Content warning: this one goes pretty macabre and dark.
I have this tendency when I'm getting tired of starting to beat myself up and feel down about myself. This can manifest itself into negative self-talk and internet searches. Some of these internet searches are related to my cancer. Yes, I know, don't look up symptoms or other medical things on the internet, but I have never claimed to be a rational person when I'm tired.
One of those searches I've repeatedly done is the survival rate of stage IV rectal cancer patients. I know, I should probably search on cat memes instead but see above re: not a rational person when tired. For those who haven't done such macabre searches the survival rates for rectal cancer are reported as the number of folks that survive more than five years after their diagnosis. As you can imagine, the higher the stage, the lower the number. The numbers I've seen range anywhere from 14-17% survival rate. Now, I'm not one to limit myself by odds (which is why I'm terrible at gambling and strategy games) but I do know that rolling a one-hundred sided die and getting 17 or lower is pretty rare. This statistic isn't new to me. When I first got my diagnosis I confronted this statistic head-on in my early searches. But what's different is I'm now one and a half years into my journey. I still feel fine, minus some occasional discomfort. So, while I'm looking at that statistic I'm thinking about how I can beat it. You tend to do that when your life literally depends on it.
I also did some searches on what happens with liver cancer. The main concern now isn't the rectal cancer but the cancer that's hanging out in my liver. Apparently there's a nice juicy vein that connects the colon with the liver, and that's where the cancer cells rode the rails to get to the promised liver. The liver does regenerate but it's not as much of a renewable resource as one might like. It's also a giant filter so as it degrades more toxins (actual toxins, not the "I'm getting a colon cleanse" bullshit toxins) build up in the body and cause other systems to get overloaded. That's not a fun thought, to put it mildly.
I then did a search on cancer and minimalism. As my disease has progressed I've found myself becoming more and more focused. I found an article on Cancer and Minimalism that resonated with me. The author had a longer period of despair according to the article, but managed to find the Netflix Minimalism Documentary in 2017 and found solace with minimalism. I have to say that minimalism has helped me with maintaining focus and picking apart what is truly necessary in my life. I've carved out a lot of things and continue to carve and cut and trim on a daily basis. Even now I'm starting to renegotiate my commitments and things that I want to keep.
I'm not posting this in the hopes of getting pity or head-pats for being brave. Cancer is a complex disease and our relationship with it and outrunning our eventual mortality is going to have dips and peaks.
I've always felt somewhat lucky and anomalous. I keep the hope in my heart that I will be able to beat the odds. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm in a race against time and my own constitution. I need to bring more focus into my life and allow the non-essential to fade away.
One thing I probably should do is just go to bed when I'm tired. That would be an easy change to make. But again, see above re: irrational when tired.