Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ring the bell

I am done with chemo! Done, done, done! 

"Ring this bell
Three times well
A toll to clearly say
This treatment's done
My course is run
And I am on my way"

Sure, by tomorrow I will be feeling crappy and sure, I'll miss out on a beautiful weekend, and sure, it'll be another 10days before coffee tastes good again, and sure, I still have two surgeries* to complete... but hey--I AM DONE! No more chemo!

This is big, right? There have been moments on this journey--heck a lot of moments--when it just didn't feel real. Right now it feels a bit like a movie. Like it's not happening to me. I am fine, I am healthy, I don't have cancer, what is happening?! But then I tell myself it is real. This is real. It isn't a stunt, it's not a movie, this is actually my life. How did that happen? (Don't answer that. I know: BRCA.)

Back in the fall, before the diagnosis, I had dinner with two of my closest friends. I was telling them that I was going to have a mammogram and how I wasn't worried, just routine, cancer was my mom's story, it isn't mine. (Are you cringing because you know how that ended?!) The truth is, her story has always been my story. Her cancer -- and subsequent death -- is a defining chapter in my life. Finding out I had the BRCA mutation, that my mom likely had the BRCA mutation, was freeing. It explained this awful thing that happened to me. Not my cancer, my mom's cancer. If I had to have cancer myself to find that out, so be it. 

A colleague asked me the other day if I had connected with other survivors. "No," I quickly said. And then I stumbled to say why not. I hadn't thought about why not! (Why hadn't I thought about it?!) So I gave a rambling explanation that focused on these three things, all true:
--My prognosis was always excellent.
--I'm HAPPY and in a great place emotionally to handle a crisis.
--I have an awesome support network. (Thank you, village!)

But the most truthful answer, the one I just now figured out, on this last day of chemotherapy, is this: I have already survived cancer. It made me who I am. I've got 32 years of survivorship! I've GOT this. 

Suck it, chemo. 

*Two more surgeries: one to get my new boobs, one to remove my ovaries. Addition, subtraction. 


  1. How did I miss this post?? It is awesome! I love the picture - I saw it on IG and it is a perfect expression of joy! Congrats on being finished with the Chemo. Do you have to do any radiation?

    Hope you are once again enjoying that morning cup of coffee. Have a great weekend!

    1. It was so great to bang the heck out of that bell!!! No radiation. Just tamoxifen. This last round was a doozy--I caught a virus--but I am happily drinking my coffee this morning and looking forward to eating all the food! It's a beautiful day.