COLUMN: Cancer sucks but I’ll beat it
Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023
On July 12, 2023, my whole life changed when I was diagnosed with cancer. Originally, I wasn’t going to write about this until I had beaten the disease, but the last few weeks have changed my view on that.
At 36 years old I never, ever thought cancer – or all of the complications that come with fighting it – was something I would be dealing with, but here we are. Everything about my life has changed, from the way I sleep to not being able to do certain things right now to feeling either tired, uncomfortable, sick, weak or just in pain almost every second of the day.
From the beginning, my doctors have been positive that we would beat this thing and were adamant that most people have limited bad side effects for the treatment for my type of cancer. “You’re a mystery” is something that one of my doctors has said more than once because easy is the furthest thing from the way this whole ordeal has gone.
We started with treatment with installing a port into my chest for 24/7 chemotherapy for six weeks, plus six weeks of radiation treatment every day at the same time. Early on, my side effects were limited to just being tired all the time and some nausea. That changed two weeks ago.
First I spent about five days vomiting nonstop, to the point where I ended up going to the emergency room desperate to find some relief. When that was finally over, I actually felt better than I have throughout this treatment, for two whole days. Then, I found myself back in the ER with complications – the doctors believe – with the radiation treatments.
Last Friday, I returned to the ER with severe pain. After hours of being treated – and finding out about a pretty nasty infection I have – I decided to try and get to work. Work has been something that has been really interrupted from this. Before started treatment, I was in the office at 7 a.m. – sometimes even before – but because of daily treatments I usually don’t get in until 9 or later.
I went a decade without missing Friday Night Football and last Friday I was determined to keep that streak going. My body had different ideas for me. After getting into the office I almost immediately broke into a cold sweat, the room started spinning and I thought I was going to pass out. One rescue squad ride later I was right back in an ER. It’s been a rough couple of weeks to say the least.
There have been so many days over the last three months where I cried, I had meltdowns, I was frustrated and felt like not wanting to continue on. Numerous times I’ve said out loud, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Thankfully, every single time my wife would tell me not only can I do it, but I will do it.
I almost feel guilty about the feelings I’ve had through it all. I haven’t handled the frustrations as well as I could at times and I very much overdo at times. The guilt comes from knowing there are so many people that are battling cancer that have it so much worse than me. There are people that that can’t even get out of bed every day because of the pain they’re in.
Still, my feelings are real and I also have to learn to be easier on myself and take it easy when I need to. The plus here is that I have had so many people in my corner. We’ve had so many people offer us meals, rides, help, etc. Everything from that to just simply kind words and telling me that I’m in their thoughts and prayers. It really does mean the world to me and when someone tells me, “Hey, I’m rooting for you” it can make a tough day just a little easier. The biggest supporter I have, though, is my wife. Even when I’m mad or angry or bitter or sick or hurting, she is right there. She almost makes herself sick from worrying about me. There is no doubt that I absolutely would not be able to do this without her in my corner.
When you sit down to write a column you need to have a point. I didn’t have one when I started writing this. I just began to write, but as my fingers continue to stroke the keys I found my point. There are a ton of people out there going through the same things I am – many much worse – and hopefully someone that is will read this and come to the realization that “man, I’m not the only one feeling this way.” Maybe you’ll see it and say, even if what you’re going through is much worse than what I am, you’ll say, “Yeah, we can get through this.”