One Day

I worked on a little project for the organization Caring Ambassadors.  I was asked to write about daily life with lung cancer.  This is what I came up with:

Living with Lung Cancer is no easy task. It is difficult to decipher which is more difficult the physical challenges or the mental challenges. I’ve been asked to comment on what it is like each day living with my terminal disease. Honestly, I feel my life is better summarized on a monthly basis. Each day can vary greatly. Is it a doctor appointment day? Scan day? Day before a doctor appointment day? A day of total rest and relaxation? A day that the thought of me dying before age 40 leaves me immobilized, weeping in bed, and tightly grasping a heating pad? In a month’s time I go through all of these typical days, and then some.

I will run you through a Wednesday of mine. This particular Wednesday is a scan day, the day my cancer is checked up on to see if it is shrinking, staying the same, or growing. The morning looks like any other morning. I wake up before 8 am to the smell of brewed coffee. I have a cup while I make a morning protein smoothie. For the most part, I eat a very consistent diet in hopes to eliminate GI issues, that are often a problem. As a former morning person I say my AM’s are slow. After smoothie is made I plop myself back down into bed, with my computer, and 2 bottles of pills. Fist down is the anti-nausea pill; 30 minutes later is my daily targeted chemo pill. Once I feel like my stomach has settled, at least one hour after anti-nausea pill, I begin to prepare for my day. I dress head to toe in cotton, give myself my daily blood thinner shot, and pack a light daypack. Today I will perform my new version of a triathlon. I am going to have scans, blood work, and EKG. I’m even going to add a quick stop at the pharmacy for good measure. I arrive on time for a 10:00 am check in for scans. The first is the quick CT of my lungs and abdomen. Thankfully the needle went in trouble free and my blood work was able to be drawn from the same injection point. Next is the brain MRI. This image is peskier clocking in at 45 minutes. Once scans are complete I venture up a few floors to get my EKG. I did not get a latte before my EKG this time; I know it will show an abnormally slow heart rate because of that and a side effect of my targeted therapy. Oh well. After 2-hours of actual doing things at my care center and 2-hours of wait time, my only stop left is a quickie at the pharmacy. I need to exchange my full sharps container from my daily blood thinner shots for an empty one. Finally I am ready to leave.

I make it home without too much frustration after navigating the parking lot. I’m hungry and need to eat before nausea kicks in. I eat a nice salad and drink some herbal tea. Nap time it is. Me, laptop, and cat are ready for our afternoon snuggles.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting the results of my scans. I can’t help but begin thinking about it now. Finally, I am able to catch my required 2-hour nap. This short snooze gives me the boost I need to visit with my my sweetie when he gets home from work. We’ll chat briefly, then decide where to go out for dinner. It’s a night to celebrate and all my running around has left me unable to spend a drop of energy on what to make for dinner. The sweetie could do it, but it’s best to use his energy for meal prep when I’m ill and require his assistance.

Since the blood work was already taken earlier, I can drink wine and not fear that my liver counts will reflect poorly after such indulgence. After returning home from a great meal with meaningful conversation, we’ll end the night with an easy 8-block walk. Now, I am ready for bed. I’m dressed in bedclothes and preparing my evening drug doses. I’ve learned the hard way to take them when I still have food in my stomach. Anti-nausea pill down, anti-depressant down; 30 minutes later targeted chemo down. I’m now officially ready for bed. Or, better put, ready to lay in bed and think of all the possible outcomes of today’s scans. I suspect sleeping will be difficult; within reach is my iPod with several meditation tracks at the ready.

Some days are better. Some days are worse.

About kimmywink

I'm Kim. I've got advanced lung cancer. It sucks.
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21 Responses to One Day

  1. Kristi says:

    May you have more better days than worse.

  2. This post is a gift to all who get to read it. I hope it gets shared broadly and I will do my end. Your glimpse at the simplistic reality of our new worlds (medical reality all the time) is so accurate. It is a new daily triathlon and some of us (YOU) know what a real triathlon is like from your old life. Thank you so much for writing this. Much love, marcy
    http://livinglydying.com/

  3. Kim I really liked that blog. I think you are the bravest person I know. Your daily routine has me ashamed to complain about anything. Your attitude makes me smile and reflect on what really matters. xoxoxo Kim ! See you in a couple of weeks.

    • kimmywink says:

      We all have challenges. They can take up all the energy a person has. Mine are just different than yours. It’s good to have some perspective but it does not mean yours are not important to you. I do like that now, the little things, don’t mean squat. 🙂

  4. Patrick says:

    thank you Kim! knowledge is power and you sharing empowers us all

  5. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the peek inside, sweetie.

  6. Dawn Pfarr says:

    Wow Kim. That was an amazingly honest post about your life and the lung cancer/medical marathon that you are running. Thank you for sharing all of that on your blog.
    You are a stong and brave woman.
    Love ya lots and looking forward to our next “tea date.”
    Dawn

  7. excellent post Kimmy, you ride this rollercoaster with grace and courage.

  8. Alison says:

    Kim, thanks so much for posting your letter. I’m glad to have the opportunity to read it and gain some insight into what scan day looks like for you — I know from our conversations that it’s stressful, but now I better understand what goes into the day. I also love that you shared that your day to day can vary widely and that describing a month would better capture your experience. Your foray into advocacy work so inspiring. Yay, you!

  9. Patty says:

    Kim, your post painted such a graphic picture of what it is like to live with cancer. You have such a gifted writer and by sharing you allow so many to better understand the daily life of those like yourself that live with cancer. Matisse said it well – Your story puts my every day complaints into perspective: they are nothing. Your courageous journey and your williness to allow us to follow along, give so many strength, hope and faith. You are amazing and I love your project photos! Keep up the fight!

  10. kimmywink says:

    Funny…mostly I share my story so I don’t have to keep it bottled up inside. I’m glad it helps others. I don’t see how I am being courageous. It feels like I do what I do because I’m running purely on survival instincts. Hum…

    Hope to see you towards the end of the month. xo

  11. Jennifer Lembach says:

    That was so well written. You have a way with the written word, Kimmywink!

  12. Pingback: Meet Kim – 36, Stage 4 Lung Cancer & a Wonder | livingly dying

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