My life has taken on a measure of sameness, at least during the week. Get up around five a.m., take my abiraterone for my cancer, find something to do for an hour (stay up or go back to bed-usually not the second one), fix breakfast and coffee at six, get ready for the day, and hop on the bus a little after seven. Pick up the other passengers and arrive at the cancer center at about nine. Check in (badge number 40), wait to be called which usually doesn’t take long, get my radiation treatment in fifteen minutes or less, wait until everyone’s finished with treatments and doctor visits, get on the bus and go home, usually arriving somewhere between 10:45 and 11:30. Wash, rinse, and repeat, Monday through Friday.
I’ll be finished with my last treatment on July 1st, and I’m honestly going to miss it. I’ve come to look forward to seeing Bob our bus driver, my fellow travelers, and my radiation techs I see every day. We have at least an hour and a half on the bus each way to catch up on each other’s lives, especially on Mondays, and to offer encouragement and empathy as needed. We even laugh together quite a bit.
My techs know I like the rock group Boston and the like, and the few minutes I spend getting treated that’s what’s playing on the speakers. They are quick with a smile and it’s always a joy to see them. They are very good at what they do, but the mood isn’t morose or somber. We enjoy the short time we spend together each day. It won’t be much longer until my last treatment is over and I ‘ring the bell’ (the ceremony where each patient that completes treatment rings a bell on the wall to signify they’ve finished). And then I return to my ‘normal’ life.
Cancer is a daunting enemy, and dealing with it is as much a battle of the mind and spirit as it is of the body. Having the privilege of experiencing it with others who are also in the fight is a blessing. Being able to encourage others with an understanding of what they experience is a joy. Even though I’ve known these folks just a short time, they’ve become my friends and I am richer for it.
Life itself is a tremendous blessing, full of joy. But you have to find it for yourself, and it sometimes is harder than others. But it is there. I’ve become rather efficient with my morning routine which means I have a few minutes before Bob gets here each morning. It is my time to sit down and thank God for life, health, and all of the multitude of blessings I enjoy each day. I’m even thankful for this cancer. It reminds me whose strength sustains me constantly, and who is in control of my situation (hint: it’s not me). And it’s brought me into contact with new friends, and we remind each other of the joy that can be found in life even amid the hard days and difficult circumstances. And THAT is a real blessing.