Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Post 33: Last round....here we go!

It's been a while since I have written.
But this is it..... If all goes well - this is my last round of chemo.

I'm excited, terrified, happy, relieved, and anxious. So many emotions all rolled into one.
It's strange. As much as I desperately want this to be over, chemo was kind of like a safe zone where I could stay in limbo. I feel weird even saying that. No real surgeries or procedures & tests could be performed during these past 6 months. No one could call me to tell me anymore bad news than what I have already heard. I don't jump when the phone rings anymore. I've kind of been left alone by doctors for a littel while during chemo because nobody really wants to mess with you when you're on these drugs. But now it's all about to be over. This is a proud moment for us as a family. We can almost say, "We did it!"

 The dark days of chemo are about to be over.

I am so thankful and my heart is FULL.

I can finally take a deep breath.....almost.

So what comes next ? I will get about 6-8 weeks of rest from chemo before my next surgery. Before my takedown surgery I will have to have some more tests and procedures done. I'll explain those when they happen. I'm not even sure of all the details, and to be honest I'm not sure I want to know. I am scared of being in the hospital again. I'm tired of needles and drugs. I don't want to be in pain anymore. I am terrified of more bad news. But I have to keep telling myself how far we've come. The worst part should be over, right? I pray that it is. After my next surgery, recovery time will come with it's own set of challenges and missing another 8 weeks of work. But after that, we hope to be able to get back to a fairly "normal life."

I love my silly little familly
Normal for us has definitely changed. As a family, we've grown and learned so much from this journey. We've learned we just have to adjust to what life throws at us, and that becomes the new norm. We've really tried to focus on just living life and enjoying all the good moments. That part has been a blessing. During chemo, one can experience the darkest of days. There have been moments where I don't think I can handle anymore. But we've arrived to this place.

The last round.


Looking back almost a year ago I didn't know if I could do it. I remember sitting in the oncologist's office crying on the couch while Phillip held my hand. We wondered how are we going to get through this with a new baby? We couldn't believe I was a "cancer patient." It was all just so surreal. We've come so far and we've done it together. I used to think of chemo treatments as losing 6 months to a year of my life. But those kinds of thoughts don't go through my head anymore. We've been living it up and doing the best we can. If I have a good day, we take advantage of it and do as much as we can. Some days I have to take it easy and I can't do a whole lot. Some days are spent doing nothing but laying in bed feeling like hell. But those days are part of my life right now. The tough days deserve the respect that every other day gets. Those moments are not seen as a "pause" in my life anymore. They are part of our life that we just work through together. Now I see them as moments that have brought our family even closer. Moments where I fall in love with my husband all over again. Moments where we cry together and assure eachother that we are a team. We WILL get through this. Those are the times where I have cherished my baby girl's smile like no other. Those moments are what life is about. The good, the bad and the ugly times all have moments of grace and beauty that will be etched into my memory forever.

Phillip & I after photographing a wedding.

Elise's 1st birthday
The past couple of months have been filled with so much happiness. Birthday celebrations (Elise turned one!) engagements, marriage celebrations, dancing and laughing, milestones like watching my baby girl take her first steps! I photographed a wedding, finished up a school year that I thought I wouldn't even be able to complete and was named teacher of the year for my school. I've been able to help a new fellow ostomate during her times of struggle. I've been able to bond with other cancer survivors and make new friends. Iv'e learned how to roll with the punches a little more, and know when to walk away when someone is saying something that hurts me now. I've learned to not be afraid to live life. It's been a beautifully busy month. Yes, I've had some rough patches, but I am still here. I'm still fighting and strong. I've had a lot of time to think. I desperately search for a reason and a purpose as to why all of this has happened. Maybe it's so I can be here to help somone else, maybe it's a wakeup call for me to live and love life to the fullest.

 So, 12 more days. I know these next couple of weeks will be difficult. But I am ALIVE. I am still here, my litle girl is happy and healthy. I have the love of my life by my side, and  I am surrounded by true friends, amazing co-workers and family so committed to seeing me through this through.

It's difficult....but not impossible.

12 more days.