9 long months

Today I wrapped up treatment for breast cancer after 9 long months. I still have to take Tamoxifen for 5 years and have regular followup visits with Oncology, but the biopsies, surgeries, chemo and radiation are behind me.  I celebrated by reading and baking in the sun for 30 minutes until that tiresome little voice in my head (which sounds annoyingly like my med oncologist) reminded me that my skin had been damaged enough for one summer and I get more than enough Vit D in my supplements and diet.   I will celebrate more this evening with a bottle of champagne and this weekend with the family at a concert.  Then it’s back to more fun.  Colonoscopy on Wed (btw, don’t ever mention rectal bleeding to an oncologist, even in an offhand … it only happened once, weeks ago.. kind of way or you WILL get your ass reamed sooner than you had planned), then catching up on routine health care that has kind of been sidelined, a physical, dental visit and eye doctor. By mid-October I should be all tuned up.

Cancer was actually evicted way back in November by my surgeon, but she didn’t get all of her shit out of my body until just now.  Tenants have all the damn rights, don’t they?  It occurred to me today that the last time my body was held hostage for 9 months, I gave birth to my first daughter (number two arrived slightly undercooked at 34 weeks).  This time all I get for my trouble is some scars, gray hair and a little PTSD that I’m certain a weekly infusion of  martinis will clear right up. 

There were lot’s of congratulations and a few hugs from the staff today and even “we’ll miss you”.  I had to say “no offense but I won’t miss you”.  There is a Survivor’s Day planned on Sept 8. I receive notices of these events periodically. I have had zero interest up until now.  I was told I should attend this next one and how nice it would be to see me in “happier” circumstances. Nice sentiment, but the idea of hanging out at the cancer center for anything now that I don’t have to has no appeal. Even if there is “really good food” and balloons.  Maybe I will feel differently when there is a little time and distance between myself and the good folks at the center, but not yet.

Today was also bittersweet. My sister was looking forward to celebrating the end of treatments.  I thought of her all day and missed her terribly. I was pretty sure at 1:12 p.m. I heard a big WOO HOO all the way from Heaven though.

All in all this past year has pretty much been a shit storm but I made it.

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55 comments

  1. Tracey · August 17, 2012

    Congrats on making it. I finished my year and a half of treatments, surgeries, radiation, etc. in July. I know just how you feel, and i agree about going back to the hospital for anything but checkups. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Like

  2. Jane · August 17, 2012

    Well done Hun… This time next year just think we will have had the best year ever… Welcome to the survivors league xx bring on 2013

    Like

  3. Lee Asbell · August 17, 2012

    Shit storm is right. Congrats to you. Don’t be surprised if you have some post-treatment ups and downs. I’m 14 years out from original BC diagnosis and have found the road is long, winding and paved with many wine bottles. All of them empty of course, because I drank ’em!

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · August 17, 2012

      14 years. That’s awesome. I will match your wine bottles with my Absolut bottles 😉

      Like

  4. loopynutter · August 17, 2012

    Woohoo, well done… Welcome to the recovered from big C league!! We are an ever growing crowd! Enjoy the champers… And bring on 2013… We’ve made it!! Xx

    Like

  5. embracing chemo · August 17, 2012

    It can feel a little strange, but wonderful, redefining your life once the daily grind of appointments is over. A new found freedom. The opportunity for something new. I wish you every good thing. Celebrating with you!

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  6. rachaelsladylumps · August 17, 2012

    Smiles and tears for you. So happy you are done with treatments! I wish I found your blog earlier in my diagnosis, but feel grateful that I have been able to watch you battle, and kick some ass, these last few months. Congrats!

    Like

  7. eddiesandcurrents · August 17, 2012

    Yes, a big woo hoo from heaven, and I’ll happily add to that!! Congrats! I did the doc catch-up visits, too. And had a colonoscopy on the books but have postponed it.

    Enjoy the champagne and martinis – and freedom!!

