hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the last chemo I go…

Excited
adjective
1. very enthusiastic and eager.

From the moment I woke up this morning, I was excited. Excited almost feels like an understatement… thrilled, exhilarated, elevated, animated or electrified would work, also… many words describe this feeling. Today trumps every birthday, Christmas or New Year’s I have ever celebrated – that’s a big call because my 30th birthday week in Malta was pretty amazing. Picture a five-year-old, in a candy store, eyes beaming wide, jumping up and down. That was me this morning.

There are no prizes for guessing why I have an extra spring in my step. The answer is fairly obvious to anyone who has been following this blog. For the benefit of anyone who has just stumbled upon my journey, here’s a hint: Today was my last round of chemo! *Fist pump*

You may think that is enough to celebrate, but for me, there’s more. I am excited, because I feel so damn good! I’ve made it through ‘one of the toughest times in my life’ fairly unscathed. How could I feel this good? Have they been giving me enough drugs? Both questions have crossed my mind a few times. Aren’t I supposed to be struggling to get out of bed? Struggling to walk to the letterbox? Instead, last week I managed three gym sessions and two runs. I definitely think that is something to celebrate.

Before you start to think I am in denial about the whole situation, of course I recognise that my body has been affected. My hair is gone, I’ve lost a lot of strength and stamina, and my brain has become a little. However, all these things are temporary (I’m not sure about the mushy brain; I am getting old). My hair will grow back – I already have a bit of fluff growing – and in time my strength and stamina will get back to where it was, and hopefully surpass it. So to me, ‘fairly unscathed’ is a fitting description.

The road still isn’t fully paved before me; radiation or surgery is yet to be decided. I feel that after I recover from this last round of chemo, I will be able to take my first steps forward. Even though I’ll still be ‘in treatment’ I won’t have as many restrictions in place. I can get back on the bike, literally (and eat sushi…oh sushi how I’ve missed you…).

Before I get carried away about the future, let’s stick with the present. Let me tell you about today. January 30.

I woke up to the sweet smell of a Persian Love Cake baking in the oven. Mother had forewarned the staff of the ‘farewell’ menu. I think they think we’re a bunch of crazies. Who has a ‘farewell’ menu for chemo? We do… Flowers were purchased and a Thank You card. Someone once said to me that your oncology ward – your doctor, nurses, administration staff, and other patients – become part of your extended family during treatment. At first I couldn’t understand this. You only see these people every three weeks, how could you become attached? My plan was to go in, sit in a chair, get the drugs and go home. What I had in mind and what actually happened were two very different things. The genuine care you receive is hard to put into words, and I’ve definitely made them work hard during my treatment (read: reaction #1, reaction #2 and reaction #3). So for that, we wanted to do everything possible to say “thank you” for caring for me, for us.

My appointment was a little later that usual at 11:20 which was lucky because I had very special invitation for the morning. Every Wednesday I have been going with my friend, Meg to watch her little boy at his swimming lessons. Unfortunately (for me) he started prep on Tuesday, so no more mid-week swimming dates. Meg asked if I would like to take him to school so he could show me his classroom and meet his friend. For someone that doesn’t have a child, but loves children, moments like these are very special. After the hive of activity during the school drop off we snuck in a quick coffee catch up before it was time to get ready to head to the hospital.

I wish I could say it was an easy day at the office; it wasn’t. It’s never a good start when you start vomiting before the drug infusion starts. It was purely from just thinking about chemo. The brain is a funny thing… And it didn’t stop there. The only relief was I knew this was the last time. I looked over at the machine and saw there was only 12 minutes remaining. It was a long 12 minutes. I was thinking I would rather be doing burpees non-stop for 12 minutes than sitting there, and I hate burpees! Then it beeped. It was over.

It was such an anti-climax when it was time to leave. It felt like I was just saying goodbye until next round, not forever. I do have to pop up tomorrow and next week for an injection, maybe that’s why. My time in the oncology ward isn’t finished forever, yet.

Here I am, back home in bed, making use of the bell.

We did it.

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