I completed my sixth and final chemotherapy treatment five weeks ago.  The relief I have been hoping for has yet to arrive.

Lesson #7

Be realistic about your expectations.

My oncologist is very pleased with my progress, and my next appointment with him is in two months.  That is when we will schedule the MRI to determine the ultimate effectiveness of the chemo.

In the meantime, I’m experiencing ‘chemo withdrawal.’

  • I gained 30 pounds during the 6 months of chemo, and I retain it as water – edema – noticeable as an inner tube around my waist, a sack of water in my groin that extends even lower, a puffy face, and clown feet and hands.  It ain’t pretty.  I liken myself to a balloon animal. My friend Dwight calls me Popeye because my forearms, hands, and face are swollen with water. Actually, I am a bit like Popeye who once said, “I ain’t no doctor, but I’m losin’ me patients.”
  • My broken femur has healed, but my left artificial hip still bothers me, and I continue walking with a cane.
  • I still experience heavy fatigue, which limits exercise, which doesn’t help the weight gain or the hip and leg recovery.
  • I’m waiting for my hair to grow back, but that is of little concern compared to the other issues.

Mrs. tVM, my family, and Dwight tell me every day that it will take time, and that these things will resolve themselves the further we get away from the final chemo infusion.  I know that, but I remember one thing Dr. Arce-Lara told me last week.  He was very positive and upbeat, but he did comment, “You will recover, but you will not be the same person you were before cancer.”  It is difficult for me to interpret that statement with any degree of certainty.

Two things remain most important to me.  I think I’m a funny guy, and I want to maintain my sense of humor.  I have deep faith and it is very important that I hold tightly to it and not allow this experience to dampen it.  So far, so good on both those fronts.

Lesson #7

Be realistic about your expectations.

As our patience and resolve are tested through the course of our chemotherapy, so too is it tested in the weeks and months afterward.  Relief will not come overnight.  Stay positive and keep the faith.

Hope is the deep orientation of the human soul that can be held at the darkest times.

VACLAV HAVEL, 1936-2011, Czech statesman, author, poet, playwright, former dissident, and last president of Czechoslovakia.

When Ted Lasso asks his boss, Rebecca, “Am I a mess?” she answers, “Of course you are, that’s why we get along.”  Ted raises his eyebrows and quips back, “I’m a work in progmess.”  That’s me, I’m a work in progmess.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Oh my gosh dear Gene, I think and pray for you often. You got this. . And btw, I love Ted Lasso and we all are indeed, a work in progmess. Love you all big!

  2. Gene, you are an inspiration! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… ♥️

  3. Thanks for the Update, Gene !! Even though you’re NOT the Same as you were Before Chemo….We’re glad to hear you’re doing as okay as time, and circumstance allows !! Retaining your FAITH is definitely Important, but so is retaining your sense of Humor, and you’ve got Both of Those !!
    So keep counting your Blessings, and ask for Help with the rest !! WE LOVE YOU TONS and YOU’RE IN OUR PRAYERS EVERY DAY !!

  4. The doctor said you will not be the same person you were before cancer. Physically the chemo may cause some neuropathy etc but spiritually and mentally you will reach a new plateau. Ask my wife, Deb, who is now eleven years cancer free and is so in tune with other people, especially cancer patients. She is awesome.

    1. Indeed, Deb is awesome, Joe. It is people like her who share their experiences and make the journey more tolerable for people like me.