Create your own sunshine, live each moment like it's your last, and never take one minute of your life for granted. These are all the things I've learned over the last 6 months. Your life can throw you curve balls and in those moments you have a choice...you can choose happiness. I choose happiness.
Today was my 16th and final chemo treatment. It has been a day full of every emotion possible. I woke up with adrenaline running through my body with a childlike excitement. All I could think is, this is it! How is today October 3rd? The day I have been looking forward to for almost 6 months. A day that seemed so far off into the distance that I wasn't sure it would ever get here. Today is the last time my Wednesday will be consumed with being hooked up to an IV receiving a cocktail that will make me ill and having the distinct reminder that I have cancer. Today is also the last day that I will get to see the fellow patients who are also in my shoes, fighting this same fight. Sharing in our first moments of learning the terrible news and how we felt and where we are today, how many treatments are left, what's next...complaining about how crappy food tastes and the aches and pains that only we understand, giving each other props for getting the damn shot that hurts so bad without flinching... how we manage our daily lives, work for some, me having a newborn at home, sick relatives, etc. Having to pretend that I'm a tough cookie that doesn't mind the sticks, pokes, blood and IV bags that really make me so queasy that inside I want to scream or giggle to the point I'm out of control because I HATE it! The last time I will chat with the wonderful nurses who are so incredible, I will truly miss them...Jenna, Peggy, Debbie, Karyn, Deana thank you for taking such good care of me. To the sweet ladies working the front desk and taking my vitals and CBCs, scheduling my many appointments every week, I will miss you! Thank you to my wonderful Doctor Brian Mannion for making me better and for being patient with me. The last time, I will get to have my weekly rituals with my mom. A day spent eating all the jelly bellies I want. The last day I will have to put the smile on my face and act like my new "job" is getting chemotherapy. I actually said to my mom at breakfast, "when we get finished with work can we stop by Kohl's?" I guess it has been my way of making the treatment a priority and responsibility, yet again taking the emotion out of it. But all in all, I DID IT! I'm so proud of myself for putting one foot in front of the other and making it through the hardest thing I will ever have to do. Ever. I'm so grateful to my family and friends for your support. Without my husband, mom, dad, Lansing, siblings, family and friends I couldn't have done this...no way could I have done this without your constant love and support, prayers, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Thank you just doesn't seem like enough. THANK YOU!
Because it was my last day, I did expect everything to be a smooth as possible. Last week my numbers (blood counts) were the best they've been and I didn't even have to get the nepogen shot (immunity booster)...today, by numbers were lower than they've ever been and I had to get the shot and go back tomorrow for another one. It's been really difficult the last week. I can tell my body is more tired than I've ever felt before. I feel sick, consistently, good days weren't such a thing last week, so with these dumb shots (although I know the purpose is good) make me feel terrible and I've never had to do two back to back. I guess it wouldn't be right to go out without a bang right? So now I have to recover, get back to being ME! Healthy me. Next up, double mastectomy. Not scheduled yet, will be before the end of year for certain, but that's all I know for now. As much as I want to scream from my rooftop that I am a tough ass and completed 16 rounds of chemo while pregnant, I am scared out of my mind that it's over. I'm terrified I'm going to turn into this freak who is worried every second of every day that it's going to come back. It's the strangest thing that while you are getting treatment you have this comfort that you are kicking the cancer, but once it's finished, you're out there on your own. The sane, practical part of my brain knows that I have an excellent team of oncologists that are going to see me through this for the rest of my life, but the irrational, scared little girl is thinking otherwise. I'll get through this, it's just strange to me that I'm feeling the whole array of emotions today. I can't even tell you how many times since I've been home today that I've broke out in tears, happy tears I think. Tears of relief, tears of fear....maybe it's just the release of me hypothetically holding my breathe for what feels like an eternity. Whatever it is, it's finished...I'm done. I've finished my first MAJOR phase of kicking cancer's ass and it feels good....real good.
Here's to Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Cheers! There's so many articles, tv shows, walks, products supporting the cause. It's really comforting to see all the pink and awareness especially during this time. One thing that I read last night explained that doing the typical "formal" breast exam isn't necessary BUT you should KNOW and be familiar with the physical anatomy of your breast, your body in general. If you know yourself, you'll know if and when something requires your attention and to seek help from a doctor. Please love yourself, know yourself and take care of yourself!