[cancer] Melting down like an ice cream cone on an August sidewalk

Yesterday, most of what I expected was confirmed. calendula_witch commented as well. In short, I am almost certainly entering my third round of cancer in the past three years, with a second metastasis, this time in my liver.

Apparently, I’m collecting organ systems one by one. Eventually I’ll have the whole set, and can make a man of myself.

So late yesterday afternoon I went into a nasty, slow-motion meltdown and (figuratively) threw up all over calendula_witch. I had sad, ugly thoughts, and spoke some sad, ugly words. Revolving around the obvious of course. We worked our way through it, and made things right between ourselves, but damn it was hard and stupid and she doesn’t deserve any of it. Neither do I.

I continue to struggle with, among other things, my sense that this is getting worse. The primary cancer in my colon likely took years to develop, they tell me. The lung metastasis last year was 5 mm in April and 10 mm in October, growing about 5 mm in diameter in six months. Call that a growth rate of 1 mm per month (assuming a linear progression for the sake of discussion). The liver metastasis this year was non-existent in November and 29 mm in July. That’s a growth rate of about 4 mm per month. While on chemo.

In other words, every time this little bastard assassin child of mine comes back, it stronger, faster and nastier. And yes, three data points doth a trend describe. This is why we had the CT yesterday, to see how fast this thing is growing now. There are three possibilities, it seems to me. One, the tumor has stabilized. Two, tumor has maintained the linear progression and will measure about 33-34 mm. (Which, incidentally, falls within the 5 mm margin-of-error of the CT scanning process, with respect to the current 29 mm measurement.) Or, post-chemo, it has really busted a cap on my liver and is somewhat larger than 34 mm.

Over the past three years, whenever I think I’ve found the worst-case fear, the reality has trumped my thinking with something even more dreadful.

So I have trepidation about this CT scan. Mind you, it does not matter, we’re doing surgery anyway. All this scan will do is establish our risk criteria, and govern whether we rush the surgery (and cancel the New Zealand/Australia trip) or let it happen in mid-September, per the current plan.

Now, take the above-described trending and map it forward. What happens next year? A big piece of yesterday’s meltdown was me pouring out my fears about losing my writing career, my Day Jobbe, my ability to care for myself and the_child financially, as I get increasingly sick every year.

I am sane, I am rational, I am emotionally healthy. I am not going to let my fears stop me. But the stark simple fact is that the things I fear from this seemingly endless progression of cancer do have the power to stop me, regardless of my resolve. And I am afraid of that.

7 thoughts on “[cancer] Melting down like an ice cream cone on an August sidewalk

  1. Laurie Mann says:

    People melt down over much less. I know I have, and I’ve seen other people do the same. You’re being very open about things that most people don’t want to think about for themselves, much less write about for the public. That requires a level of courage most people do not have.

  2. Drax says:

    August was made for meltdowns, Jay. Hang in there.

  3. pelican says:

    Don’t know you in real life obviously Jay, but based on your writing here and in your books, you do seem sane, rational, and quite emotionally healthy. Thanks again for sharing this process with the world with such grace.

    And, Drax is right … August is made for meltdowns, that’s why it’s the traditional shrink vacation season.

    Best wishes for a stable CT and an excellent trip.

  4. Cora says:

    Given your situation, you have every right to have a meltdown and I’m sure your loved ones understand.

    Still keeping my fingers crossed that the thing on your liver hasn’t grown and that everything turns out well in the end.

  5. Jim Crider says:

    Hang in there, Jay.

    This sucks. There’s no other way to describe it. But you do what you have to do with the cards that have been dealt to you.

    You have a gift with words, and that gift gives you an outlet for all the fear. Use that.

    And know that there’s a whole lot of folks in your corner.

  6. Pulling for you. Hugs. Allow yourself to be human..
    There are no words for how much cancer sucks so all you can do is keep going as hard and well as you can (and you are doing that).

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