LIVING with Cancer

Tom Brokaw had a nice editorial in the NYT Sunday about Living with Cancer. Like me, his back pain was prescribed physical therapy for awhile before the pain became so unbearable that it was found to be cancer. Unlike me he is in his late 70’s and admits to having lived a rich and wonderful life. I appreciated seeing his comments about fatigue. Now I want to acknowledge that for all my friends juggling work, family, life at age 40 and above that you simply get more tired. You have to be more deliberate about replenishing the tank and avoiding illness. You certainly don’t bounce back from partying the way you used to. But cancer tired is a deep fatigue, closest in my experience to pregnancy tired. I have to laugh at myself 18 months into cancer round 2 when I act surprised that I’m so tired. Creighton will look at me incredulously sometimes when I ask why I am. When I’m on I’m high energy, but then I hit a wall hard. I feel good when I’m traveling , but I’m learning that each flight takes its toll, and it takes me 10x longer to recover. Last week was full of 2-3hr naps. Deep, drooly naps that seem to be wonderfully healing. And so I’m reminded that I have to refill, refuel, replenish regularly without feeling sad or bad about it. It is just part of living with cancer.

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I also appreciated the verbiage of living with cancer for no matter how troubling or scary the disease is, it allows and for some forces you to really live in your allotted time. Like me, Tom’s cancer shows stats with a 5yr stop clock for most patients, and he has lived 3 of them vs my 18 months. I fervently believe that the current stats do not reflect the reality of my innovative trial drug or other current breakthroughs. I plan on outliving the stats. But they are sobering nonetheless. So living with cancer is a balancing act between living joyfully in the moment without thinking about the c word and popping your head up once in awhile to say Thank God I’m still here, am I living the way I want with the clock ticking, how should I spend my time/money/energy?

Most days I feel good about those answers.

Cant wait to see many of you at The Independent at our sold out show with Nathaniel Rateliff for Tipping Point. We go on at 8pm and play for an hour. If you can’t make it note we are playing again on Oct 27th at Neck of The Woods on Clement Street. It is a Hamlin count me in, but will be opened up a bit.

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Cliffs of Moher

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