Saturday, April 10, 2010

Alex's Unexpected Medical Journey

I was losing my hair anyway before I was diagnosed but not like this!  My wife tells me I look good without hair.  I am not so sure.  So now it is official here you see me as a cancer patient.   I am waiting for my 2nd round of chemo to start (4/8/2010).  My spirits are up and I am looking forward to chemotherapy start.  I was also nervous to be sure because I didn't know how I would react.   I am doing much better this round than the first.  The important point is that I chose to Win and this was not an easy to conclusion to come to.  I treat cancer patients but to find myself as a cancer patient was an entirely different thing.  So I will start with how I got my mind around all this chaos. 

First, I have a sarcoma in my leg. I haven't walked since the beginning of March as the tumor is pressing on my sciatic nerve. For weeks I was desperate angry and crying.  But I had to face my fear and mostly what I refer to as "my 1,000 generations of cynicism".  The cancer was still there, I still couldn't walk and I have a long and rough road ahead of me.  For this I have brought on many allies, including my rastafarian healer neighbor.   He taught me to work on mind and not on trying to control things that are out of my control.  I have also brought on a meditation teacher and a healer to reinforce this.  No matter how I thought about it there was still a mass in my leg.   I felt powerless, hopeless and desperate as if this thing could take me in some miserable way to a place where I would be living a diminished life!  But I realized, with help, that I so wanted to go to the negative.  I wanted to find cynicism (not hard) wallow in it and cry, beg god for my life and play this story where I promise god if you can just get me through this I will be good.  I was even thinking about becoming religious as a means out of this hell.  I envisioned myself as a sailor in a storm holding on to small boat waiting for the storm to pass. 

My group of healers reinforced to me that you cannot control many things in this situation but you can control how you think.  And with the help of some strategic acupuncture to open up my liver, which is to say unleash the part of my will and spirit that can see the bigger picture I was able to turn a corner and become clever and strategic about the big plan for winning.  I was no longer just clinging for dear life to that little boat.  Now I feel like I am able to keep the boat pointed into the waves and navigate.

The big plan goes like this:  Chemotherapy is working to kill the tumor and is going to work without serious side effects.  I will recover quickly from the the treatment.  There will be no metastasis.  This is my will.  There hasn't been any metastasis so far and I simply do not think it is in my cards (karma) for that to happen.   This mass is staying in my leg.   Right now I am on my second round of chemotherapy and am feeling pretty good relatively speaking.  The first round had to be cut short due to side effects.

Radiotherapy will start the day I finish this second round of chemotherapy and it will work in the same manner, without side effect and be effective as it is intelligently applied to the best of my skilled physicians ability.  I cannot control the treatment except in my own mind and that is where I work.  I have been told there is a good chance I will be back to walking with the radiotherapy so I am really looking forward to that.  I hope I can make the transition from chemotherapy to radiation without problems.  There will be another round of chemotherapy after radiation that will probably go like the current round I am on and then there will be the surgery that will preserve my mobility.  My excellent surgeon will remove the tumor with easy wide margins because the tumor after all this beating will be largely if not completely dead!.    For all this to go smoothly is the plan.  If it doesn't go as smoothly as described then the plans can change to assure success in a different ways.  No matter what success is assured as long as I can change the plans without going negative (that is the clever part).  So far getting control of my mind has been quite a relief.  It has allowed me and everyone around me to calm down.  That is huge.  It has also given me insight into keeping my own energy from getting bogged down  in others people fear around me or in their sympathy masquerading as fear.  I can only visit cynicism now it is no longer who I am. 

One of the more interesting things I have done is to stop wearing a watch.  Time is measured differently now as I actively wait for this round of chemo. to be finished or my pain to pass or for the blessing of walking again and I rest a lot.  I was so preoccupied with all that I have described above that I have not had time to read or write or do much of anything.  Yesterday for the first time I started to read, "Lance Armstrong: It Is Not About The Bike". He is an inspiration. 

I have been able for a few weeks now since I made this transition to maintain my mind and this vision of success.  I should also add that there will be a big party at the end of all this.  That is part of the vision to acknowledge the many that have helped me, loved me, cooked and cared for me.