It’s difficult to describe the feeling of completion in cancer. There is the day you finish your first round of treatment – for me, chemo (July 26th). The day you – hopefully – find out you are cancer free (for me August 21st). The day that you have finished with all the disease oriented treatment rounds – for me, yesterday, October 29th.
But cancer is a funny thing – even with each milestone, each completion, there is always something else – there will be more PET scans, more medicine, more surgeries even for me who is considered a success story. When people ask if I’m done I can honestly say – mostly. And yesterday and today, that is enough.
I got confetti-ed at radiation. My best friend in attendance along with my array of supportive and amazing nurses. I had to see the doctor before I left and I honestly couldn’t listen to a word she was saying. Something about when I would feel totally better, when my skin would be totally healed, when I needed to come back. All I wanted to do was run out of there – I almost ran out in my hospital gown. I probably would have if Christy hadn’t gently pushed me back to the changing room. (A friend said the same had happened to her!)
The relief is overwhelming. My gratitude immense. My happiness complete. I find myself already with more energy – placebo effect I’m sure – but who cares? I feel like I’m on the upside of a very dark and twisted year.
I had a moment of reflection yesterday – that one year ago I was battling a 12 week business travel commitment by Davis, a trip to Dubai for our family. It all ultimately led to the mammogram in January, the biopsy in late January, the diagnosis on Feb 13th. And what has been a trying but ultimately beautiful year for us – watching our children grow and blossom, strengthening our commitment to each other. Being proud of each other for the burdens we bore.
One thing this whole journey has taught me is that even if you think you are making the right decisions, if you think that you are tackling the important questions every once in a while life will pull the rug out and say – see, this is what really matters. Life matters. Joy matters. Children matter. Friends, family, strangers matter.
And of course, to top off the day of happy chaos we had a crazy soccer practice for the twins team where I was coach (Davis out of town) – parents versus kids, a few rounds of knockout with the kiddos keeping the balls from their parents, and a team celebration at Luby’s. But because of this week and because of this year, it wouldn’t have been complete without a few surprises – Carter losing a tooth at soccer practice. Emmy having her American Girl doll arrive, Henry having a stellar report card sent home.