This past labor day weekend Ross and I went to Martha's Vineyard one last time before the summer ended. It was beautiful as usual, but it also made me a little somber. Since it's the place that Ross proposed to me back in 2009, it's really special. However, since we only go in the summertime, it also reminds me of how many years I've been fighting cancer. I was diagnosed in July 2009, so the summer is always a reminder of how long it's been. Which, to be frank, really sucks since I love summer!
That first summer I was diagnosed, Ross proposed shortly after and I truly thought I would only be in treatment for 6 months and then I could move on, plan my wedding and be happy and healthy. And Lord knows I wish that happened. The following summer we went to the Vineyard a few months after my auto stem cell transplant. I had dealt with a year of vigorous treatment, I had to wear a wig, I didn't look or feel that great and I had a PET scan coming up in just a few months. I was so scared of what might happen if I wasn't in remission, and yet and I still thought that after all I had been through, I would be. But it wasn't my time yet.
And then this summer rolled around. In some ways I'm better, I'm stronger, not as physically fragile. Yet I still have cancer. I can't see it or feel it but I know it's there. And I hate it with every fiber of my being. I'm tired of thinking about it, talking about it, hearing about it, crying about it, and fighting it. I never in a million years imagined that I would still be dealing with this disease two years after we were engaged. I thought by now I would just be getting regular checkups and feeling like a survivor. So it's hard. Martha's Vineyard looks and feels the same each year, and yet my physical and emotional state have changed so much since that summer and it's hard not to think, where will I be in a year? What will be my mindset next summer when I step foot on the Vineyard? Because this world of medicine is so up and down, I never know what obstacle I'll have to face next...and believe me there are many. Starting this journey I thought it was just the cancer that would keep me up at night, but there are many, many other side effects that I would have never imagined. And it's a lot to deal with--just one of these side effects would be hard but I have like 10! So I'm scared...I wonder what's next? After the horrifying blood clot, I decided that situation had to be my rock bottom and I have nowhere to go but up. But unfortunately I don't get to make those decisions.
Today I had my 3rd treatment of SGN-35, which was FDA approved and now made available to everyone in my sucky position (basically anyone with relapsed or recurrent Hodgkin's) all over the country. My doctor said, "lets get you into remission and then we'll go from there". His confidence makes me confident. He said that the FDA approved this drug quicker than he had ever seen them approve something before. And yet, we never know until I have a scan, which will be after my 4th treatment. Lord how I hate the scans. They are the bain of my existence, the fear and stress that surround them is like no other. But it's a necessary evil to find out what's going on inside my body. Sometimes I just want to run away and never go back to the hospital or doctors office again, and I wonder what would happen? Maybe it was all a mistake? Maybe I was never really sick. I know it's not true, but sometimes I play the "what if" game with myself in the hopes I can wish it be true.
So two years later, here I am. Stronger? I guess some would say that. As much as I moan and complain, I have and always will be a fighter. It's exhausting to say the least but what other choice do I have?