Friday, December 26, 2014

Chemotherapy Leg Part 16

Now that I'm sitting here accessed, bagged, and dripping for (hopefully) the last time, I'm kind of at a loss for words. This is the end of chemotherapy for me, but I still have a course of radiation to complete.

I've lamented that I've done better than some, and not as good as others during my course of treatment, and I'm not going to miss this experience at all. Truth be told, I am grateful for having gone through it, because chemotherapy has taught me many things about myself. When life gets rough, you learn just how much resilience you have; when you think you've squeezed the last bit out of yourself, lo and behold you manage to find some more. Now, that doesn't include the time spent balled up in the fetal position under the covers, or the fits of tears and rage. Those are a given, and no amount of pharmaceuticals or pep talks can help you avoid them. That also applies to shitty life events that might not include a cancer diagnosis or other health crisis. Unfortunately, I've been through both.

The main thought in my mind currently is, what if this comes back? I know I shouldn't be thinking that, but the cynic in me can't help herself. For months I've read all manner of stuff about cancer, breast cancer, metastatic disease, and people's experiences with them. I've made friends on social media with women who have been treated for breast and other cancers, and I'm sorry to say that I'm keeping vigil for someone who is in the final stage of bile duct cancer. You never realize just how many lives cancer touches until you've been through it yourself.

One positive aspect of this experience pertains to what I do for a living. Somehow, some way, I am going to move forward as a writer who writes about what matters and gets paid for it. No more writing just to pay the bills. I did that for five years and it's time to move on. Just as I've found a level of resilience I wasn't aware I had, I've also found a level of determination that I've decided is going to  guide me through the rest of my life. It has to, because things cannot go back to being as they were before this happened. I don't really believe the whole "things happen for a reason" rationale. Instead, I believe that life is a series of roads we travel, and we have to pay attention to the interchanges and where they are taking us. Notice how I didn't use the word "exit". I'm ignoring the exits for now, and concentrating on where the next interchange is taking me. After all, I decided to refer to this as a journey, one that will continue for a very, very long time.


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