Let’s do a little recap shall we?
By this time I:
- had been jaundice (so, yellow) for a whole year
- had gone to ICU twice
- lost my muscles’ strength
- lost all my hair
- had done several rounds of chemo and radiation
- lost around 14kg of weight
- had done several months of oral chemo at home
I was due for another check up. I knew that I still had to fight some more. So I left the comfort of my home, by this time I was enjoying making pouches and momentarily forgetting the fact that I have cancer. Being back at the hospital was mentally hard for me.
The doctor ordered for a PET scan.
For those of you who don’t know what that is, you can search it and see for yourself. Here’s a Wikipedia page on it. I hate PET scan because from this scan you can see whether or not I still have cancer cells.
Theoretically I understood that my cancer was not fully gone, because the reason the doctor allowed me to go home and take oral chemo was to rest my liver. Now that my liver was slightly better, he was going to give me heavier chemo but first he needed to check those cancer cells.
I understood that but seeing the result was hard anyway. I cried because there were still cancer cells within me. It wasn’t as much as before but they were still there. I cried and cried and felt like my battle with cancer was unending.
I envied my friends who started a new job, who travelled here and there, who moved to a new country – I envied them because I couldn’t make any progress in my life. I was stuck and I felt left behind.
No one stops and waits for you when you are sick, the world carries on, and you are just left to watch.
I was angry. I don’t know who I was angry at.
And so my doctor told me I needed more chemo, he actually offered a stem cell transplant but I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to try chemo first.
The chemo this time couldn’t be done orally, so I had to stay in Kuala Lumpur. This time, we stayed in an apartment near the hospital.
So every month, I would go to the hospital for three days to receive my chemo then go back to the apartment. After a week I returned back to receive one more bag of chemo (I had several drugs). Two weeks after my first drugs, I would be evaluated by the doctor and if he was kind enough and if my blood test was good, I was allowed to return home (Yogyakarta) for 7-10 days. Then I had to do it all over again.
It was hard, being in a small apartment in Kuala Lumpur and going back and forth Malaysia-Indonesia. After my last drug, the doctor would order injections for me to bring. These were injections to increase my white blood cells. They were small and don’t hurt a lot but they had to be injected every day for several days into my stomach. You could see bruises on my stomach plus the side effects of these injections were piercing pain on my bones.
I was thankful that at least the side effects from the chemo were minimal. I was only rushed once to the hospital because of a fever but that was it. I was nauseous of course, but not a lot. I could still eat quite a lot and I didn’t have a mouth full of ulcers. I did loose my hair all over again but I was thankful for the minimum side effects.
This time round, I decided to be more cooperative. I wanted to smile more, to somehow enjoy this experience. Yes, I would rather be out there, travelling somewhere, but I had to fight. I could envy my friends and get angry all the time, but it wouldn’t make the cancer go away, it would just make me more miserable.
I had the unfortunate chance of meeting with cancer, but I have also been given the chance to fight it. I didn’t want to waste this chance. So I took it and faced my new phase of chemo with a new attitude in hope that I would get a better outcome from it.