Hello friends! I come to you from the other side of an ordeal I hope I never have to repeat.
For those of you who have been following along with my ovarian cancer journey,
- My first chemotherapy treatment was tough.
- Thankfully, my second treatment wasn’t nearly as bad and left me feeling like I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as far as side effects go.
- My third chemo treatment was….well…much harder.
- My fourth chemo treatment left me pretty wiped out
- My fifth bout with chemo left me feeling worn down, emotionally and physically.
Chemo Round 6: The Final Chapter?
My sixth chemotherapy infusion session went much the same as the others. I sat for six hours while the last of my toxic cocktail was pumped into my veins, not knowing exactly how to feel.
On one hand, I was happy to be at the end of my chemo course. On the other hand, there was still so much I didn’t know.
Would the scan I’d be getting two weeks later reveal that all of this had been for nothing? Or would I be cancer-free? I was afraid to be happy.
I was asked if I wanted to “ring the bell”, something cancer patients typically do to signal the end of their treatment.
I didn’t know if this was really my last treatment, and I couldn’t stop thinking of the cancer patients for whom there is no cure, just treatment after treatment until the treatment no longer keeps their cancer at bay.
They may never get to ring that bell, so why should I?
I have absolutely NO JUDGEMENT for folks who choose to ring the bell, for if I’ve learned anything from all of this, it’s that everyone’s cancer experience is very very different. This particular ritual just wasn’t for me.
A Long Recovery
I was at my sickest on Christmas Day. Because the effects of chemotherapy are cumulative, this was the worst cycle. I could barely move for almost a week and was popping every side-effect fighting pill in my arsenal.
Mr. Refashionista was as sweet & caring as ever, bringing me water, tea, meds, and soft kisses on the forehead while I vegetated on the couch.
After a week, I gradually began to feel better.
Still weak & foggy, Mr. Refashionista and I rang in the new year in the Outer Banks at a beach house we rented just for the occasion.
My Scan Results: What now?
On the day of my scan (two weeks after my last treatment), I was physically shaking with anxiety.
Due to COVID, Brian couldn’t be with me until after the scan for my consultation with my oncologist. We sat side by side, hands clasped tightly together, each giving the other the occasional encouraging squeeze.
My Oncologist sat down and opened with, “I have good news…”
I am thrilled and relieved to report that I am now in remission with no evidence of disease.
When I got the news, I responded with a slightly dull “That’s wonderful.”
I feel like I should have acted happier.
Brian and I quietly left the oncology center, hands still held tight and collapsed into each other’s arms in the parking lot.
It was over.
All the sickness, pain, weakness, stress, dark thoughts, tears, sleepless nights, and days laid to waste by this terrible disease were done. It was in the past, the memories of which could now fade and tatter, to be replaced by better, happier ones.
What do I do now?
My oncologist made it very clear that I’m not cured. My cancer could come back, and if it does, that will mean more chemo.
I have an exam in three months (and will likely have one every three months from now on out), and another scan in six months to check for recurrence.
Right now, I’m focusing on my health & wellness as my top priority. I’m eating healthy and exercising…basically doing everything I can to get my strength back. I’ve been told this could take months to a year, so I’m trying to be patient and kind with myself.
Now that I’m starting to feel better, you can look forward to new and expanded content here on my blog, as well as video (!!!!) content I’m planning out.
But pllllease be patient with me as I’m still feeling pretty weak and puny.
Finally, THANK YOU.
Thank you for showing up for me.
Whether it was by leaving a comment, sending an email, reacting to a Refashionista social media post, sending a kind thought in my general direction, or just checking in on my little blog, your support has meant the world to me.
I feel grateful and humbled by your kindness during what has been the most difficult and scary time of my life. Reading your words of support bolstered me on the toughest of days, and kept me inspired to keep creating when I could.
This. community. is. amazing.