I could not decide which to put in quotes - the last or the treatment. My overwhelmingly positive perspective made me pick treatment. Since diagnosis in November 2016, I have had multiple mammography, ultrasounds, PetScan, Radiation Mapping, a mastectomy / lymph node extraction, 16 weeks of chemotherapy (one treatment every 2 weeks; 4 AC and 4 Taxol) and now almost 7 weeks of radiation. Whew, I am tired just reading that sentence.
My doctors and nurses and radiation techs have been wonderful but the end note is that you do not want to get cancer because it is a big deal - everyone looking at you and watching your hair fall out and how tired you get not to mention the great big unknown of if the treatments worked, if you are lucky enough to never get it again. And that is what it is all about really - even though in December after surgery I was told I had "no evidence of disease" (NED) because it had gotten into 5 out of 25 lymph nodes, there was still going to have to be much more to do to make sure it stayed that way.
For me, my whole life, I have been healthy and it was scary how quickly the switch flipped from healthy as a horse to in treatment for cancer. As much as everyone is wonderful, you are still the patient and as such more of a puzzle for the people trying to keep you well. I have to say I was lucky - I was treated with kindness and like, well, ME, at all of my places of treatment. I was not reduced to just a clump of cells that went haywire and tried to kill me. A lot of that could just be because my personality has always been loud and crazy. I made more jokes while getting chemotherapy than I think most people tell in a lifetime.
As I sit here on the eve of when my "active" treatment stops, I am just relieved, happy and looking forward to balancing my new priorities and to try to move past this time of tough experiences. I will not say it was torture but I will say that sometimes it was hard to just be "me" because I have been beat up, my body has been changed significantly and my sense of certainty in my tomorrows has been called into question. I am still going to be certain of my tomorrows, though, I will not let this disease control my today so therefore, my tomorrows are all open.
And now that I do not have the every two weeks of chemotherapy and the daily radiation, I am just faced with what a twitter friend (Double Whammied) called the F/U appointments (follow up appointments).
I just have to decide how to celebrate tomorrow - my children know that now I am officially "back" - my hair is coming back in and once my skin heals and I can wear my prosthetic again and appear whole again instead of this person who has been walking around with no hair and a lopsided boob area. For my little one particularly, this is important because he has been worried that I would not make it; he still worries about the cancer coming back the poor kid and all I do is reassure him that I have no intention of having that happen and that my doctors feel the same.
I will definitely write more about my children's perspective of this disease and how having it changed some fundamental things for them and their lives along with mine. But for now, I will enjoy being on the precipice of being at the end of my "treatments" during this time between.
The Time Between Is, INC is a 501(c)(3) corporation - help us reach our goals of launching #balanceaftercancer
Search the blog here: