Today is the first day that facing a screen doesn't sound like an awful idea to my stomach so I'm trying to process some of what I'm feeling. Amanda told me yesterday that her teacher was asking how I was feeling. Amanda responded, "On a scale of 1-10 she feels like a 3 or 4 but if you add her joy in there, that puts her at a 10!" :)
I'm DONE with treatments. What does that even mean??
For sure it hasn't sunk in. Maybe it will in two weeks when its time to go again but we don't have to. Right now I am battle-scared and so very weary. Images float through my head of Union soldiers walking back home after the surrender terms had been signed to end the Civil War. Yes, they had won the war, but it was very costly and their lives would never look the same.
Crazy as it sounds, after fourteen months of living and breathing all of this, I have quite a bit of trepidation about treatments coming to a close. Obviously much of this is out of my control, but actively treating cancer at least gives the illusion of control.
At the beginning of all this, I thought I'd just do the couple things they asked me to do and have all this behind me. What I now know is that I will never hear that I'm cured. They will tell me they can't find any cancer in my body but there is always the possibility that some rogue cells escaped radiation, surgery and chemotherapy and are floating through my system to appear at a later date. I'm not a worrier by nature so I wonder how long I will be looking over my shoulder.
But what I also didn't know at the start of this is that the length of my days would become much less important to me than how I spend my days. I cannot control how long I live but I can control how I live. So I'll need to give fear the boot and put my sitting-duck mentality to rest because that is not a place I can stay. God promises to make beauty from ashes and I am curious to watch the plan He has for me unfold, post-cancer.
On Friday we met with the oncologist. She smiled, shook my hand and said "see you in three months". I'll do scans at three months, six months, a year....
In the meantime, we'll continue to work on healing my surgical wound and at some point the meda-port will have to come out. The visiting nurse will continue to come to the house every other day, as she has since July, and try different things to get the wound healed and resolved. What a gift home care is!
There is so much for me to process and undoubtedly I will over the coming weeks and months. I feel like mourning for all that was lost, all that was taken away. I feel relief that "I made it", when there were several dark nights that I wasn't sure I would. I feel adrift, wondering how to re-enter the world, afraid I won't be able to handle the expectations. I feel scared that cancer is waiting to pounce on me again. My heart breaks for the souls I left at the cancer center, waiting for their next treatment, or worse being turned away because there are no more options. I feel thankful, so very thankful to be at this point. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. I'm grateful for the people who have been with me at the beginning, the end and all places in between.
I'm sorry if this post is not the victory dance you might have been expecting after my last treatment. (I wasn't sure what to expect myself.) The tremendous pain and deep beauty of it all rests heavy on me today. Bear with me while I get back on my feet and figure out which end is up. :)