At one time or another, we have all been annoyed by the Sunday driver taking the scenic route; you know the one who drives twenty to admire the glorious view on the back roads or even stops to take pictures of the changing leaves in the fall. I have always envied these people for actually “stopping to smell the roses” and just simply enjoying the ride while the rest of the world beeps their horn to pick up the pace. We as a society try to get from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time via the shortest route possible. We in essence are always in a hurry to get somewhere and tend to be most satisfied by instant gratification. No one wants to wait for anything. Patience may be a virtue, but it is one that Americans are lacking.
Until recently, I was one of those people. Always in a hurry to get somewhere, trying to cram in as much as possible, always feeling like there needed to be more hours in a day. It wasn’t until my Hodgkin’s slowed me down that I realized all of the things that I was missing. I have learned that the best moments are repeatedly climbing up and down the tree house stairs with my beautiful goddaughter or participating in dress up time, laughing so much your stomach hurts during dinner conversations with friends (now that we all try to make more of a conscious effort to be in each other’s lives), spending Sunday mornings curled up on the couch with my boyfriend, playing frisbee for hours on end with Jax, outings with my family, and silly conversations with my mom and dad. I used to partake in these moments all the while thinking about what I needed to or should be doing. My cancer changed all of that, I find I’m truly present in all the little moments of my life and that they are the moments that matter.
So today, when Z called to tell me that ICE had failed to yield the results we had hoped for and that my stem cell transplant would need to be postponed, I had a single moment of disappointment because instant gratification, in this case my transplant, was further out of reach. I had a nagging feeling that this was going to happen, thanks to my itching shins (one of my original symptoms). It also accounts for my scanxiety. But oddly enough, this time I was far less disappointed by the fact that my once again resistant, stubborn and smart cancer was refusing to disappear. I suppose each time you face disappointment it gets a little easier. Z explained that he and Dr. J discussed my next steps. Z felt reassured by the fact that Dr. J had met numerous patients like me, who were resistant to traditional chemotherapies. So together they agreed that I would need a whole new approach and they would try Brentuximab. Brentuximab is a relatively new drug that uses antibodies to target the Hodgkin cells. Generally, it has few side effects and in clinical trials since 2011 has been known to bring refractory patients like myself to complete remission. The hope is that I have two cycles, one infusion every three weeks, followed by a PET and then hopefully be en route for my stem cell transplant now slated for mid November instead of October. According to Z, my chances for the auto transplant working are no different, it just requires this new course of action.
When I called Steph to explain these new developments her response was that all it came down to was that my cancer had opted to take the long way on some back roads before reaching its ultimate destination. In other words it was taking the scenic route. And I have decided to be one of those Sunday drivers along for the ride making the most out of everyday in the meantime. So no instant gratification for me, only time to stop and admire the changing seasons (just in time for the Fall) before reaching my desired destination – a cancer free future!