This has been a long journey. If you think about this process that started in February, it seems like it went by so fast. There was always something to do—a doctors appointment, a test, a treatment—it was a whilwind that never stopped.
I’m finally done with active treatment, which I thought was going to be the hardest part of this. I’ve had a little more than a month off since my last radiation treatment and it has been a hard adjustment for me. Since this began I’ve kept busy with trying to fight the disease by doing something and in my head I know I’m done with the treatment, so I think I should be back to normal. My body should bounce back and I can go back to my old self.
There is nothing to prepare you for how to handle the physical and emotional changes that occur after you’re done with surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. Physically I am still exhausted and there are still things that are happening to my body that are due to chemo. When people look at me, they see that my head hair is growing back and they can’t see all of the internal changes that my body is still undergoing. My head is still very cloudy and I struggle to think of words that used to come easily to me. The new thing is the cough I have now because of the radiation that hit my lungs. It has been acting up the last few days after being around a lot of smoke. I started working out last week and I hope that it will help me feel better.
Emotionally, I’m a different person than I was before. Things that would bother me before don’t and I’m super sensitive about other things. I am trying remember what is important and invest in things that make me happy because life can be short and taken away without any notice.
In England, there is a program for people who have finished cancer treatments. They discuss a lot of the issues that I’m trying to work through now. I assume it is our healthcare system and there is no after care for people who have beat cancer. I strongly believe that the American healthcare system needs to invest in after care because this is as hard as going to the office for treatment—maybe even harder.
I started my anti-estrogen pill tonight. The daily pill will hopefully keep the cancer away, since my type feeds off of estrogen. The doctor hopes that if I can get past two years I can try and have a baby and the chance of a reoccurrence goes down dramatically. That doesnt’ mean I get to stop taking the pills—I will probably be taking the drug for five to 10 years. The pill comes with its own set of side effects, but everyone says its better than cancer. It is hard to put that in perspective right now.
As my oncologist said, “Keep your fingers crossed that the cancer doesn’t come back!”