I’ve reached the end of active treatment…what a long 11 months it’s been.
I have been tried and tested in ways I never even imagined. God has been with me each step of the way and I’m so thankful to be on this side of treatment, feeling as good as I do.
Tomorrow, for the first time in 8 weeks, I won’t have to drive up to Valley Medical for radiation. Yay!!
My last day of radiation on Friday was bittersweet. I was so happy to be done AND with only minor skin irritations, but was sad to say goodbye to so many wonderful people I have met during my time there. (I’ll see them again in a month when I go back for my last checkup though.)
I’m so thankful that I was really only super annoyed and uncomfortable with my skin for about 5 days. Then once I got the Mepilex bandages, my radiation burn was much more tolerable. I can even scratch it over the bandage which is nice. 🙂 The dark purple part under my breast has already turned dark brown and is peeling, so I expect the skin to continue to heal fast now that we’re done.
The girls did well most days as I took them over to friends’ homes to play while I was at radiation. Can you believe that? Not only did they do pretty well, but I had friends that were willing to watch my kids every day!! The girls came with me a few times, but only because it made sense with what we were going to do later in the day. They enjoyed playing with friends each day and I am so very, very thankful for such a huge support network of moms who took my girls in each day and let they play, cook and do crafts so they didn’t have to be in the car for an hour each day!! Ladies, I know I’ve said thank you before, but again, thank you for all your help!!
I’m also thankful for the wonderful staff I got to know while I was there. I could go on and on about so many of them. I’m not exactly sure how you go about making something like radiation enjoyable, but really, my time there was enjoyable. They were just fun people to be around. I would have much rather hung out with them at Starbucks, but that wasn’t an option in my treatment plan. Two of them live very close to us so I would guess one day we’ll run into them in Fred Meyer. 🙂
The hardest part of radiation came during the last 3 weeks. For the past 23 days, Tom has been in another state for a restaurant opening. You might has noticed I haven’t mentioned him much latterly. That’s why. 🙁 He was originally only going to be gone for 2 weeks, but there was a construction delay and he had to delay the opening for a week. Boo!!! 23 days is a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME for my best friend and emotional support to be gone, especially during cancer treatments. There was nothing we could do about it, so we made the best of it. But I had some really tough nights. We are very, very VERY happy to have him home today!
With all that being said, today is a day of HUGE transition for our family. No radiation which changes our routine a lot, plus Tom will be back home. Both of these are really great things, but it’s still a big change. For those of you with spouses that work a ton of hours or that travel a lot, you know that it take a few days to find your family groove again. 🙂
Also, with the end of active treatment, we move into what I think of as maintenance mode.
- Start a hormone blocking pill at the beginning of September and will see the oncologist a month after that.
- Appointments with the radiation oncologist and the plastic surgeon in about a month for follow up
- Infusion center every 6 weeks for my Zometa infusion (which had very few side effects last time)
- Blood test every 3 months to see if there is any new growth
- There’s a PET scan in my not so distant future, but not for at least a few months.
- I’m guessing I’ll have to have a mammogram on my other breast at some point as well.
When I write it out, it still sounds like a lot, but nothing like we’ve been going through the past year.
With this transition, also comes more time to think. Are there a few stray cancer cells somewhere in my body just waiting to start growing again? When and where will it come back, if it does?
How do we go back to normal?
I’ll be honest. I have no desire to go back to what “normal” used to be. I know some resemblance of it is coming, but life will never be what it used to be.
I don’t want to go back to how our home used to be. Our home is a much nicer place to be now than it was a year ago. Even our 11 year old has noticed. I don’t expect that to change. School will start next month and we’ll slowly adjust to that. But for the most part, I think we’ll keep the environment we have.
I don’t want to lose my longing to feel God’s presence and peace every minute of the day. I want to remember my joy is in the Lord and not in my circumstances.
And I don’t want my husband to have to start working 60 hour work weeks with a really long commute on both ends of each work day. He can’t keep working from home now that I’m able to take care of things around the house. 🙁 It has been so amazing to have him around more. I have loved every minute of it! This makes me sad, and tired. I’m not sure what that will look like in the coming days and months. So we’ll just take one day at a time and figure it out.
I do look forward to not living at the Dr. I look forward to volunteering in the girls’ classrooms again. I look forward to going to Bible Study each week. I have so many things to look forward to!
As you can tell, my mind is all over the place. It’s going to be an interesting week. We are looking forward to getting away as a family on vacation soon. We need a break!!