Two full weeks out from my final radiation treatment, I feel well. Still kind of tired at times. Lately I am in bed between 9 and 10 pm, where I have a standing date with Barnabus Collins via my little Kindle Fire (I still have not read one book on it and my pile(s) of hard covers continues to grow). I usually last through one or two episodes, then it’s lights out. I wake up feeling refreshed, no aches and pains until mid afternoon when I start to walk like I’m 90 years old. A cat nap fixes me right up. All in all, no complaints.
Yesterday we had a celebratory lunch at a restaurant owned by a close family friend. She and her daughter told me how good I looked. That I glowed. My response was “that’s the radiation!”. Later that evening I was blaming my “glow” on hot flashes. I imagine it’s a combination of the two. Or it could be that my new feeling of wellness actually does show on my face. In any event, it was nice to hear. Even if family and friends are contractually obligated to tell you how great you look at the end of cancer treatments.
I have been losing time again. As in I have to look at a calendar several times a week to remember the day of the week, date, etc. I don’t think it’s remnants of chemo brain so much as time this past year, particularly the last two months, has ceased to exist in any meaningful way other than how many more months, weeks, days to the end of treatment and how many days, weeks, and now months, it has been since my sister passed away. I’m trying really hard not to focus on how many years (!) until I can truly say I beat this and be certain.
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.