It was very recently brought to my attention that this blog has been languishing lately, and in actual fact it has been a fairly full month since I last posted. So here I am.
I started radiation near the end of April and was set up for five weeks (26 treatments). I have seven more to go. On Friday, May 31, I will receive my (hopefully) final cancer treatment. Assuming this did the trick and it doesn’t come back (and I am going to assume that) I will be done. My hair is growing out, my energy levels can only get better, summer heat has arrived, we are ready to move on.
It’s been a [fill in the blank, not necessarily profane] year. So many blessings have come our way and come out of everything. So many trials and so much stress and exhaustion and suffering of various kinds have come our way. The EOB’s alone have killed a few trees. I am told the chemo did not actually kill brain cells, but it sure feels like it when I try to remember a name or a detail or if I actually went to radiation this morning (true story, that happened last night).
So, how AM I doing? Tired, still. Strangely less so for the past week than 2-3 weeks ago; the tiredness is not a sharp drop as it was following each chemo treatment, but rather a slow decline over the course of treatment. Maybe it’s just hard to tell the difference anymore. My skin is a bit pink where the treatment field lands, maybe a little more sensitive than normal, but not bad. My throat is a bit scratchy/dry, but not actually sore, and cough drops help. The daily slog out to the hospital is, well, a slog, but it has become fairly routine. I will be glad when it is over.
I have had body issues with radiation that I did not have with chemo. To receive chemo, I would go to the infusion center with Chris or my mom or someone, and I would sit in a comfy chair and put my feet up and be offered snacks and a drink (non-alcoholic, sadly). The nurse would come, and even if they had to gown up in hazmat to give the three manual-push chemo drugs, we could still chat and the nurses were cheerful and…and. For radiation I put on a gown and lay on a hard table with my arms over my head and I chat with the nurses for a few minutes while they move my body into position, and then they leave and I stay in a cool, sealed room, on a hard table, with lasers lining me up and a machine all around me. And the machine buzzes a few times, moves around from back to front, buzzes a couple more times. And the nurses come back in, lower the table, I lower my arms, and it’s done for the day. I had a very strong emotional reaction during and after the first treatment, feeling more like just a body getting treated than a person than I ever had before, even when my three medical divisions were wrangling over when, where, how, and why I would give birth (what and who were never in question, thankfully). That reaction has faded somewhat but is still in the back of my mind every time I walk into the treatment room.
I also had a moment last week of looking in the mirror and seeing shorn hair, scars, and extra weight. I felt a twinge of despair, and then that made me mad enough at all of it to decide to be proud of what this body has endured and accomplished and managed in the last nearly 15 months. Bodily vanity has never, even through three full rounds of pregnancy and post-partum time, been much of a struggle for me–I might, in fact, have somewhat too little of it–so that moment caught me off guard. I left it behind relatively quickly, and I think did so in a way that strengthened me against future incursions, but it was disconcerting.
Thank you to all of you who have travelled this road with me, who have read this blog and prayed and helped in countless ways. It is almost over, and it is truth to say that WE are almost there. I may have felt quite alone at certain points, but I always knew that I wasn’t.
And, speaking of never being alone and journeying surrounded by love, do you all know that I have the most amazing husband in the whole wide world? And that we have fantastic, incomparable, unspeakably wonderful parents? I do. 🙂