June 5th represents a couple things for me – the day my youngest was born and the my last day of chemo – two fairly significant things in my life to date. I still can’t believe it’s been one year – it has been ONE FREAKING YEAR since my last chemo treatment!!!
Some days it seems so long ago, and others it seems like I just walked out the door. Jaxson was turning 4, now turning 5, and while Olivia was off to swim team practice with my mom. My dad went with me to the hospital, and we went about things just like normal, but what I thought the last treatment was going to feel like wasn’t what I’d expected at all.
The words from my nurses went from your “last treatment” to your “last scheduled treatment”…wait, what??? The thought had never crossed my mind that I may actually have to do this again. We went through the entire process just like we had in the past – I did all the necessary things I would have done had I been coming back for another treatment. I think in my mind I saw myself walking out of there with nothing – no post medication, no “boyfriend” attached to my arm (Neulasta), I’d just feel like crap and figure out how to deal with it. So, because of those words and because we were proceeding like we had all the other times, just in case I’d need another round, I didn’t ring the bell…I didn’t want to, I was afraid I jinx myself.
Wait, you didn’t ring the bell?? No, I didn’t. While most of you have celebrations from your last day of treatment, I walked out feeling like poo (I did not tolerate carbo/taxol really well), got in the car and assumed my position in my chair, praying the nausea wouldn’t be quite as bad this time around.
“But I don’t understand, why you didn’t, you’d finished your scheduled treatment, you made it to the finish line” – yes, I had in fact done all of these things. But, the fearless person I may come across as, wasn’t so fearless in this moment. I was scared to death that if I did anything symbolizing I wouldn’t be having any additional treatments, I would ruin everything and my labs and post chemo scans wouldn’t come back good. I wasn’t in a place to “celebrate” finishing something that was scheduled – I hadn’t gotten to the place where you celebrate everything…let me repeat that, you celebrate EVERY(!) SINGLE (!) milestone that is a completing something or good news, regardless of what may still be in front of you.
One year later I can tell you that I would have rang the bell that day, instead of waiting until I got the all clear from my scans and labs. I would have smiled as I walked out of the room that day, knowing that I’d accomplished the huge task Dr. Hagemann had given me – I made it, I completed all 6 rounds of treatment, on time, without too many obstacles (despite feeling awful the majority of the time), with the kids still all in one piece. You see, I hadn’t just made it, we’d all made it – this wasn’t just a challenge for me, it was a challenge for them too. We’d proven that life may throw you something totally unfair, but with the support of our friends and family we were able to make it through with flying colors, because hard crappy things can be done!
Towards the end of July I’ll have my one year N.E.D. appointment – it’s kinda crazy to look back and think about all that has happened since June 5, 2017 and now. I’ve gone and hiked miles upon miles when there were some days I could barely make it down my hallway to the bathroom. My hair is growing back (yes, I just cut off quite a bit if you’s noticed – my hair is growing back super strange and is very coarse and I still had some dead parts). I’m back at work – started part time and then gradually made my way to full time. And as time has passed, routines are getting back in place. And yes, I still have days where I cry thinking about all that happened during those 6 rounds of chemo when I think back – it’s what kept me alive, but it wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done. In fact, it was down right terrifying.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY J-man!!!