You may not like this post. But, as always, I must tell the truth. I must bear witness.
For the past two weeks, I've been losing weight. Not intentionally, but my weight has fallen incrementally each day, with no change in my diet. I now weigh six pounds less than I did two weeks ago. This appears to be a trend.
Six pounds may not sound like much to you, but for a naturally thin guy like me, whose resting weight is around 130, it's a lot. It seems to be a symptom, but I'll watch my weight for the next few days and talk about it with my nurse on Tuesday. Last Tuesday, my weight was down by four pounds. Now, it's six. If the trend continues, I'll be south of 125 by Tuesday. (Note: I weighed 124.5 this morning, Sunday)
I was warned when I entered hospice care that uncontrollable weight loss was coming. I don't know if that's what this is, or if it's something else. I've struggled with unintentional weight loss twice before, when I was in treatment. Then, I thought it was a side effect of hormone treatment. The shots I was getting caused numbness in my abdomen, and I lost the ability to feel hungry for a while. I saw a nutritionist both times to help me correct the problem. Her program worked for me, so I know how to fight this. The question is, do I want to?
My appetite is not what it should be, due to the omnipresent nausea that's just under the surface. If I forget one pill, it comes right to the forefront in waves. That's one obstacle to gaining weight, but not the main one. The main one is my desire to fight. I'm sorely lacking in that desire right now.
Leading up to the benefit concert a week ago, I had a distinct sense of "hanging on." But now, though I have two goal dates to come, March 16th and 17th, I can feel myself letting go. It's not a conscious decision on my part. It seems to be happening on the subconscious level. Something inside me is tired of hanging on, and wants to let go.
Consciously, I want to hang on for those events in March, just over a month away. I believe I will make it to both events, but I can't be sure. I know all it will take is one more major symptom to knock me down and make it difficult, if not impossible, to leave our house. That symptom, whatever it turns out to be, is made more likely by the fact that I seem to be letting go.
I remember many instances where I had a performance coming up and a cold coming on at the same time. Most of the time, I've been able to get myself through a performance by sheer will and adrenaline, and then after the performance, my body let go and the cold came on with full force. I can't help but wonder of that's what's happening now, only on a more serious level, and with finality. I have no more performances coming up. Both of the events in March can happen with or without me. I want very much to be there and intend to be there for both events, but I can't seem to stop letting go.
I bought ice cream and milk yesterday so I can make protein shakes for lunch. I don't normally eat lunch. I'll try to make myself one this afternoon, but I don't want to. The idea of forcing calories down my throat is not appealing at all. I'd rather wait until I'm hungry to eat. But hunger may not come until closer to dinner time. And my weight will be less tomorrow than it was today.
I know you want me to fight. But fighting is not part of hospice care. Hospice care is about facing reality. It's about recognizing and being at peace with what's to come. I am at peace with that, and have been since I was diagnosed. I went through two years of treatment, of "fighting." I don't want to fight anymore. I want to let go.
A dear friend of mine had a dream about me and another friend of hers who has prostate cancer. In her dream, the three of us were in a room filled with doors. The other guy and I were looking at the various doors. Finally, we ended up at opposite ends of the room, about to open the last two doors. Suddenly, my friend knew that if we opened the doors, we would die. She began shouting at us, begging us not to open the doors. The other guy looked at her and backed away from his door. But I smiled at her and opened mine. When I opened the door, a brilliant light came shining through. I gave her an even bigger smile, and stepped through.
My friend hated the dream, and her friend got chills when she told him about it. But I love it. I think it's beautiful. I believe it reflects my attitude toward this perfectly. I would step through the door into the light. I would not hesitate to do so.
Our church had a silent prayer service this week. They have those about once a month. It was my first chance to attend one, and I looked forward to it. Quiet music played while people stayed in their seats as we prayed and meditated. Church staff members would come by at various intervals, place their hands on the shoulders of those who agreed to be touched, and prayed silently for each of us individually.
We were given a card on which to write any specific prayer requests. "Relief from cancer symptoms" was what I wrote on mine. It was a very emotional experience, almost overwhelming at times. During one of the times while staff members were praying over me, I found myself telling God I'm ready to go home. I didn't mean to say it, it just came out. I was letting go.
I know you want me to fight to stay here as long as possible. But before long, I will see the door with the brilliant light coming through every crack around it. When I see it, I will open it and step through with a smile on my face. I will let go. I've already begun to do that, and I can't seem to stop.
My work here is pretty much done. My book is up to date, I've finished my work with The Littleton Conservatory Of Rock, and I'll no longer take the stage with Wik. I'll continue to go to rehearsals and mentor them from the Grandpa chair they've set up for me, but as I've said in past posts, they don't really need me there. They have arrived. Their future is bright, and I won't be there for most of it.
My memorial service is put together. The memorial program is written. The speakers and singers have been chosen, and the other elements of the service are in place. There's nothing left that needs to be done, other than possibly compiling a potential second book. And write down a couple of movie ideas I have, just in case someone wants to make them at some point. But all of that can be done from my bed, if necessary.
I don't believe this means I'll die in the next few weeks. But it does mean the process has begun in earnest. I know you don't want to hear this. I don't want to say it. But I have to. It's the truth. I've hung on for as long as my strength has held out. I can't hang on anymore. I need to let go. #waroncancer #bearingwitness