Thanks to a neutrophil-boosting shot on Monday, my bloods were again good to go as I sat down to my absolute-bloody-final chemo session this morning. I’ve crawled over the finish line of my marathon in a state of disbelief.
If you remember, I’d agreed to 2 extra cycles (6 sessions) before stopping chemo altogether. That’s where I am now.
I’m sick of recently hearing, “just be positive” as if I’m giving up. Really? By my standards, I’ve been a healthy balance of realistic and positive. But then I remember that everyone has their own battle. The difference is I won’t preach garbage phrases like that to anyone unless they need it and ask for it.
I’m choosing to live with quality over longevity and that’s my prerogative. If you disagree, that’s fine but be responsible about the energy you put out there and keep it to yourself. I don’t need to or want to hear it.
Still, I celebrate cautiously because I’m still to be assessed next week. Considering the last tumour marker went up, I’m not expecting corrected levels but you never know. Whatever the result, I’m physically exhausted and I’ve put in more than I thought I’d have to – 6 months turned into 16. That’s almost triple the initial plan! But never mind, it’s in the past and I’m giving myself a pat on the back for staying in it for so long when so many times, all I wanted to do was stop out of exhaustion or despair. My body’s going to get a well-deserved rest now. Another reason for the caution is simply because I’m so tired, my judgement is a little impaired!
So, here’s what I’m celebrating for now. Feel free to clap hands and be happy for me over these, if you’d like:-)
Weekly chicken liver suppers for better blood results
Weekend plans foiled because I’m too we
Unpredictable, debilitating gut cramps
Needles stuck into my chest (erm, except for the CT scan one next week…)
Weekly visits to the chemo suite
Weird skin reactions to the sticky stuff on any kind of plaster
Super-sensitive skin that feels bruised and sunburned all at once
Red, puffy drug face that is my weekend look
Planning around nap times
Bare minimum people contact
Constant dullness from physical exhaustion without even having exerted myself
Counter-intuitive diet where I mustn’t have strong immune-boosting nutrients
I’m looking forward to:
Full sets of eyebrows and eyelashes
All my hair (most of it’s back but because it’s getting longer, only I notice the thinner parts)
Great big belly laughs that don’t tire me out for anything else
Physical activity like walking, rollerblading, dancing, weight training, cycling
A more varied diet without my body rejecting it
Crystal clear thinking and the end of losing my train of thought mid-sentence
Reaching the goals I’ve set for myself
A glass of wine, spicy food when I feel like it without consulting my chemo schedule
A healthy, strong immune system
Practising all the things in “real life” that I’ve learned about myself during this time
Building my best me
Possibly the biggest lesson I’ve learned?
Looking after me (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally) is my job, not anyone else’s. I’ll look after me for you and you look after you for me.
If we all followed this, imagine how much easier it’d be to get along. And life’s lessons continue…