Well folks, I made it through 30 proton radiation treatments and 30 oral chemotherapy days (12 shy of the 42 because my platelets dropped too low). Treatment was was hard and far more brutal on my body and my mind that I let on or showed. There is only so much you control with Cancer and I again grabbed what I could control and didn’t let go.
I committed to wear decent clothes and get out of my PJ’s, put on a smile, earrings and lipstick and forge through each day with as positive of a mental mindset that I could muster. No matter how I looked on the outside, I was miserable inside with constant nausea, physical pain and utterly exhausted; however I embraced the mantra “FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT” because somehow I had to find humor and levity in the journey or at least attempt to make it all look good.
My medical team who became friends, as well as everyone who became a part of my treatment routine were the foundation of my daily life and were the rocks I leaned upon. They laughed with me, passed me tissues, gave me a shoulder to cry on, listened and never left me feeling alone and appreciated my often insane sense of humor.
Our community of friends, Paul’s colleagues, our children’s teachers, staff, coaches and those we do not know well, have been an endless support network and we hope you know how grateful we all are.
This has been a long road and there is more distance to cover.
I am gaining more energy each day and rarely have nausea. While my short term memory has taken a hit, I am thankful that the mental and physical clouds are lifting as my body no longer has the burden of metabolizing so many medications. My thoughts are clearer, my sleep is good and the physical pain and aches have finally lifted. Fatigue is becoming less of a burden and while I still nap, I can make it through a day without one. I am relishing in a treatment break for the next few weeks, celebrating making it through the first phase, slowly trying to catch up on life and everything put on hold since September. This is my time to begin to heal and our time as a family to start to rebuild.
Next stage is to begin oral chemo again and the timeline will depend on my platelets that have yet to fully recover (hopefully end of February). While I loath the chemo pills and how they make me feel, I fully appreciate and embrace the job they do to fight my cancer and kill the Piece of Shit .
Life is always lived somewhere in the middle and that is where we are trying to get back to; settle into a routine where cancer isn’t dictating the events of our days and adjust to our new life.
We will persevere.
On January 17, Surrounded by friends, family and my entire Emory team, my entire family and I each rang the bell after completing my last treatment. Tears were shed, many hugs were given and received, champagne was drank and thanks were given. It was a momentous day. Thank you all for your support.
We forge on, we persevere and we are grateful you are by our side.
Images courtesy of Liz Stubbs