And so it was over.
My last chemo was on Friday. I walked in knowing there was a possibility to be the end but I was sure they were going to have me go until October. I did not mentally prepare for the end at all.
It’s sort of an emotional roller coaster. I haven’t felt any one thing for a period of time greater than 10 seconds since I walked in the door this morning.
A few people have asked me if I feel excited or elated. The honest answer is that it’s hard to tell. I imagine it sounds really quite negative to not be bouncing all over the place with joy to be done with this thing that’s taken up all of my time and energy for the past 8 months: but as I’ve said before, it really isn’t done.
I don’t have another appointment in the cancer center for 3 weeks. Of course, I’ll be back next week to see my oncopsych (in the “happy place” of the cancer center) and my therapist (in the same hospital but not in the center) – but no blood draws, no sticks, no sickening smell of alcohol swabs.
At the same time, I’m so used to every other Friday actively working toward kicking cancer’s ass. I have a hard time accepting that the chemo has done its job and will probably be a nervous wreck until after my PET scan next month. In some ways it’s more stressful than being diagnosed – I’ve spent so much time, from the 2 months of diagnosis and prep to the 6 months of chemo, with a distinct goal in mind. Now I’m here and it’s out of everyone’s hands.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to not be so sick all the time. Between my last two chemos was basically a straight two weeks of feeling HORRIFICALLY ill. There was even a point last week where I really thought I was going to need to go to the ER because I was having my own private Mexico moment. Anyone who knows what happened in Chiapas gets that – the rest can avoid using their imaginations. My onc told me as I walked out, “I’m so sorry for making you sick one last time”.
I cried all the way leaving chemo as I hugged all of my nurses and the wonderful receptionist. Then cried on the bench outside waiting for the valet to get my car with a woman in radiation for breast cancer (she was wearing a Stupid Cancer bracelet so we started talking). Then cried all the way home.
On to survivorship!
One step down. I never understood the people who get diplomas and a cake for finishing chemo. But at least its over and you get your hair back and start to feel better. I think I was told it takes about 3 weeks for the chemo drugs to get out of your system. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I started to feel better.
Hey Allie, I am so proud of you. I wish I had gotten back in touch with you sooner. I miss all of my Brandeis buddies quite a bit. I wanted to offer you a story to hopefully make the next few months a bit more hopeful. My fiance finished his cancer battle in February and is doing very well. He just recently started his Master’s classes and though it is a struggle, he’s slowly but surely recovered and gotten back to “normal.” His hair still really hasn’t come back yet (lots of thin downy peach fuzz), but other than that things are good. I want you to know that things will get better and I am sure you have such an amazing support system of people that care about you and look up to you for all you have been through. I have so much respect for you and my fiance for the grace and poise you have exhibited through this extremely difficult chapter of your life. Good luck with everything you do and enjoy every moment! You earned it 🙂
Yes, here’s to survivorship Allie. I know you read my post on what happens once treatment ends, so you know that in many ways, your journey towards healing is only really begining now. Know that you aren’t alone and there are many of us in the blogosphere who are there to support you on that journey.
[…] Allie has finished her last round of chemotherapy and is reflecting on what lies ahead for her now, while The Pink Underbelly is reflecting on a whole lotta shouldas in her life. […]
Allie – Welcome to the other side! It’s not necessarily an easy transition as you pick up the pieces and move forward with life, but we are all here to support you. So glad I found your blog through Marie’s weekly round up! Look forward to keeping in touch.
I have a question about your blog. Please email me!
Congratulations. It’s a great time to celebrate and put these horrible infusions behind you!
I reached my two-year anniversary within a week or so of you posting this. Congratulations, and good luck!
[…] years in remission is approaching and I find myself having time to think – not about cancer – but about […]