Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Radiation Therapy 30 of 30

My cancer journey has come to an end. I have some loose ends to tie, like meeting with a few doctors, but really, it's over. I don't believe it's hit me yet. I'm sure the realisation will settle in when I don't have to rush to get the children fed and ready for bed (tomorrow), before we leave them with the babysitter, for radiation (I had requested evening appointments).

I had so many unanswered questions when I stepped into the world of breast cancer. I'll have a go at answering them.

I am not really sure that I want to go on the journey and well, if this is a journey what is my destination?
Easy. I want to arrive at a place of good health. It is in this place that I will be able enjoy my life with the husband, to see my children grow up, and to not take anything for granted. I have also come to understand that I am not in control. This is not a place that I would have liked to have visited at anytime. I'm here now though. And, it's ok.

What stations will I stop at?
I guess this is really referring to moments that I will not forget.
  • Breast checks (far too many)
  • Freaking out thinking that one of the machines was going to crush me (bone scan)
  • Anxiety attack just before the CT Scan (in a busy waiting room)
  • Fighting back nerves before the lumpectomy
  • The two ladies I chatted with in Ward 4D (wish I exchanged contact details with them)
  • The sensation of the (grooved) drain being pulled out of my breast
  • Feeling very down after the lumpectomy
  • Absolute relief when I was told of my results (celebrated with gluten-filled donuts)
  • Having a gluten-party (will never do that again)
  • Crushing fear
  • Anxiety attack in the chemo chair
  • The number of times my veins "wiggled" away from the chemo cannula
  • Hair loss hurt
  • Beautiful ladies I met
  • My children holding balloons
  • Bad fashion walk to the letterbox (all I could manage)
  • Sick children
  • So much generosity from family and friends
  • The comfort of music
  • God's faithfulness
  • Scarves, hats, wigs, hoods
  • Hot flushes (still getting these)
  • Great doctors, nurses, receptionists
  • Fear of the radiation machine
  • Music and dim lighting during radiation
Will there be some pleasant stops?
Truly, there has been so much good from this experience. I have new friends, I can now better understand the needs of someone else going through this, I learnt more about myself (have changed thinking on quite a few topics), received some free life lessons and I got to spend loads of time with child one and two.

How many people will want to travel with me?
The husband and I were absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of support we received. And, it never stopped. Both our workplaces have been wonderful. Our family and friends did so much for us. Not once did we ever feel like we were doing any of this on our own. The internet allowed me to keep in contact with the TBCs and when sleepless nights became the norm it was great to be able to get on line and have a chat about side effects. Then, when I got some embarrassing side effects, I was able to share those with other chemo patients and have a good laugh about them.

And, of course, do I get to decide not to go on this journey?
From Day 1, the husband said that we would beat this. While I didn't get to choose my journey, I did get to choose my treatment. I got to choose my attitude. I got to choose life.

I'm thankful to be past this. The whole experience can be put into one sentence now; I had breast cancer at the age of 30 and I'm healthy now. Me. Cancer. I won.

Next week, I will visit the chemo doctors to receive my tablets. These tablets will keep the oestrogen levels down (my cancer was hormone receptive). And, I will be on them for five years.

But for now, I'm rejoicing in good health (it's so underrated!).

1 comment:

  1. You have come so far. I admire you. Much love.... Hayley