In my last post, I wrote about “classes” of cancer survivorship. A fellow survivor wrote a response on one of our Facebook pages, and I asked her if it would be alright if I posted her response on my blog.
Like me, Judy D’Antonio is a long term cancer survivor. But whereas I consider myself in the 3rd classification of survivorship, Judy considers herself in the 4th and most extreme classification. And Judy is not alone. In fact, I know many others, including like the friend who just passed away recently inspiring my last post.
So without any further commentary, here is Judy D’Antonio’s response to my previous post, in her own words.
“This is a great description of the various stages of survivorship. I was a bit distressed to realize I was in the last group of survivorship, having endured so many of the late effects (3 subsequent cancers, being dependent on oxygen and an AVAPS machine at night due to lungs that no longer are able to rid my body of deadly carbon dioxide plus numerous other late effects )
I still keep fighting though. As hard as it is I still keep fighting. I sometimes wonder what the future holds and how many good years I have left. I’ve been told by various pulmonary doctors that I’ll eventually need to use my AVAPS machine 24/7 due to my lungs inability to work properly. Do I really want to be connected 247 to a full face mask and a machine that breathes for me? I’m near the highest level on my machine and they have suggested I seriously consider having a tracheostomy if my lungs get much worse. But when does it get to be too much?
Already I feel resentful that so many things have been taken away from me. Things that most people take for granted such as being able to swallow their food without choking. Resentful that my body no longer is able to maintain a healthy weight and I must hook myself up every night to a feeding bag through my G tube to provide nutrition. (going to the bathroom at night is a challenge with all these machines to unhook!)
When do you cry uncle and just say that there has to be some quality of life? I worry about this because one of my biggest fears is being incapable of taking care of myself and being dependent on others for my basic needs ( my greatest nightmare happened when I stopped breathing when I was hospitalized and had to be put on a ventilator for several days)
So for now I’m continuing to fight because I still have the energy to, but when it gets to be to much I know I’ll be ok with letting go.”