Saturday, May 20, 2017

Always On My Mind

Not the song by Willie Nelson, though it is a great song. It's something else that's always on my mind. I think you know what that is.

A friend asked me recently if there's ever a day that I don't think about cancer, and jokingly said that could be a blog post. Well, here's the post. But it's no joke. I don't think about cancer every day. I think about it every minute.

It's not the first time this particular friend has inspired a blog post. I don't expect it will be the last. There are a few of you who know by now that your words can and will be used in a blog post. But not against you. Never against you.

Not that cancer is at the forefront of my mind all the time, but it's the permanent backdrop of my life. It's always there. Especially now, after the news I got last week. That rising PSA number brought me crashing down to earth fast. I was supposed to be the bumblebee, doing the impossible for a guy with all of my factors. Maybe I still am. We'll find out in June. But it doesn't feel that way to me. It feels now like my wings really are too small, and gravity is pulling me back down. So it's on my mind even more than it was before.

I'm not worrying or stressing about it, but I do want to talk about it. A lot. Have you noticed? When I wear one of my cross pendants every day, I'm always hoping someone will ask me about them, so I can tell them about my cancer. People rarely do, though.

If we know each other, don't ever feel like I want to avoid the subject. It's not me who wants to avoid talking about it, it's you. I need to talk about it. Because it's always on my mind.

Rather than worry and stress, the main feeling I've had since my last PSA result, and the consultation I had with my oncologist, has been sadness. I feel sad all the time. I can still enjoy things that give me pleasure, like watching a good movie or TV show, or listening to music I love, or reading a good book, or being with loved ones. Especially that. But the sadness is always there, like a blanket covering everything.

It wasn't like that before that number started rising again. Back when I was the bumblebee. Sure, I felt like I was shrinking, getting smaller and weaker by the day, but I thought my cancer was shrinking too. Now, like The Incredible Shrinking Man, I keep getting smaller, while the spider has started to grow.

So my mood has changed. I try to think about other things, and I'm successful much of the time. But if I don't have something specific to focus on, the wave of sadness comes back. It's all gotten too real.

Well, this is a depressing post, isn't it? I'm sorry if it comes off that way, but I have to tell you the truth. I have to bear witness to what this is like, at least for me. I'm not afraid, I'm not worried or stressed, and thank God, I'm not in pain. Much. But I am sad. And I'm very tired.

Let's be honest. I've been preoccupied with the subject of my cancer since I was diagnosed. People would say I must be tired of talking about it, and I'd reply that it's all I want to talk about. That's why I write this blog, obviously. So I can talk about it with as many people as possible. But even that's not enough.

That's also why I'm in therapy. So I can talk about it some more. I talk about lots more than cancer with my therapist, but the subject is never far off. I doubt there's been a session where it didn't come up. Because it's always on my mind.

It doesn't take much to make a day go sideways for me now. After a frustrating morning in my recording studio Friday, where a technical glitch kept me from making any progress on my final CD project, I had to stop working by around 12:30 in the afternoon. I was too upset to work. Even after a good day's work yesterday, as soon as I finished for the day, the sadness came rushing back in.

My PSA was expected to rise at some point, so I'm not sure what I'm so sad about. Actually, I do, I'm just not ready to talk about it here yet. But I think a big part of it is just sadness about running out of time. I'm not angry about my cancer. I don't want to shake my fist at God about the unfairness of it. But I am sad about it, and I'm preoccupied with it.

Before you tell me not to think about it, before you say I should just live my life and not let cancer define me, tell me if you've been in my shoes. And even if you have or you are right now, everyone processes these things differently. There's no right or wrong way, and there's no instruction manual.

It's not like me to feel sad for so long. I keep expecting my usual upbeat nature to assert itself. Maybe that will happen if my PSA goes back down next month. Maybe finishing my recording work, selling my gear, and going on a road trip in June will do it. Maybe I need to go back on the 5-HTP supplement for a while. But even if the sadness fades, the preoccupation won't. That's been a constant from the start.

I'm sorry this post has been so down. I'm just being honest about where I'm at. I find myself sighing deeply at the oddest times. Sitting down to tie my shoes. Making breakfast in the morning. There's a heaviness to everything now.

I have a lot of work to do to get this CD project done in time, and that one little number knocked me off course for a week.  I just couldn't get back there mentally. This week was better. I might not make my original deadline, but I shouldn't miss it by much. It helps to have something to occupy my attention. It almost makes me forget for a little while. Almost.

Because no matter where I am or what I'm doing, cancer is there. It's eating me up inside while we talk over coffee, or interact on Facebook, or breathe. So yes, it's always on my mind. #waroncancer #bearingwitness

1 comment:

  1. You said what a lot of us dealing with prostate cancer are thinking but don't let it out. It's nearly impossible for me to not think about it. How can you? Its always there to remind you. Thankfully my PSA has been low but I also know that one day it will begin to rise again. Like you I'm not shaking my fist at God. Actually I thank God for the cancer because it brought me closer to Him. But that doesn't mean you can stop thinking about it. How can you? The side effects of the treatment alone are constant reminders of what we deal with. I'll be praying for you brother.