Fuck yes! Yes, yes, yes. YEEEES!!!!!! I’m out of my mind happy and yet tired and weary. This is surreal and I actually don’t think anyone who hasn’t been in this situation can understand what it feels like. I’ve done the entire six series of chemotherapy prescribed to me in April. But now it’s done. Over. I’m so relieved. It’s been such a long ride, it was *the* Summer of Chemo. But looking back on all the pictures I only feel happyness; not the least because I chose to wear as colorful clothes as possible. But also how that reflects where my focus has been, is on the bright side of life, not the dark one. At no point in this treatment have I woke up, looked myself in the mirror and thought to myself that I looked ill. Of course there have many difficult days, but not all of them. Today I’m celebrating, as much as one can when you just got a shot of poison. It’s a walk down memory lane, it might only have been a little over four months, but in some ways it has surely been the longest period of my life.
The three first pictures represent three cycles or half of the treatment in terms of time. The first kind of chemotherapy is given every third week, aka one cycle, and it’s the one they call the “red devil”. Needless to say, I was scared shitless before the first infusion; I didn’t know what to expect at all. It turned out pretty ok, so this was essentially the second time I got worked up for nothing. The first time was my surgery and that has turned out good. This did too and it just shows that worrying is a waste of time. I really try to keep that mindset on everything I’m about to do. Potentially I have many years ahead of me and sitting around thinking of what might happen isn’t going to be a good life.
On the fourth cycle, it was time to move over to another substance, derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. Once again I couldn’t help but to be a little nervous to see how the body would react to this new kind of poison. It didn’t help that you had to stay for observation for six hours the first time, just in case you’d have a bad reaction to the medicine. In addition to the chemo I’m also receiving herceptin, a relatively new product that shuts down receptors on the cancer cells (should there be any left in my body by now) and this was also given for the first time in this cycle. This also came with it’s own set of side effects that was scary enough in itself. (By now I think I’ve learned to not read about the side effects any more. It’s too scary) In the end this worked out fine too. You see what the lesson here is? Stop worrying!
By the time I came to the fifth cycle the chemotherapy was really getting to me. This was absolutely the most stressful time, especially psychologically. It required a lot of mental work for me and my family to keep focus on good things. I was also getting more and more side effects that made me feel worn down. Luckily I’ve had a lot of good friends and close relatives that have been there for me and a lot of the time I have talked my way out of this. I have spent the good days doing fun things and tried to remember that the bad days are not there all of the time, even though it’s easy to feel that way when you actually have a bad day. And in the end time will pass no matter how you feel.
And now I’ve finished the last cycle. I didn’t get full dose the last three times, but I’ve managed to finish it. This last week has been a roller-coaster ride indeed; now the whole family is ready to celebrate. I’m so lucky to be able to close this chapter of my life, stronger than ever, hoping to never return. Bottom line, (breast cancer) chemotherapy isn’t the end of the world. It’s doable, manageable or tolerable at least. I’m very lucky that my treatment is done now. I know of some friends who aren’t that lucky, they need to keep on taking the medicine, because their cancer has spread. This is a heartfelt admiration and support for all of those that need to keep on going and do so, because they have to. You have inspired me greatly with your attitudes. I’m grateful that I can now say I’m done, because that is nothing to be taken for granted. It’s a great privilege.