Today was the 2nd to last treatment of cycle number 8. Number 8! Here’s what that looks like broken down:
- May – July = 4 cycles of Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide (1 treatment every 21 days x 4)
- July – October = 4 cycles of PacliTaxel (1 treatment every week x 12 weeks) Eventhough it’s administered weekly, they still consider every 4 treatments to be 1 “cycle”
I am beyond excited for this chemo chapter to close after next week. Back when I started in May it felt like October was 100 years away, I mean it was May, school was still in session, summer was about to start and my bikini bod had been ripped away from me (Ok, I’ll admit, that last part is a giant bold faced lie. The last time I had a “bikini bod” it would have been borderline inappropriate to actually wear a bikini). But if I let myself think too much about October, the walls would start caving in and I’d feel myself panic.
So to cope, I compartmentalized and broke the 6 months into more manageable pieces so that I wouldn’t spontaneously burst into tears on the daily. Then, all of a sudden school let out, summer came and people not named me wore bikinis and then the leaves started to change colour and Pumpkin Spiced everything showed up. Here we are, it’s October, my last chemo treatment is next Thursday (Oct 20) and it feels more than a little surreal. I have that feeling of butterflies and anticipation that you get when you have a fun trip or holidays coming up which might seem weird but chemo has been my crappy job for the last 6 months and I can’t wait to quit.
But along with the excitement that comes with finishing chemo I also have this little, nagging feeling of sadness. No, I’m not AT ALL sad to stop being poked and prodded every week, I’m not sad to stop the doses of poison right to my veins and I am certainly not sad for the end of some of these side effects. But I do feel a bit bummed at the thought of no longer seeing the amazing nurses that I have come to know and really enjoy. I know, it seems crazy, it’s like some perverse version of Stockholm syndrome. These people stick you with needles, ask you uncomfortable questions, inject you with toxic poison and then send you home to feel terrible…and I’m going to miss them?!?! But I am, I actually look forward to seeing some of my favourites each week. See? Stockholm Syndrome. I mentioned it today to the lady working at the chemo desk and she said that the exciting thing about being done chemo is that I can visit whenever, but it can be on my terms from now on. She is absolutely right and that’s a powerful and exciting feeling.
There’s more to come in this kaka storm of breast cancer including, a one month break for my immune system to bounce back, then 6 weeks of radiation (Mon-Fri each week) and then reconstruction to help me not look like that potato that sits at the grocery store that no one chooses because it’s oddly lumpy in all the wrong ways and customers are afraid that maybe it was grown near a radioactive facility. But the thought of closing the chemo chapter is huge. It’s like a George R.R. Martin sized chapter and I will spend the next week looking forward to my last treatment with my captors.