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · August 17, 2012

      I was tempted to cancel, but I did get them to postpone for a week. They wanted to do it this week. Like I was going to go straight from endoscopy to radiation. blech. Either way, I was due in October. I’ll get it out of the way 🙂

      Like

  8. gumbo · August 17, 2012

    I can’t help thinking in music. “All Night Long” for Nine Long Months. Congrats & continued good health & humor! ~ Lionel Ritchie

    Like

  9. lawyermomfashionista · August 18, 2012

    I shall have a glass of wine in your honor, though I wish it were with you in person. During the length if time it takes to consume this very fine Sauvignon Blanc I will give thanks to the Universe for your health and that of my mother, a 20 year survivor. I will also give myself a health reality check and toast the boobie gods who gave me a clean mammogram last Tuesday. Equally important I will send my lI’ve and mental support to those who are still fighting, and vow anew to find a way to help eradicate this disease.
    Well done, Mainely, you are my hero and my inspiration.
    Love always, and farewell fuck you cancer.
    Stella

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · August 18, 2012

      I wish you were too! Thanks Stella ❤
      And I will thank the boobie gods for your clean mammo too.

      Like

  10. healthytatas · August 18, 2012

    Congratulations on your last day of treatment! I had mine last May. Today was a triumph for me too since I went running for the first time since chemotherapy and radiation. And I use the term loosely. I mostly walked, but still, it’s a step toward reclaiming my old life.
    I agree that we Survivor Sisters need to stick together. I fear we are one of the fastest growing groups. And we still don’t know what causes this piece of shit disease.
    Anyway, drink up and be merry. Those of us who have been there too are celebrating with you.

    Like

  11. Lynne (Patricia) Milton · August 18, 2012

    Way to go, girl. Your freedom will be forever. I wish you every happiness!!

    Like

  12. jlpaddock · August 18, 2012

    Congrats! This is a break up we can all cheer for. I’ll be right behind you. 🙂

    Like

  13. prettygirllost · August 18, 2012

    Congrats!!!

    Like

  14. Denise · August 18, 2012

    So happy for you! It is such a road and you did it! You always give me
    strength and courage. Thank you!

    Like

  15. Cindy's Cancers · August 18, 2012

    Yay!! I’m so happy that you’re finishing it and now can get back to doing whatever you want to do. You’ve really had a great attitude this whole time and I think that worked in your favor. This will soon be a bad memory that you’ll hopefully never have to remember again. I don’t usually drink but I think I’m going to have just one to help you celebrate such a wonderful achievement. You kicked it’s ass! Good for you my friend! Good for you!
    All my Love, cin

    Like

  16. gozzygirl · August 18, 2012

    Congrats on the end of treatment. I’m not a martini drinker, but I will have a beer for you.

    Like

  17. NotDownOrOut · August 19, 2012

    Congratulations! Wishing you the best.

    Like

  18. The Presents of Presence · August 19, 2012

    Congratulations to you! Surely your sis is celebrating with you as well! Here comes the next chapter my friend…you did it! So proud of you! xo

    Like

  19. judiththomasberg · August 19, 2012

    A Wooo Hooo for You! A clean bill of health is wonderful, I will drink a tall cold frothing beer in you honor 🙂

    Like

  20. mainelyhopeful · August 19, 2012

    Thanks again, everyone. And cheers to all of you!

    Like

  21. hestertingey · August 20, 2012

    My gin group will be clinking glasses for you too! well done, lots of love

    Like

  22. kymlucas · August 20, 2012

    Weds. is a year since my last chemo, and I’m finally back to a new normal, complete with scars and body parts that may or may not stay numb and/or tender for a long time to come. When all’s said and done however, I come back to my new mantra, “Just happy to be here.”
    As I write this, I have a cousin who just finished treatment, a good friend who is in the middle of chemo for ovarian cancer, and another friend who just underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy on Thurs. Sadly, there will always be someone, won’t there? But I’m so very glad you’re done with it.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · August 20, 2012

      Thank you and congrats on being a full year out from treatment. I hope your cousin and friends are celebrating the end of successful treatment very soon.

