I recently had a phone call that is never fun. Someone close to me had a doctor tell him that of what ails him; cancer is one of the possible answers to his current situation. We chatted about the ups and downs about the roller coaster ride of what a cancer diagnosis would do to his emotions. After the call, I thought about how I went through the ride, and how I still feel about the ride, as it is still ongoing. The good news, his current situation is most likely not cancer.
The day that I flew down to Edmonton, to meet with the uroligist, and the days preceding that day – it was easy to talk about. I could tell people that I likely had cancer, I recently had emergency surgery to remove a 2 inch by 2 inch tumor from my bladder. It was easy conversation. I was at the point that Cancer was 99% likely, I had an appointment coming up to talk to the Doc about the results of the pathology from the samples taken. That was in May of 2014, that I was officially told “You have Bladder Cancer”. Overall, I think I handled that day very well, my wife and I started making the phone calls to those that knew I had the appointment that day. I was able to talk about cancer pretty openly that day. I felt that I was prepared for it, not surprised by it so I shouldn’t have been drastically impacted by it.
The next day – not so much.
The day started off ok, I knew that I would need to tell those at HQ, and try to help them understand that there would likely be substantial impacts in my time that I didn’t know what the ramifications of that would truly be yet. I think I made it about an hour or so…. I was lucky that many in my section were all in a group huddle when I was there – so I was able to make it a group announcement from my office door. -“It is confirmed that I have cancer, and I am not taking the news as well as I would have hoped”. I then turned around and closed the door. My good friend and colleague came in a moment or 2 later to check on me, and we had a good chat. Later that afternoon, I was able to chat with the command team to give them the details, and I had arranged to have time off to wrap my head around this. Appointments were made for later in the month with the military doc to talk about the way ahead.
Fast forwarding right now through the paperwork – short version – Medical employment limits, Temporary medical category, my unit needed to have me moved out of the office in order to declare a vacancy that needed filling to post someone from the south up, and I might be moving.
Through that time, I continued the roller coaster – there is a large component of “why me? I eat fairly healthy, don’t smoke etc”. The ride was almost predictable with a quiet time of “ok, lets get through this” on the uphills, then the downhill ride of “hey, why worry about what I eat or drink – I already have cancer”, then back on the rails of an uphill. Although, I did joke about it to my oncologist – I didn’t take up smoking… One of the many ups and downs that comes and goes is the “why me, why now” thoughts. They usually come after a period of internet time where I have been trying to learn more about cause factors and triggers for this type of cancer. I usually find my way out of it by trying to spend as much time learning about treatments, other options, success rates, and items like that.
One of the more interesting emotions is when people talk about Karma. I spend a fair amount of time wanting to beat them over the head as their Karma for saying something that makes so little sense, but that would then prove their point. My stubborn side says – don’t prove them right, no matter what. People make jokes about Karma is going to get someone, or what someone must have done in a previous life – well, if I ever get Karma one on one- Karma has some serious explaining to do about my previous lives.
I have also had the opportunity for interesting philosophical and religious debates in unique places. Like on the side of the NWT Highway 3, when stuck for almost 4 days due to road closures. More about that adventure another time.
So, this has been a snapshot of how some things go emotionally, I will try to dig deeper into thoughts and emotions that go through a persons head while lying in a hospital bed, or on treatment days. I can’t give all the stories at once, or this blog would run out of steam fairly quickly.