how do you face it?

Dearest Liver,

Sorry that I’ve been away so long. For a while I was feeling well and I didn’t want to take time away from that to sit down and write. I was having fun with my friends, dancing whenever possible, and finally traveling and doing things I wanted to do. It was amazing, and even though I KNEW that it wasn’t going to last, I couldn’t comprehend how horrible it was going to feel when that was pulled away from me again.

I tried to prep myself for it, thinking that if I lived it up and enjoyed all of the moments I had, when I was torn down back into my fucked up reality of metastatic cancer it wouldn’t be so bad. Like somehow I would be able to weather the storm of the next rough patch by reliving the nice parts of my chemo break in my head.

The problem is, it’s a fucking lie. The more fun I have and the more I feel “normal” the more I want it to last forever. One super fun vacation makes me want to go on 5 more. I want to see and experience everything. Part of me knows it’s because I won’t last forever, but the rest of me shuts that part up and enjoys it.

So now, after speaking with my doctor tonight about how I probably need to go back on IV chemo, even for just a little bit, I don’t know how to face it. How do you know knowingly go back to a life that can’t be counted as a real life? Sign up for poison to be pumped into your veins. For every actively growing cell in your body to be killed so that the cancer hopefully will be too? Sign up for nausea, fatigue, neupogen (and its severe bone pain), drugs that treat one side effect but cause 3 more, and probably hair loss this time too.

If this ends up being my doc’s game plan, it’ll be the first time I’ve really looked like a cancer patient (besides the cancer skinny thing that I’ve taken to a gross extreme) in 10 years. For the past almost 3 years of my metastatic cancer journey, at least people told me that I don’t really look sick, or that they can’t tell. But hair loss = cancer patient. It means that not only do I have to live with it internally all of the time, but I will now have to deal with the fake looks of sympathy and the fucking head tilt that makes me furious.

I don’t know how to face it. People tell me I’m strong, but I don’t feel that way right now. I know I’m not strong enough to give up, so I’m going to do whatever my doctor tells me to do. I trust her and know she’s always trying to consider what I want into decisions about what I need. It sort of seems like insanity… to keep signing up for horrible chemo hoping for better results. But where does one find the strength to do this?

And to make things worse, it’s still fucking breast cancer month. The media tries to be supportive, but if they really want to know, THIS IS WHAT CANCER LOOKS LIKE. This is me, 32 years old, been fighting cancer for over 10 years, and I’m still reduced to a sad crying mess surrounded by moving boxes that I lost the will to pack, and a stack of work that I need to do, but am slightly afraid that it’s pointless b/c who wants to keep a contractor on staff when are going to be sick? (Don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but I landed a super exciting new job! We’ll see if that lasts with all of this.)

So my dearest liver… I’m sorry for the long-winded message. I’m also sorry that I’m crying so hard that I can barely see the screen so my grammar is probably horrible. But mostly, can you PLEASE SETTLE THE FUCK DOWN SO THAT I CAN LIVE A PRETEND NORMAL LIFE?

Robin

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