I am thankful for chemotherapy. It’s a valuable weapon in the fight against cancer. I am even more thankful I don’t have to take any more chemo for the foreseeable future. It made me feel awful.
This past Monday morning (Jul 30) I was actually trying to prepare myself to face another round of pill chemo. I had a 09:30 appointment with Dr. P. and she had asked me to go to the lab beforehand to give blood for running the usual pre-chemo tests. As it turned out, my hands were the determining factor. Dr. P. took one look at them and said, “You can’t start another cycle… I think we have tortured you enough”.
We went over the fact that I’d done three rounds of the folfox chemo regimen and three rounds of pill chemo. My hands and feet are still healing from the last round of pill chemo. Continuing the pill chemo would only make them worse. A total of six rounds of chemo is probably a good enough hedge against a case of stage two colon cancer. I told Dr. P. I felt comfortable with ending the chemo, too.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life. My doctors and I will always keep an eye out for cancer, now. They will watch me especially closely for a year. I’m to keep my port for all that time, which means I’ll go to the cancer clinic at least every six weeks for a “port flush” and blood tests. I’ll get CT scans once a year. (I don’t have all the “scans” straight yet… Is “CT” the same as a “CAT” scan???) And that’s only oncology. I know Dr. D. is going to want another colonoscopy as soon as my immune system is back to normal. With all this fuss, I expect I’ll live a very long life.
It’s the next few weeks of that life that I find daunting to consider. For all my joy at the prospect for feeling healthy for weeks and even months at a time there is an equal measure of trepidation associated with re-entering “normal life.” I haven’t been in the office for over six months. None of my clothes fit anymore. I have almost an inch of hair on my head. What’s a regular routine ? But I know going back to work will be good for my soul and my bank account. I had to transition to life with cancer and chemo. Now I just have to transition back the other way. If my wrangles with red tape end successfully, I hope to be back to work on Aug 13.
So, Goodbye, Chemo! Hello, Whatever Comes Next.