Well friends, it appears that we’re heading down the home stretch. Last week when I went for treatment I mentioned to the doctor that I haven’t had a big picture discussion about my prognosis since last spring. His kind and measured response was the he was hoping to get me to the summer (I tried to hear through the summer, but lying to myself isn't going to make it so).
This is not news. When the initial prognosis was made last March, the world’s foremost gall bladder cancer doctor told me that folks in my condition usually last about a year. I accepted that news and have used it for planning purposes- I even created the C.Rushing Big C Countdown Clock to help me keep track of that time. Over the past ten months I’ve adjusted my life and my expectations accordingly. I’ve done my best to accept what's coming my way with grace. Despite knowing the situation and living with it for months, it was still tough to hear again.
Despite my best efforts to deal with the situation like a big boy, it almost felt worse to hear the "news" the second time around. Apparently, I’m not immune from that good ol' American, middle-class optimism after all. Everything we were raised on tells us that the good guys always win, things always turn out for the best, there is always a second chance, and that life is fair. Of course, this is all nonsense. Life is not fair and it owes us nothing. (I must say, however, that despite this bad break, I am, in the grand scheme of humanity, a blessed and fortunate soul.)
There is no telling what the coming days will hold. My current chemo regimen has worked for a couple of months, but cancer being cancer, the tumor will develop resistance and progress. One of the downsides of having a rare cancer is that it doesn’t attract a lot interest from researchers or big pharma- this results in fewer avenues of treatment or new trials. When my current chemo regimen runs out, there may be one more long-shot chemo option (and that's it). Afterwards, nature will run its course.
I’ve now turned my thoughts to wrapping up loose ends. I want to make sure that all of my work endeavors are tidied up to make the transition easy for the next person up. I want to make arrangements for all of the things that happen immediately after I’m gone in order to make things easier for the family. I want to make sure all my friends know I love them. Of course, I don’t know if I’ve got two weeks or two months so planning this out is awkward.
Last spring I noted three things I wanted to make sure I lived to see: Spectre, Star Wars VII, and an Alabama National Championship. I got to see all three. Unfortunately, two were minor disappointments (the movies*), but one was an unmitigated joy (the football). As I managed to make those milestones, I suppose it’s time to make another list. Here then is another list of things that I would like to stick around for:
A trip to my "Holy Grail" of restaurants
The announcement of middle school acceptance/rejection for my oldest son
A family spring break trip
My oldest son’s birthday
A family vacation
Noel Gallagher (favorite musician of all time) in Atlanta and Nashville
My brothers’ birthdays
My birthday (aka Christianmas)
I'm sure I'm missing a few, but that's what I've got off the top of my head. Given my situation, that list is a lot to ask for. It's probably a bridge too far, but only time will tell. In the mean time, I'll keep doing my thing. Until next time, ya'll be good!
*Yes, I thought Star Wars was a disappointment. Sorry, I just can’t jump on that bandwagon. I really, really, wanted to like it as much as everyone else, but it didn’t move my needle.