Mentally it has been a few good days at home. When I left the hospital last Thursday I felt something transformational, like a weight off my shoulders or some line crossed underneath my feet. My confidence level ticked up a notch and I now feel really good about my chances from here on out. Statistically I have moved into a select subset of those fighting late-stage melanoma of which a majority expects positive long-term response. It’s the first time since this fight started that I’m on the business side of 50% - and it feels very good to be here.
Although "here" can be a bit lonely as I do not have many friends who are battling cancer. This is probably because of the distance I am traveling to receive my treatment, or more honestly, my reluctance to reach out to other survivors. One friend I do have is a young woman with three small children, a job and stage 4 melanoma very much like mine. Her blog inspired mine and, although we've never met, we e-mail at length about the many tough and the sometimes humorous sides of facing cancer. We wrestle with many of the same treatment decisions, sometimes with the same medical teams. We also confide some darker thoughts to each other about dealing with oblivious healthy people and self-centered care givers, cancer insider stuff. On Thursday, as I skipped out of the front doors of MD Anderson resplendent in my newfound confidence, on the other side of Texas my friend lost her battle with melanoma. Irrespective of my oft-quoted Mr. Churchill, failure is indeed sometimes fatal.