The ride

November 16, 2022. I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on the past four years. It’s been a heck of a ride and one I didn’t see coming. I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. It was the same way the first time I was diagnosed in September 1999. I didn’t see it coming and there was nothing I could have done to escape it.

Cancer is like that. You can read about all sorts of recommendations for avoiding it, most prominently diet and exercise. For me the truth about cancer is it doesn’t care who you are, how healthy you are, what your family history is, how much exercise you do, where you live, how old you are, what color your eyes are, if you’re heavy or lean, if you are a frequent or occasional drinker, if you don’t drink at all, if you are social or a recluse, if you do drugs or don’t, what color your skin is, if you are male or female or in-between, if you believe in a higher power or don’t, if you drink coffee or tea, if you don’t drink enough water, if you take vitamins or not, if you floss or don’t, if you shower every day or once a week—cancer doesn’t care. The truth is when you get a cancer diagnosis you look at what you can blame, you think to yourself, “what did I do wrong?” You try to point your finger at the one thing that could have triggered it all.

Our bodies work hard every day trying to keep us as healthy as possible. I know it and I appreciate it. But sometimes our bodies let us down. There have been many times in my 70 years when I woke up in the morning with a sore throat or a headache and would ask myself, “why?” It was the same way when I got diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and then again in 2018. I was fit, ate right, got plenty of rest, took my vitamins, brushed my teeth, and drank lots of water. Still I got cancer. I don’t know why. It just is what it is. And once you have it you, along with your care team, do everything you can to beat it. To end it. To survive it. But I know for certain there was nothing I could have knowingly done to prevent it.

In spite of all that, for some unknown reason, I unconsciously believed that because I had cancer none of my friends and family would ever have to endure it. I guess I wanted to be the one thing that would shield them, protect them. Sadly, I’ve been let down a number of times over the years. And every time I take it a little bit personally. It happened most recently last week. The word NO screamed so loud in my head, I was certain my cat laying nearby flinched. All the things I wanted for my friend whirled around in my brain like a tornado… I hope she caught it early, I hope there’s no metastases, I hope it’s easily treatable, I hope, I hope, I hope.

That’s the other thing about this ride…it’s lonely. It’s a singular journey. No one can take this trip with you other than in a position of support. They can’t take any of the tests. They can’t be in your brain as you anticipate the next step. They can’t take a treatment or blood draw or surgery for you. They can only watch from the sidelines. As much as they want it, they are helpless to help you. You just have to go it alone and fight like hell to survive.

So here I sit, four years into this latest journey with no end in sight. Right now the Bicalutamide I’m taking has been the least toxic chemotherapy I’ve endured with fatigue as the most dominant side effect. I’ve been on it for 6 weeks and will continue for 5 more. Then more scans. Then… Well, like I said, it’s a heck of a ride.

During this season of giving thanks, I am profoundly grateful to be alive and for each and every one of you.

Instructions for living life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. — Mary Oliver 

25 Replies to “The ride”

  1. Sweet Lana,
    You have exhibited such strength and positivity throughout this journey. I so wish you could catch a break. I adore you and wish you all the best today and always. I am very grateful for you and Steve. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful Lana, always so eloquent! I love your writing, your attitude and, most especially, your heart. You & Steve are in my thoughts so often, and I continue to send healing thoughts & prayers always. Love you, Lan❣ 😘💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey sweet friend, all the comments here say just what I would, but Cheryl says it best for me, word for word. I can’t do any better, other than hug you tight. I love you and Steve more than I can ever say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m grateful for all the honesty you’ve shared without whining about your journey. You’ve had quite a ride and must be getting saddle sore by now! You’ve been a friend for a couple of decades or more. I hope there are a couple more to go for us both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, it’s been your ride and no one else’s. We pray that soon it gets smoother, more manageable and brighter. Like you, we believe in prayer and gratitude. We are so fortunate to have you and Steve as our friends. From afar, we continue to hold you ever so close to our hearts. You write with such powerful imagery. It brings us closer to what you are going through. Hope you’ll be able to enjoy the upcoming holiday season. Love you both ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Lana, That post touched my heart. I believe it to be true. As much as someone would like to help, there is nothing they can do… But be a friend. I have found myself wondering is it best to ask how are you feeling? Or just a hug will do. It is a bit like asking someone who has lost someone close, are you ok, of course, they are usually gracious, but, they hurt really hurt. So my sweet friend Lana, know that I care, know that I hate all the suffering you have endured. But also know that I pray this would all go away so you can continue on with your life and your loving friends. Patty??

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dearest Lana and Steve- I meant to respond and realize I did not – your comments are always filled with light and hope – wishing you both blessings on this magical Christmas holiday season and hoping you spent Thanksgiving with folks you love –

    Liked by 1 person

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