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"A lot has changed in a year."

“A lot has changed in a year.”

This is what my oncologist at Emory said to me Friday morning. Jaimie and I had driven to Atlanta to fill him in on everything and to get a second opinion on our course of treatment.

“Last year you were excited about your show, now you seem more heavy.”

He wasn’t talking about my weight.

At first his statement depressed me. Truth usually does. I knew my spirit has been heavy. Worried. I just like to believe I’m good at hiding it.

But this coughing and shortness of breath has taken it out of me. Physically and emotionally. I’m doing a lot of things to be deal with it: meditating, praying, letting go of anger and resentment. Yet even with all that, the stress has taken a toll. One that my old oncologist noticed.

One of the ways I’ve been dealing with everything is reminding myself that symptoms are good. I’m not saying they’re fun. Trust me, they’re not. But it is my body letting me know there’s a problem. It is my body forcing me to ask for more tests, more procedures. It’s my body telling a story, and the moral of that story is- help!

Thank God for the symptoms. How many years was that tumor growing in my large intestine without breathing a word? That’s way scarier than coughing in the shower.

My Emory oncologist was not simply commenting on my appearance. He did have good news. He seemed to think the chemo I’m starting tomorrow should provide me relief.

I pressed him for more information.

“I know you can’t predict, but when should I start to feel better? After four or five treatments?”

“You should feel it sooner.”

I felt tears of relief well up inside me. I’m usually nervous about starting a new round of treatment. But I’d trade a few days of feeling sick to be able to inhale fully again any day of the week. He was right about how I looked. Here's hoping he's right about this too.

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