One I sort of manage. But compared to some I know, I have no right to whine. I have my mobility. I have a good immune system. I am able to carry on with life. Yes, a restricted one compared to my friends and family. But compared to some I know who have had the ‘normal,’ more aggressive treatment, my life is so much better than theirs in many ways. Although, I know some who have had a transplant and they are doing better than me. I suppose that, really, I need to stop comparing myself to others and how they are. To fully allow how I feel for me. Because at the end of the day, the only impact that how I feel has is on me.
So, do I feel jealous of others when they finish treatment, get the all clear, and can begin to say goodbye to cancer? Yes. Do I wish that I could do that? Yes. Do I wish that I didn’t have to carry around with me a ‘please offer me a seat’ and a ‘Cancer On Board’ badge so I can get a seat on public transport? Yes. It is slightly ridiculous that I feel like this? Probably yes. But I do.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?