So this is the end. Last chemo, and cancer free. But as I am reminded every time at a good movie, the end is just the beginning. Any good movie that fades to black, you sit there hoping it will fade to light again and you can find out what happened to the characters after the climax and denouement. Not like The Return of the King. I think we agree that was way too many fades to black and false climaxes (please stifle your laughter, ladies). But here's the thing: done with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, starting the editing of The Long Squeeze; starting back to running and working out; started to spend more time with my wife and children, who have been ignored too long in this process. That's the "fade to light" I want to have happen now.
Thanks to all my friends for your support. That support has made this so much easier. And yet I have to admit I had it easy to start with: I had a very curable form of cancer and the chemo wasn't as bad as other poison cocktails oncologist/mixologists devise for more insidious cancers.
It's about this time that some folks who have been through what I've been through tell you they have a new found lease on life, that they look at everything differently, that they are better for the experience. I DISAGREE. I gutted this out and hated every minute of it. I am not better for having been through it. And yet . . . Oh yes, there is that little bit inside you that wants oh so badly to draw something good from the bad. Human nature, right? Well, if I have to draw some good from the bad it is, ironically, from a preacher at the church my wife drags me to every so often. (Those of you who know me know I am not a particularly religious person.) One Sunday, the pastor said this about his flock's problems: "Troubles produce endurance, and endurance produces character." I hope so. I am egotistical enough to believe I had a lot of character before I ever got diagnosed with cancer. On the other hand, that character came from somewhere earlier in my life and I hope this little bit of rough patch in the road produces more, and of better quality.
Like Gene Hackman told Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge, you don't have an epiphany immediately like in the movies. You have an experience, and after a little bit of time, you learn from that experience and have an epiphany later. I'm paraphrasing, but that's basically the gist of it. So let's all figure we're not going to have any epiphanies right now, and in the meantime, let's raise a glass to the end of chemo and the end of Hodgkin's Lymphoma for me. I know I will. And to those who have to endure cancer and chemo (probably worse than mine) I will be first in line to buy you many drinks in celebration when you beat the bastard. Cheers!