18 October 2009


Sunday night

It's Sunday night and I'm not sleepy. Well, I am, but I can't sleep, don't really want to yet. Everyone else in the house is down for the count until morning. I've always enjoyed this time, taking me back to being an only child alone with my thoughts—except my wonderful wife is breathing beside me in bed, which is much better, and endlessly comforting.

But tonight's not happy, or sad. It just is. Every day is a fight. Every. Fucking. Day. And every night too. Not a fight with a person, but with my own cells, useless greasy tissues that don't belong where they're growing in my lungs. I never know how much of my pain and fatigue is from them, and how much from the punishing medicine that slows the rate of cancer cell division inside me.

I spent a lot of this weekend in the bathroom. I don't know if that's a pattern yet, or just a rough few days of side effects. (But not as rough as some have been.) I cooked a pretty nice tikka masala dish tonight, and my wife brought home a lemon meringue pie for dessert. Our dinner with the kids at the kitchen table was my best part of Sunday.

Sometimes, like now, I don't want to sleep because I don't know what I'll be like when I wake up. Will I feel better, worse, the same? I can't predict, but at least I'm confident I will wake up. Will I sleep well, and rise rested, or toss and turn? Or will I be in the bathroom again, perhaps for hours? I don't really know.

I try to live day by day, but you have to plan something, even if your plans fall through. I have a few plans for tomorrow, and maybe I'll get to some of them. Or at least one. Or, just maybe if tonight goes poorly, none. These are my days and nights, more than three years after I developed cancer, and almost three years after I found out about the first (but not the worst) of it.

A fight. Every. Fucking. Day. And night. And more tomorrow. Time to sleep now, I think. To be ready.

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Derek - your bravery in the face of your illness is amazing. I am not sure how you keep up the fight. I guess, ultimately, you don't really have a choice. Take care and I hope that tonight is ok for you.

ps: Gemma says hi. She is doing very well still. She had the zoomies today - it was funny.
Keep fighting.

With all the fighting you've done, you're pretty much a cancer Gladiator.
This morning is better. Unexpectedly, my littlest daughter is a coughing, feverish little nine-year-old this morning, but I'm well so far. I'll keep my hands washed and take care of her today.
Glad to hear it is better this morning Derek. Do you have Tamiflu on hand for you? The ministry of health is saying to assume it is H1N1 if someone has the flu now. Take precautions.
I don't, but I should.
You are a very brave man, Derek. I salute you. I'm going in for my prostate surgery on Wednesday. Two weeks later I get to find out if it has metastasized to the bone. Scan found something weird on my rib. Your faith and courage is an inspiration. Thanks, man.
Good luck. It's always nerve-wracking.
Oh, Derek. I don't blame you for being tired of fighting. The treatments we have for cancer seem to be as difficult as the disease. I know you are on a clinical trial, but there are so many good books on cancer nutrition and strengthening the immune system. have you researched the role of the immune system
Hi Derek,

It still sounds better to plan even if you are not sure whether you can realize these plans or not. It at least gives you something to look forward to. I have been following your blog for awhile and am glad that you have kept focused and have not given in to despair.