The drug-induced fatigue that I’m living with is getting me down, as it limits both my mental and physical activity...but it hasn’t stopped me from lacing up my running shoes. It’s a contradiction that I can run a few miles in the morning, yet find it difficult to carry on a serious conversation in the afternoon. As much as I enjoy the company of friends, it’s hard to be around others who are just out living their lives. I’m in my own little world these days. Fortunately, running and gardening give my days some structure and pleasure. They also seem to burn up what little energy I have.
I’m into the fifth consecutive week of interferon shots since my last layoff (three shots a week). That’s the longest stretch I’ve gone without running into trouble with my white blood cell count. I’m also about a third of the way through the 48-week regimen of what’s known as the Kirkwood protocol. It’s safe to say I won’t be doing this for 36 more weeks if I continue to feel the way I do today. Some people on interferon continue to work, and/or care for small children, yet I can barely make it through the day. It’s frustrating. This isn’t getting any easier, as I thought it might.
I’m also sobered today by the news that a friend with stage IV melanoma has been told by his oncologist that his metastatic cancer has advanced and that the chemo he’s been on isn’t working. His doc told him to go home and “enjoy your days”—which is code language we all understand. The two of us hang out some, and buck each other up. We’re going out for coffee and donuts tomorrow. I’ve also been exchanging emails with a guy in New York who was diagnosed with stage III melanoma and who made it through a full year of interferon. It helps to have someone to share the nitty-gritty of being treated for this type of cancer. Most people can’t handle those details.
I’ll be testing myself on Sunday when I run in a 10k race around the OSU campus. My PR at this distance is 41 minutes, but on this occasion, I’m shooting for an even hour. I won’t be any threat to win my age class.