      Like

      • kymlucas · August 21, 2012

        Thanks. And hoping that it won’t be long before your treatment all seems like a distant memory.

        Like

  23. Brice G. Harris · August 21, 2012

    Susan, having had three female cousins down in Gainesville, FL deal with breast cancer (middle sister) and Hodgkins disease (the youngest), and more recently the oldest also with early breast cancer which was quicklky eradicated, I have come to “acknowledge” what the three of them have dealt with; esppecially having lost their oldes sister at the young age of 49 thirteen years ago.. Please note that I said the word, “acknowledge” and not the word,”know”. As there is no way one can truly experience what you and so many other men/women have had to go through. I wish you both continued strength (and God knows you have shown it) and everlasting contentment to follow. You are a beacon of light for others to follow, and an inspiration others to continue to persevere. Upon returning back to the states from Kosovo, I am asking Barbie to make an appointment for a preventive medical colonoscopy examination. I sure hope they still give an i.v. “Verced” drip for that procedure (?)….LOL, I know, what a wuss I am…Congrats once again, and “rock steady” !!…Brice

    Like

  24. Susan · August 21, 2012

    I am actually going to participate in a Survivors Parade but it is held in downtown Calgary not at the clinic. Will post after it is done. Congrats on getting through this year, I know how awesome that feels!

    Like

  25. Knot Telling · August 23, 2012

    Congratulations on “graduation”!

    Like

  26. Aum Nicol · August 30, 2012

    I am sooo happy to know there is an end to the journey. I am crying right now so scared of what journey you began, I have to now. Please stay with me.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · August 30, 2012

      I’ll be following along and rooting for you all the way. Courage, Aum. You can do this.

      Like

  27. Acacia · September 2, 2012

    Congratulations! I remember how happy I was when my treatment ended, but I never liked the term “survivor.” I think we’re more like veterans, coming out of it with scars and scary memories. I wish you nothing but health and happiness and hope that this is the end of your experiences with cancer EVER!

    Like

  28. Rick Powell · September 15, 2012

    Reblogged this on RIGHT FIGHTS CANCER and commented:
    I appreciate her mentioning the therapeutic benefits of alcohol. 🙂

    Like

  29. erinambrose · September 19, 2012

    Congratulations on finishing your treatments!! It is such long hard road and you are done!!! I finished chemo but still have surgery and then possible radiation so I look to you and cheer!!!

    Like

  30. Breast Cancer Isn't Fluffy and Pink · September 19, 2012

    I’m almost there – October 5th marks the end of my 14 month treatment regimen of 5 months of chemo 6 1/2 weeks of radiation and 52 weeks of Herceptin. Glad you made it through your shitstorm. I won’t miss the chemo room or the staff where I go – although they have been awesome, I never want to see them again!

    Like

  31. clumsythinker · September 21, 2012

    Looks like we finished up about the same time 🙂 congrats! So good to hear some good news from another survivor.

    Like

  32. lightscanceraction · September 22, 2012

    I will definitely be going back and reading more of your blog! I am just starting this journey (first treatment on Wednesday) and it’s so encouraging to hear of women who make it through, as they are more and more. I wish you peace, serenity, health and normalcy!

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · September 22, 2012

      Good luck with your treatments. I hope you have the easiest course possible 🙂

      Like

  33. Trina Schilling · October 3, 2012

    Smiling in honor of you.

    Like

  34. surviveber · October 4, 2012

    Congratulations! Your blog is amazing and incredibly inspiring. I’m just about to start my tango with the devil in about a week. Hopefully I keep my humor through the next 16 weeks. I’ll keep you and the other amazing cancer ass kickers in mind through this next part of my battle!

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · October 4, 2012

      Thank you 🙂 I will follow along with your journey. Believe it or not, you will get to the other side. A sense of humor helps for sure.

      Like

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