What did I ingest for 6 months?

After taking 784 oral chemotherapy pills and completing the treatment plan two days ago, I can't help but wonder what exactly I put into my body? The bottle has a label on it. It reads: "Do not touch without gloves." I wore winter gloves whenever taking them, saving my fingertips from blistering. But, I can't help but cringe at the thought that whatever I had ingested damaged my internal organs. 

So, I started researching. I needed to know. 

To my utter surprise, I discovered that chemotherapy is a byproduct of World War II. It’s origins? Mustard gas. Naval officers that came into contact with this gas suffered toxic reactions within their bone marrow. Two Yale researchers discovered that when this chemical agent was used during the war, cells stopped multiplying. Thus, putting one and one together they realized that they could use it to stop the multiplication of cancerous cells. Soon after this discovery, nitrogen was added to the mustard gas and used to fight lymphoma.

Slowly like the domino effect, research continued, more hazardous chemicals were added and subtracted from the mustard gas cocktail to halt the duplication of cancer cells.

Unfortunately, that’s not all it stopped.  Toxic chemicals also damage the kidneys, liver, gall-bladder, and healthy blood cells, to name a few.  As it’s released into your body, it drains one of all strength and leaves one feeling limp and hollow.  The side effects are four pages long! 

Chemotherapy alone didn’t work for all patients, thus the introduction of radiation, and surgery.  The surgery would remove the tumor, the radiation would burn it to a crisp, and the chemotherapy would kill what was left behind, all in the hope that said patient didn’t die first.

There was a 37 year old diagnosed with colon cancer that lived across the street from me. She went through the same treatment plan I did, but unfortunately she didn’t make it. Although I didn’t know her well, a friend of mine did.  I learned about her battle and couldn’t help but wonder why she died if we were both going through similar plans, and using the same poisons?  Why did I live? How was any of this fair? Was it because I had more of a support network? Was it my diet? Was it the exercise? I wish I could have helped her, but alas I was stuck in the darkness when she was fighting her own demons.

Yes, the 6-month treatment is over, but the scars are still raw, the questions still raging, and the fears still real. I can’t just turn it off, just like a soldier who returns from active duty can’t help but bring back post-traumatic baggage. 

Fortunately, I have decided to only work half time next year as I attempt to heal the emotional scars, during which time I will continue to blog about the healing process and attempt to publish my book.

I am saddened when I think of all the lives lost yearly to cancer, but also know that they only way I can continue to help others is by documenting this journey, both during the treatment plan and afterwards. For it is in the documentation that maybe, just maybe, someone else will find the strength to fight and live.  

For a more detailed explanation, feel free to explore the following site

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