It’s finally over! June 1, 2016 was the last day that chemo entered my body. (You may join me in a happy dance!) I didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the moment because Levi was pretty sick and needed to see the doctor. Me or Jonathan couldn’t take him, seeing as we were at the Cancer Center, so my Momma took him. As most kids are, he’s not the biggest fan of the doctor and I was worried that he would be upset, and I couldn’t be there to comfort him. Of course he was in the best hands being with his Nanni, but this mommies heart strings were being pulled pretty tight! One of the many things that I have learned over the last few months is that it is ok for someone else to take care of him. It doesn’t have to be all me, and I can see how it has been good for Levi as well.
Despite what was going on in my heart, ringing the bell was exciting! It signifies that part of this journey was over. I have to give a shout out to the nurses and caretakers at The Cancer Center. They are awesome! They have been incredibly supportive and made the whole experience of having to get chemo so much more bearable. As you can see in the video below, I am crying as I am hugging and saying my goodbyes.
My biggest rock that I leaned on through chemotherapy is my husband, my love. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He has had to wear many different hats over the last 5 months and I think he has done an incredible job. He sat with me for every chemo infusion and didn’t complain once about me falling asleep. God couldn’t have blessed me more with anyone else.
When I finally got to Levi, he and my Momma brought me pink roses. My Momma said that Levi was telling everyone in the store that it was his Mommy’s last day of chemo. He was so happy that his mommy was finished. He is ready to have his mommy back.
Finally got home that day and gave Levi his first dose of antibiotics. About 45 minutes later, he comes to me saying that his tummy feels weird. I lift his shirt up to find that he has a rash on his chest and stomach. I start getting concerned that he is having an allergic reaction to his medicine and confirmed it with my sister-in-law. Ugh! Really? This was not what I needed to deal with right now. I was feeling nauseous and my eyes hurt. (One of the side affects is that my eyes would hurt and I would have blurry vision after getting my last four doses of chemo.) I gave him some Benadryl and thankfully his reaction didn’t get any worse.
Recovery from my last chemo treatment was worse than any other I previously had. It was rough! It took a good two and a half weeks to recover. Finally started feeling better from the chemo and then I started running a fever. I had been fighting allergies/sinuses for the last 6 weeks and my body just gave up. I was given antibiotics and within a couple days started to feel much better.
Now that I am starting to feel like my old self, I am finally getting to realize the significance of my last chemo treatment. I am filled with joy that chemotherapy is over! I am so happy that I never have to go through that again. No more feeling like I am getting the flu. No more aches and pains in my bones and joints. No more losing my taste buds. (The worst symptom I struggled with.) No more constant nausea that lasts for days. No more blurry vision. No more being out of breath just walking around my house. Now that I am feeling good, I’m realizing that I felt really bad the last 5 months, and I wonder how did I manage to function through it all.
Jonathan tells me I’m tough. I think God gave me incredible strength to endure it and I was just determined to still be the mommy and wife that I was before chemo. It probably helped me having Levi, because he made me keep going. He had homework, fieldtrips (that he still wants his mommy to go on) and a birthday, and I was not going to let cancer keep those things away from him. I tried very hard to not miss out on most things. Now, there were definite days that I just couldn’t go, but when I felt the slightest bit better, I went. When I found myself doing nothing, those were the times that I would feel the darkness of anxiety start creeping in.
Cancer has made me look at life differently and I treasure each and every moment God gives me. Life goes on even if you have cancer. It could care less that your children get sick, or need help with homework, or there are life events that take place during treatments like birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. I used to think that when you were diagnosed with cancer, your whole world stopped until you were finished with treatments. No, life continues on. You do have a choice with how you handle it. I have made the choice to keep living. You have to figure out what makes you want to fight, keep going on when you can and enjoy the moments.
They are the two reasons I fight.
My by-lateral mastectomy is scheduled for July 12th. (I think I just threw up a little bit thinking about it.) That’s coming up really soon. Can you tell I’m not excited about it? I am struggling with the thoughts of having to say goodbye to Levi before I head to the hospital and to Jonathan before I head to the surgical holding room. I cry every time I think about it.
Radiation has been recommended by my radiology oncologist, Dr. Bendre. When we left that appointment, me and Jonathan were set back a little. I went in there thinking he was going to say no way to radiation and instead gave us a scary list of why to do it. I have two out of the five factors to consider radiation. (My young age and size of tumor.) He also told us that because my cancer responded so well to chemotherapy, there is a higher chance of my cancer returning. Yes, you read that right. Crazy! He also told us that the pathologist that viewed those cancer cells way back in December from my biopsy noted that they appeared to be “angry”. He has also recommended a delayed reconstruction. I should start about a month after my surgery. Not sure yet how long, but he is thinking 6 to 6 1/2 weeks of daily radiation.
Needless to say, this new development will change my reconstruction treatment plan. My plastic surgeon, Dr. Paredes, will not be placing expanders in at the time of the mastectomy. Instead, I will have to wait 1 to 1 1/2 years before I can start proceeding with my reconstruction. I know this is the best route, as it will decrease the chances of any complications, but I’m pretty bummed.
I had a friend send me a quote. “The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God who lives in you.” Man, have I had to remind myself of this a lot lately! It doesn’t matter how many detours I keep facing during this journey, or how many times I am fearful, the God who lives in me will continue to be right with me every step of the way. Psalms 46 : 1-5 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; Does God dwell in you? If not, I encourage you to seek Him out and get to know Him. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. I couldn’t go through this journey with Him.