Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Man With The Gun

I took my second treatment on Thursday. It took nearly 8 hours. The room was freezing and the place was overcrowded.

I'm not gonna lie, I was disappointed at the lack of privacy, Seems like it should be a very private thing. But no, you just sit down in any particular recliner not occupied at that moment and eventually some nice lady comes over and sticks some tube into your port and there you have it. Chemo begins.

Now, here I am in this room full of fellow cancer fighters and chemo patients and there's one sound I wasn't expecting to hear: laughter. Most of these people have to come in every single week and so they all know each other by name. It was nice to hear the laughter. I'm glad I haven't been the only one laughing. Sometimes my family or friends will sort of get onto me for the jokes I make, but the way I see it I'd rather laugh at it. My late grandmother always said "If I didn't laugh, I'd cry". I do plenty of the latter so I may as well do some of the former as well.

Now, you'd think I would start to feel right at home here in this little cancer fighter communion, but you'd be wrong. I had a handicap. I was at least 40 years younger than anyone else there. I've always gotten along better with people older than myself. But for some reason I was let down that there was no one my age there, no one who I could really identify with.

But still 8 hours gives plenty of time to bond. It was so nice to hear all the people talk about the ups and downs of chemo, about how the doctors finally found their cancers, almost always by accident. It was nice to hear that I was not the only one who couldn't seem to talk about anything else but cancer.

Just in the past few days alone some close friends have asked me if I ever get tired of talking about cancer. Yes, I really do. But at the same time I don't know what else to talk about. It feels as though a man has a gun to my head 24/7. I don't know how to ignore him. He's constantly on my mind and when I speak Its difficult not to mention him.

But there in the chemo ward everyone had their own gunman, and we all listened and shared our stories and our pains and our jokes. And I didn't feel so alone. Its hard to explain, since my own brother is a cancer survivor and went through almost the exact same thing. Not only him but I have many friends who fought and overcame cancer and it helps to talk with them but somehow it doesn't help the loneliness. They HAD cancer and won, their gunmen are dead. Mine's got his hand on the trigger.

So, it was nice to listen and share a bit and just feel like I wasn't the craziest person in the world, or the sickest. Why do you have to see the suffering of others to realize how fortunate you really are? There was a sweet old man there with lung cancer. His son and daughter were there with him. They used to own a pet monkey that their dad had bought them in Miami. He loves to eat food from a place called Sharkey's or Duke's. His chemo isn't designed to put him into remission, its designed to push back the inevitable. But he sat there, laughing with his kids about a monkey they'd had 30 years ago and eating his Zaxby's chicken with a smile on his face.

Ken came in towards the end of the day. He was the youngest guy I'd seen there besides myself. He was probably in his forties. He gave everyone a mint. He grinned from ear to ear and made a lot of little jokes. He looked perfectly healthy to me.

Ken was very friendly and outgoing and automatically reminded me and my brother of a friend of ours from Carrollton, Ga. Ken started to ask me how old I was and where my cancer was. I told him. "How about you?" I asked. "Brain cancer" he said.

Ken was a driver for Mohawk and taught kickboxing on the side. One day he took a kick to the head that he just couldn't get over. He went in for some tests and found a tumor the size of an orange in his brain. Without hesitation his doctor told him he only had 2 years to live.

Ken's had two surgeries and started experimental treatments. He just recently gave his life to Christ and couldn't be happier to tell you about it. Since he was diagnosed last May they say the tumor has started shrinking.

Remember these men and women, the guns are to their heads but they keep on living and laughing anyway. Say a prayer for them for healing and strength. Say a prayer of thanks to God that for today at least, the gun's not at your head.


Anonymous said...

Your blogs could become a movie one day!


Colin Morrison said...

Go Bro!!

Edwina said...

Hey Jeremy-This is Dianne's sister-Edwina again. I just read your latest blog. It was good to read that you are laughing and obviously from the picture you are smiling. Please continue with your wonderful wit and words. In my thoughts and prayers.

Edwina said...

Hey Jeremy-It is Dianne's sister Edwina again. I just read your latest blog. It is good to read that you are laughing and obviously smiling from your picture. Keep on posting your wonderful words and wit. Thoughts and prayers for you.

tregghardson said...

Hi Jeremy, this is Tregg (Country) and I just wanted to say hello and let you know I was touched by your blog. I am wishing the best for you, my thoughts and prayers are with you. God is good....All the time!!!