Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recovering from Oral Cancer

What is it like to have had oral cancer and what about the recovery? Why is it seldom caught in the early stages? Why is my loved one so darn irritable when I try to be nice? It is SO DARN Frustrating! WHY,WHY,WHY?

Yes, it is frustrating. It is frustrating on those who have the disease and on those who are friends and family of those who are afflicted. Truth is, one can never truly understand until they go through it. GOD FORBID! But as one who is going through it, I shall attempt to paint a picture of understanding.

We start off thinking we have a cold or strep throat, then we get the big boom lowered on us. YOU HAVE CANCER! One could relate this as the Big Boom Theory. I say this because, the big boom keeps happening. With every time we hook up to receive our chemotherapy treatment. Every time we hear that radiation machine zap us with another treatment. Every time we see our self in the mirror after losing 45 pounds and not having it to spare. Every time we hook up to the feeding tube because you can no longer eat by mouth.

Most of us get sick, feel better in a few days, a couple of weeks at most and we forget about the pain and sickness we had and move on. A cold, the flu, even having a surgery we tend to forget about. This disease is one that does not allow such a thing. It does not take days or weeks to get over. It takes months and years to get past. The recovery is very slow! So asking things like, how are you feeling?, get tiring. It is frustrating to hear that time and time again. People do not listen. I can tell them all of this and still, I get asked, are you feeling better this week vs. last week? You look a whole lot better. I say to you, BULL!

I still feel like crap. I look like crap and I have a very long way to go. I MUST deal with this on a day by day basis. As a patient I must take and deal with this one day at a time. You must do the same thing. This is the best way to help us and yourself.

Get rid of the pity faces. We get enough of that at the store when we go to shop for food and clothes. Treat us normally. We will let you know if we need anything. When we do need something, help us right away. We do not want to hear, ok, I will help you in the morning. My son is about the best at this. He gets it! at 17 years old, he gets it! My Mom, my sister, my friends, they all try very hard to understand. But they don't and I doubt they ever will. And that, as hard as it is, it is ok.

My son, acts normally. He still goes to work, visits his friends and asks me for gas money on occasion. But He always lets me know what and where he is going. This offers me the opportunity to ask him for help if I need it. If I do ask him, he responds right then and there! Once done, he continues on with everyday functions. When he takes me to the store, He knows I do not have all my strength yet so I get dropped off at the door and picked up at the door without having to ask. He knows! He does not have to ask how I am doing, he knows. He watches and understands. I do not know HOW he does it, but he does. I guess he figures, it is not important how I am doing every damn day. He is correct. What matters is the here and now, not yesterday or tomorrow. But, right now, this second is what matters.

We are always trading one pain or one freustration for another. We may get rid of one, but develope another that replaces the one we got rid of yesterday. Hence the reason we take things one day at a time. We get tired, we get upset, we do not like having to deal with this as much as we must. But we do it. It is a very slow process, but we deal with it. One pain at a time, one symptom at a time. One prayer at a time. One day at a time!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your courage and candor. I'm 29 and my 30 year old husband is in the first phase of treatment for stage III tongue cancer.

Reading your blog has helped us tremendously! We're a couple of kids muttling through cancer treatments during our first year of marriage. Your story has helped me emapathize with my husbands fears and stuggles. It's taught me what to look out for and how best to respond to him. You've also helped target my research for treatment options. I can't thank you enough for reaching out and sharing your personal struggle.

John said...

You are more than welcome. If I can be of any other help pls let me know. My e-maqil is towards the bottom of the main page.