Daily Archives: February 2, 2020

Understanding the enemy

‘When there is dust rising in a high column, it is the sign of chariots advancing; when the dust is low, and spread over a wide area, it betokens the approach of infantry. When it branches out in different directions, it shows that parties have been sent to collect firewood. A few clouds of dust moving to and fro signify that the army is encamping.’ Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

My enemy, despite heavy artillery (lorlatinib plus carboplatin and pemetrexed) continues to advance. Hence the need for another approach. On Tuesday I have yet another CT scan in preparation for the upcoming clinical trial–it will be interesting to see if the fact that I am feeling better is supported by radiographic evidence. Either way, I think it is time to surprise cancer, which has grown both in size and cockiness.

7.1 cm is not my friend. Nor is lymphangitic carcinomatosis.

And this is why I call it a battle

I am not a proponent of violent conflict.

But when something has been trying to kill you for fifteen years, it is impossible not to take it personally. And when this thing that’s chasing you starts going after your friends as well, it’s more than personal.

This is a war. And when I hear others rail against that terminology, I have to think that their experience with cancer is not quite the same as mine.

My own struggle to stay alive is daily. And it is a struggle. The enemy is persistent, relentless, and sneaky as fuck. I have now lost hundreds of friends to cancer. My heart has been broken so many times I am sometimes surprised that it can go on beating. But it does, and, against all odds, I continue to draw breath. Battle on.

What keeps me going is in part this notion that I am at war.

I lost a dear friend yesterday and my first thought was ‘man down.’ I felt incredible grief but also that familiar surge of motivating anger.

In less than two weeks I shall likely start my fourth phase I clinical trial. The front lines of this battle, if you will. I am–unapologetically–a cancer warrior.

I fight not just for myself, but for all who are similarly afflicted. I fight because I want to live, but also because I want others to have the opportunity to live as well.

I fight because I am heartbroken.

And mad as hell.