Round 4 - Done with Treatment

I was pretty sure that my last round of chemo would be all about the excitement of being finished, that I would be doing the happy dance from being done, but instead, I was confused and emotional. I still am.

The chemo round went off without a hitch. My body reacted very well and I did not experience any sickness. It was the rest of me that reacted strangely.

I had several visitors and spoke at length to the nurses and staff, as usual, but the alone time I spent in my head. It was a huge realization that since beginning treatment nearly one year ago all I have done is just that, treat. Now, I am not sure what I am supposed to do.

This may sound odd, it does to me, but the reality is that I have learned when and how to put on my cancer hat. How to be tolerant of discomfort and pain, learned patience to navigate through my travels and have resolved that there is no way around treatment. I have learned where to put my energy as well as how to allow myself to have none. I now talk fluent cancer and feel comfortable speaking with any patient, caregiver or provider regarding my new found language. After a year, not much fazes me when it comes to what is needed to be done to my body to treat or test. I have come to grips with knowing that modesty is not always an option and would like to think of myself as having been humbled with all my treatment.

That all being said, what now? Where do I hang my cancer hat? How do I stop speaking cancer and start living my life? How do I walk around with the, you-will-relapse-one-day cloud as my shadow? I had not spent any time in this arena before last week’s hospitalization and I was in unchartered territory.

I still have not processed all my feelings and I feel that this post is reflective of the same. Nonetheless, you have all been with me from the beginning so I felt you deserved to know where I was. I call this my thoughtful period. One where I need to just stay inside my head until I can appropriately and correctly articulate how I feel rather than just throw some random words on paper. I hope to revisit these emotions when I get a handle on them.

From a physical standpoint, I feel surprisingly well, too good in fact. I have an eerie sense that the shoe is going to fall and I am going to wonder if I will make it through the day. But, thus far, that has not been the case. I am not on the couch. I am able to make my own meals, albeit simple cereal or re-heated food. I am not napping through the day and I am amazed at my energy level. But I am tired. I am tired of being sick, tired of being a patient and tired of having cancer. I feel like I need time to rest, a respite from the doctors, appointments, labs, tests, treatments, hospitalizations and drugs.

I have decided not to make any big decisions about my new life and what it should look like for at least six months. I am not even sure there are any big decisions to be made, I just know that I am in no position to be making them at this time.

I do have some goals for the short term. My strength and conditioning class starts in a couple weeks and I will take some private dance lessons after that. I plan to be on the dance floor in a few months. I would like to go on a trip and I think Holland and tulips in the spring are on the agenda. Otherwise, I will continue to sit outside and bask in the amazement of being alive, enjoy my family and friends and be thankful for the Blessings of everyday life.

Lynda Wolters