The first leg of this journey is complete. On February 4th I completed my last round of chemo. The side effects where a bit harsh this time around, but I was reassured by the fact that THIS WAS THE LAST TIME I WILL EXPERIENCE THEM. As I was laying on my aunt's couch rollercoastering through bouts of nausea, I kept thinking "Bring it on bitch. You will be over soon."
It's about three weeks later and I'm feeling good. My white blood cell counts are up, and I'm feeling strong. I can't wait to start doing all the things I used to do, like biking, hiking, camping. I made a promise to myself that once this is all over, I will never skip the oppotunity for adventure. Unfortunately, those things will have to wait a bit longer as I still have my surgery to look forward to.
Truth be told, chemo is not that horribly bad. Don't get me wrong, it's by no means fun, but it's not like how it is in the movies. It used to be like that before the medicines and dosages became more targeted. As far as the side effects go, it's kind of like being pregnant (so I'm told). You wake up feeling nauseous, swollen, tired, but after awhile it goes away. The big differences are chemo makes you lose your hair and pregnancy gives you a baby.
The hairloss was not devastating for me. I loved my hair, but I always wanted an excuse to shave it. This afforded me that opportunity. Once it comes back, I may keep it short for awhile.
I've taken a good look at my life these past five months, and one thing has bothered me. I realized that most of my time, energy, and conversation has been devoted to this disease. I seem to have put myself into a category. I want to avoid the label "Cancer Survivor" as much as possible. This is not only because I hate labels, but also because it doesn't tell everything about me. I have survived other trials, arguably worse than this one. So if I had to label myself as something, it would be simply "A Survivor."
Speaking of surviving, there are ways you can help others survive this disease. An old family friend is doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and she is doing it in my honor. If you care to donate, please click here: http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/WashingtonDC?px=1003944&pg=personal&fr_id=1910