Shaken stirred and spurred

My last Lenalinomide tablet

It’s just over six months now since I started my cancer treatment. Six months, half a year! It has gone by really fast. From fevers, joint pain, itching, fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, skin peeling, aches and a few pains now and then. I’ve been grateful for a good night’s sleep and for the day that has gone by without any incidences. And yes, I still have my hair! My ‘prayer’ at the beginning of this journey, is still them same today, ‘Chemo please be good to me.’ And it has been good to me. There has been no nausea nor vomiting nor lack of appetite. Thanks to the latter and steroids, my waist is now a little wider, I call it my mid-riff crisis.

I have cancer, but this illness will not define me. I’m still Kev, Kevo, Uncle Kevo, K or Mwachiro. There are many layers to me, and this happens to be a new layer that I have to contend with. I’ve learnt a lot about myeloma and consequently about myself too. I’ve been given new eyes to myself. Having cancer has shaken me, but it has given me new back, and I’m defending my corner even more. I am less fearful but scared of the uncertainty that lays ahead. There is respect for this disease, but there is gratitude for what it has shown me. It’s not easy, though, cancer sucks! My body is taking a beating, even though externally I feel fine. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it does get turbulent. There are times when the fatigue hits, all I want to do is shut out the world and sleep. I joke that the cancer is giving me a reminder that there is battle still raging in my body.

My body does feel stronger as it is responding well to the treatment, but it’s not 100% yet. I’m itching to lift weights, to hit the tarmac and criss-cross this city alone and/or with the Swaras. I want to feel the joy and pain, pain and joy-pain, joy and satisfaction of running for 2–3 hours again. I miss that, lots, and it does make me angry on occasion. But I’ve got to be patient and sensible. However, I’m pleased as Punch that I am back in the gym, and yet it is bittersweet because I look longingly at the fixed weight machines, which parade themselves like forbidden fruit. Soon. I’ve got to be patient and sensible.

It has been lonesome. Lonesome because I haven’t met anyone here in Kenya around my age who is also suffering from multiple myeloma. Most myeloma patients are much older than me. Yes, there are online groups, but having someone occasionally whose eyes you can see as they share their journey with the disease offers something. Fortunately, I recently was invited to be part of a group of men who are either cancer survivors or patients. That was something. For once I was with other jamaas who were freely talking about their disease. Our respective cancers were as varied as our demographic, and I often found myself nodding in agreement, sharing glances, smiling, laughing and quietly reflecting. Our malady made us kindred. Iron sharpens iron, and from then this journey ceased to be less lonesome anymore. Our new normal.

My new normal, has shown me kindness in a way that I would not have imagined, and it has come from all quarters, from home and away. I admit I struggled with it at first, because I had to admit to the fact that I was in need. I can get fiercely independent, family and friends can attest to that. I have been chided for that and been encouraged to receive. Like I said I’m learning.

I’ve got four more injections to go, and I’m done with my daily tablets. The passage to India draws closer where the next phase of the treatment will commence. I’ll admit I’m a little anxious, this is more new territory for me, but fortunately, I have the last six months as arsenal.

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