I’ve been struggling to put on my brave face lately. Partly it’s the fatigue, which has gotten worse with every chemo cycle. I’m now on my fifth round of carboplatin/taxol; neither of these are easy drugs to tolerate, and together, they’re a kick in the gut. When I’m tired, I’m more emotional. It’s just harder to plow through this shitty existence with a smile on my face when I don’t have any energy.
But it’s not just that. I had another brain MRI a few weeks back, and there were three more spots on it. Too tiny to say for sure that they’re more mets, but that’s what I’m expecting the follow-up MRI will show early next month. Which means more gamma knife surgery, more chemo, more treatment. When I got the news about the MRI, I got drunk, and I emailed my oncologist and said “It all just feels so fucking futile.”
I think there is still a part of me, buried deep down, that hopes that I’ll live long enough for a cure to be found, or at least, for some treatment to come along that will make metastatic breast cancer truly chronic. Because, if I could stay alive that long, then all this suffering I’m doing wouldn’t be futile. It’d be a means to an end: staying alive long enough for a better treatment to come along. One that adds more than few months to my lifespan, and one that doesn’t come with the cost of spending days on end lying in bed because I’m too tired to do anything.
But then I have yet another scan that shows yet more progression, and it’s like that tiny little bit of hope gets punched in the gut, and it hurts. It really fucking hurts. And I wish it wasn’t there anymore. I wish I could just accept that this is my fate: to keep being tortured for another year, maybe two, and then to die. Maybe if that little bit of hope wasn’t still in there, it wouldn’t hurt so much every time I see more dots growing on my brain.
But that is the reality of how I’m living with my disease: to live with that tiny bit of hope, to never fully accept that this is all there is for me, and to keep getting punched in the gut over and over again as death inches closer. It’s not just the treatments that are brutal and exhausting.
Luckily this is my last cycle of carbo/taxol for a while. After this, we’re switching to Xeloda, which is milder and hopefully won’t bottom me out so badly. I really hope so, because when I’m not so tired, hopefully I’ll be better able to pick up the pieces emotionally and keep pushing through this shitty thing I call a life. Because there’s another scan to face in a couple of weeks, and I need to brace myself for another punch in the gut.