It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…November 29, 2008
Last Friday, I officially finished chemo. I felt an amazing sense of pride walking out of the hospital that last time, grinning and feeling oddly self aware. Like I was watching myself in some sappy movie on Lifetime. But, I didn’t care; I was DONE.
As many of you know, chemo drugs build up in your system and side effects can intensify as treatment goes on. I kinda forgot about that. I was so excited to be done, I forgot that I might feel about as terrible as I ever have. I have to admit, cancer got a good punch in this round, even if I won this match. I’m suffering from nausea and nosebleeds almost every day, my feet look like a leper’s, I’ve got all kinds of issues in the bathroom, and it hurts to type with my raw and neuropathy laden fingers. But. I. dont. care.
Seriously. I’m so confident and happy with the knowledge that I will eventually feel better, I’m totally riding this out with ease. At first, panic tried to mess with me. (I’ve had a battle with panic attacks earlier in my life. I totally kicked their ass too.) My inner monologue was “Oh, I feel so bad. What if I get sick at Thanksgiving? I’ll ruin it for everyone. My Mom will have traveled for nothing. Or maybe I’ll feel too guilty to leave right away and I’ll be trapped…” the drama goes on. But, I played a good mental game. Aknowledged my fears, realized they were crazy pants, dismissed them, and rode out the anxious feelings. Before I knew it, panic had slunk away into its dark mental cave and left me alone. Victory was mine.
The pressure of holidays makes me feel the need to not just be happy, but blissfully peachy keen a-ok. When people asked, “How are you feeling?” I intinctively answered “Great!”. And I wasn’t lying. Overall, I do feel great. I feel strong and lucky and oddly proud of myself. It has made me appreciate how truly powerful your mental game is when you wrangle with this crappy disease. Your attitude DOES make a difference. Not that you need to be whistling Dixie out your wazoo everyday, but I believe your outlook informs your body and it feeds off that energy. Your brain can’t kill the pain, but it can make you not care that it hurts.
Tomorrow I leave on my “cancercation”. (thanks Kris Carr!) I’m taking an 11 day cruise in the Caribbean. I plan to soak up sun, oggle cabana boys, and enjoy foo-foo drinks with tiny umbreallas. I have the great joy and privilige of not having to even think about cancer until January when I have my next scan.
For all of you in treatment, I wish you a season of joy – whatever that means and feels like to you. As for me, I’m totally getting my Santa on as soon as I return. I’m decking me some halls baby. Awwww yeaaahhh.