Today was my final chemo day, my graduation. And yet, maybe it’s not. All of these poisons, drastic surgery, and the upcoming five years of chemically induced menopause will not diminish my chances of recurrence to zero. Although the odds are in my favor, I have a niggling doubt that this could be more of a Hunger Games Cancer. Maybe every person who deals with life threatening illness feels this way, but spelunking thorough the cancer blogs to find bits of wisdom (or even just some naïve cheerleader crap) means wading though a lot of drivel about the quality of fingernails, sorry state of taste buds, painfully boring discussions about insurance, and quite a bit about the surprising new heights of our restructured décolletage. I am told that the best outcomes happen to those who Stay Positive. But won’t adopting an arrogant attitude toward the power of these rogue cells (or God’s plan) jinx my recurrence and survival odds? Obviously, this is where prayer and all of you come into the mix.
Founded and unfounded fears aside, today was a great day. Bernie gave me a treatment graduation present in the form of a very pretty ring. It was so unexpected (and very large) that his worries that it could remind me of a difficult time in my life were for naught. I look at it as a symbol of his boundless love, support, smarts, generosity, and charm. It is a reminder that he believes this is behind us, even if I can’t fully embrace that yet. It’s just another bit of beauty at a time when I desperately need to find things beautiful. And to those who might cluck at its possibly gaudy extravagance, I will happily tell them why I wear it, and watch them eat crow.
At 3am (steroids make sleep a slippery thing), I’m bracing myself for the final onslaught of side effects, which have hit me sooner and harder with each round. But I have my chemo necessities from April, Nicole’s killer waffles, the dozenth dozen of muffins from Mary, and dueling grandmas keeping little boys clean, fed, loved, and occupied. Most of all, I have the prayers and wisdom from all of you. Lately I’ve been too drained to tap into the Universe, so I carry your words with me. I am so grateful that instead of cringing at my over-sharing, so many of you have taken the plunge with me. I’m poised at the beginning of the end, looking forward to a Tatum-sacrificing bonfire with many, many glasses of champagne… and hair.