Starting the 12-month countdown. As of January 2015, I’ll have 12 more treatments left of what has seemed like an endless battle. While things should be getting easier, as this final 12 month stage of chemo is less intense, in a truthful simplification, it’s actually been quite the opposite.
1) The effects of the steroids that I take once a month (turning me into a raging, munchie-consuming maniac) accumulate with each dose; meaning each time I ferry back to Vctoria after receiving treatment, the effects of the steroids are more intensified and my meal purchases from Triple O’s are consequently increased more in size – but as always, I view my food cravings as positives.
2) The more normalized and routine my life becomes, the harder it is to accept that I am still in the midst of treatment. Each month I come home for my dose of chemo-cocktail, a sense of unease reminds me that “moving on” and “University Life” are mere distractions from a fight that is still very real – void of reassurance.
In Film class we were asked to analyze Lola Rent – A film about a young girl named Lola who is given 20 minutes to save her boyfriend’s life; when she fails at doing so, she’s able to turn back the clock and try again. The film speaks a larger message – that of time and its limitations. Lola corrects her mistakes with each re-attempt until she’s able to complete her mission, reflecting on how each minor decision we make in life can greatly affect the overall outcome. It’s tough to reflect on a life that you want nothing more than to forget about – to analyse events you wish you could simply erase from your memory. But without looking back and learning from our past, how else are we supposed to grow? I’ve realized that reflection is necessary for acceptance, and in turn, optimism - especially when I’ve got another tough year ahead. And like Lola, I’m hoping that with each month of treatment, I can better learn from the one before. While I don’t have the supernatural ability to turn back time, I’ve got 12-months to learn how to better accept the hardships that come before reaching the finish-line and ways to make this home stretch a little easier.
Lola Rent (Run Lola Run) is a stellar German film that I recommend everyone watch – especially if you’re so inclined to consider new philosophies in life … it ignites some profound thought.
Some positive thoughts, how I plan on staying optimistic during the upcoming year:
1) Surrounding myself with awesome people – very easy to do in university. Shout-out to Bryan Froh, one of the best guys out there, who although I haven’t seen in months, still manages to consistently make me smile.
2) Surround myself with awesome food – this is a universal tactic, effective even if you’re not on 60mg of prednisone. People underestimate the power of good food: the most convenient source of satisfied happiness.
3) Surround myself with movies – for obvious reasons.
Time is a limitation so when life is hard or days are unhappy, there should be nothing more important than pursuing positivity.
With a 12 month countdown to a clean bill of health (knock on wood), I’ll be doing my best to forget that the effects of these treatments will accumulate and I’ll remind myself of little things that will keep me going like a. it’s Christmas in 2 days b. it’s my birthday in 2 days and c. I’ll be feasting on a non-campus, home-cooked family dinner in 2 days. I’ve come too far to lose optimism now.
Forcing myself to reflect in order to look on the bright side, learning from Lola, and as always, breeding optimism,
- Serena Bonneville :)