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The Hardest Part of Living

I guess there’s no reason to pussy-foot around it. My last chemo regimen didn’t work and now they’re seeing a number of aggressive new legions in my lungs and chest. For the first time in 3 years, I’m officially worse off than I was when I started. Only this time I’m not an extremely healthy young man with countless options at my disposal. Instead I’m a weak, crippled man with essentially no effective options left. My doctor once again pitched the idea of doing nothing and letting nature take its course, but I can’t do that. I’d rather my last few months on Earth be hard but at least I’ll go out a fighter. So I’m starting some new regimen, some pill nonsense. Choy has 0 faith in this working and to be honest I’m sorta right there with him.

They gave me a bunch of DNR forms to fill out too, if I felt so inclined. For those of you who didn’t go to EMT school, a DNR is a Do Not Resuscitate order, so if the EMTs present are handed one then they’ll have no choice but to wait and do nothing until everything is over, then simply remove the body. I’m really not ready to be making decisions like that but in a small way I do want to sign them. Make it quick, don’t let me linger. Would rather die of a heart attack on the kitchen floor than get saved, only to live out my last two weeks on a respirator with 4 cracked ribs.

The most difficult part so far has been deciding how I feel. When I first got diagnosed, it seemed so surreal that I didn’t even realize what was happening until I was already getting treated. Now, I’m so painfully aware of what’s happening that I don’t know what to make of it. It’s something you always know will happen, but you never truly believe it will. It’s like a Browns Super Bowl, statistically, it must at some point happen someday but in my heart of hearts I’ll just never think that it will. But now that I’m staring death right in the face, I feel like I could have been spending a lot more time getting ready for this day than I did. I could have taken steps to control my emotions rather than just pretending it would never happen.

The hardest part now is the waiting. Waking up every day knowing that this could be the day it all ends. Knowing that it might all end today but I still have to get up and take a shower and go to work because there’s also a chance that it’s not today. That’s a pretty heavy weight to carry. But here’s the thing, if I am gonna kick the bucket here soon, I shouldn’t spend each day living in fear. That’s a coward’s way out. I need to be enjoying whatever life there is left for me to enjoy. I can’t spend my time moping around the house going “oh woe is me.” What a waste of time. I need to find the strength to remember that yes, I’m sick, and yes, I will probably die soon, but that has been the scenario for the past 3 years anyways. I don’t think I’m any more likely to have a brain aneurysm today than I was to get a fatal infection in my second round of chemo. I live on the edge of life and death, that’s what I do. So I need to put all of this out of my mind, live my life the way I have been, and just let the chips fall as they may.

My doctor described this current chemo treatment as “hitting on a 20 and hoping for blackjack.” I don’t believe in that. I believe every new medicine has a chance to work, you just gotta give it a shot. Keep your chin up, exercise when you can, be as happy as possible. Those are the things that will make or break a treatment. I know I’m well behind the curve, but WHAT IF this is finally the treatment that works? Even for a few months? What if it shrinks everything just enough to give me another year? That’d be pretty cool right? So let’s not say it’s over until it’s over. I can’t, and I won’t. It’s time to go big or go home, and I’m swinging for the fences.

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5 thoughts on “The Hardest Part of Living

  1. You are truly the most amazing person I have ever known for many reasons. Whatever you want Mitch I’m with you. Love you so much
    Aunt Bev

  2. Your strength to tackle the reality of your life and situation is incredible. If half the world looked at their lives with your mindset, the world would be an immensely better place. Keep working at it man. Sending love your way

  3. Keep swinging for the fences, kiddo!
    And my tagline has always been – DNR/DNI does NOT mean “I quit”. It just means, don’t do those painful procedures that will probably not improve my outcome. The form sure as hell doesn’t take away your smile, your joy, or your awesome swing for the fences!
    Your “favorite” L9 Nurse,
    Aly

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