It's hard to describe how happy I am that yesterday was the last infusion. It's a huge relief to have it over with. I feel like we've accomplished something - something serious. And it really isn't like I did anything other than have stuff done to me ... but I've survived it. I've survived chemo. There are only 3 other times in my life that I've cried true tears of joy. The first was when I witnessed the birth of my first nephew. The second was when Mike proposed. The third time was only a few months ago, when we were married. And the fourth - was yesterday - when we were standing outside the Breast Center waiting for our car. Mike was hugging me -- and I was so happy that it was over. I hugged my mom ... and just kept tearing up. We met up with Mike's mom and went to dinner. We got home, got ready for bed - all the while I just smiled to myself. Chemo was over.
I still have to endure the 10 days or so of the after-effects of this last infusion, but the thought of it is easier to deal with knowing that I don't have to do it again ... at least not anytime soon anyhow. The Nurse Practitioner started talking about the emotional impact of finishing chemo and consequently coming into the Oncologists office less and less often - being monitored not so closely. It naturally raised worry ... the "what ifs" - what if we missed something? What if there's a recurrence? How do we know it will be "OK" ...
It's another leap of faith - that's what it is. Like the leap of faith I had to take with my Oncologist and not freeze my eggs prior to chemotherapy. It's a leap of faith that I'm going to be OK. It will be just as difficult to take, if not harder. I won't be actively doing something to make sure the cancer cells are at bay, or dying off - that is - if any survived the 4 bombs we set off in my body. And that's another thing we're just going to have to trust to faith -- that chemo did it's job -- that during these 4 rounds all the potential cancer cells that may have remained were actively dividing and thus impacted by the chemo and killed. What are my odds of a distant metastasis? What are my odds of local recurrence? Even though there isn't suppose to be any breast tissue left, there's always the chance that one cell remained - or that there's a recurrence in the scar tissue. Or that one cell snuck out of my lymph nodes and is floating around in my blood stream and was lying dormant during these last 8 weeks.
But these aren't things I can (or really want) to think about right now. My exchange surgery is on the horizon. 5 weeks until surgery -- another close to another chapter. Reconstruction has been going well. Not much more to go right now. I'm looking forward to being through with this phase as well. I'm looking forward to sleeping comfortably, most of all. It's progress - I'm moving forward in my life - and I'm finally able to check things off my compartmentalized approach to dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Thank goodness.