If you asked me in the dark, dreary days of December what life would be like after chemo, I would tell you to ask me that in a month. If you asked me again, in the cold and miserable days of January what life would be like after chemo, I would laugh in your face and say “right now, it feels like those days will never come.” But I am here today to tell you that yes, there is life after chemo. And yes, it’s pretty amazing.
I’m sitting here in the dark on my bedroom floor, on this rainy Tuesday, and I am happy. I am thankful. I am present. I am also really full because I just got finished with lunch with one of my best friends and her mom (hi Rach and Julie!). And good food & company = happiness.
Going into the last chemo, I expected the worst. For the months of January and February, I had experienced more nausea and exhaustion and other side effects from chemo than months prior. And I owe that to the fact that as chemo builds up in your system, it causes more problems, and because I had a pretty bad mindset through January. Maybe it’s because I just hate winter. Or maybe it was because I was sick of being sick.
But last week actually wasn’t so bad. And I think it had to do with my mentality. To be honest, I think feeling good in general has a lot to do with your attitude. It’s a total mind game. I think because I was SO excited about being done and SO excited to move on from chemo, that it pushed me to actually feel better. I mean at this point, I can basically taste the hot dogs. By Friday, I was out of bed, still tired, but not feeling awful. By Saturday, I was eating full meals. And by Sunday, I was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Belmar with my family. I even drank some champagne, and then wine … and then beer. Is that bad? Is that good? I don’t know, no one writes rules about what to do and what not to do, but I felt good, and I was celebrating, so why not.
And as I start to feel better and better, life after chemo keeps unfolding. I went to the dentist yesterday and got my tooth temporarily fixed. The root canal filling fell out or something, so they just re-packed it which should hold me over until I get my port taken out. So now I can chew on both sides of my mouth again, but I will still be staying away from tortilla chips until it is permanently fixed (not rly tho, put chips and guac in front of me and I turn into the Mexican hulk). I’m planning for events in the future. Not just vacations and trips, but just the fact that I can commit to going out for a best friend’s birthday is a huge win for me. The fact that I can even think about what kind of sushi roll I’m going to consume (let’s be honest, inhale) when I can start to wean off my neutropenic diet. And that I won’t have to pick lettuce off of sandwiches anymore. And that I can go and get a manicure without fearing for my life about germs. It’s the little things that I appreciate and that excite me these days. And I’ll take it.
Me when I see the waiter bringing guac to the table
I will say though, that even though I am done with chemo, I am not done. I will not be done until that scan comes back and my doctor says ” you are cancer free.” That’s when I’ll be able to exhale completely. That’s when I’ll be able to sleep soundly. That’s when I’ll be able to live freely.
So March may drag on as I wait for that scan day in April, but hopefully I can fill it with activities that will take my mind off of it. April the pregnant giraffe who I told you guys I’ve been watching live on Facebook has still not given birth, so like I guess that’ll take up some time. But if anyone wants to do anything super cool and adventurous, or just you know, hang out, hit me up (I’ll probably be checking my phone every so often to see how April’s doing though).
Oh and also Lilly finished chemo a week before me and got her MRI results back yesterday: her tumor is stable and she is CANCER FREE. How can you not get chills when you read that? UDance is this Sunday, so if you would like to donate, click here.
Hope you guys are still reading these posts. But hey, if not, talking to myself is cool, too.