I had my sixth and last round of chemo on April 5. Four months have flown by, my healthy baby is here, I am in remission, and all that stands ahead of me is completing my radiation treatment.
I was in a extra good mood the day of my last chemo treatment. I was so pumped to be done soon! Because I’ve had so many IVs in the last four months, there’s not many places left on my arms for nurses to easily find a new IV spot. I absolutely hate being poked with the huge IV needle, but because I was in such a good mood that day I didn’t even care it took 3 tries for them to find a good vein. The chemo infusion was otherwise uneventful which is the best I can hope for.
Ringing the Bell
A tradition in the cancer world is to ring a bell when you’re done with treatment. I’ve been looking forward to this day since the beginning. Once I was done with chemo, the nurses walked me down to the bell and cheered me on as I rang it. I absolutely hate crying in front of people and had to try really hard to fight back tears.
The End… and the Start of a New Beginning
A few days prior to my last chemo, I had a sudden rush of anxiety. I had been so excited about my last chemo session before and looking forward to this day. Why the sudden anxiety? Maybe it was postpartum hormones. I should be happy and excited about finishing chemo.
I talked to one of my nurses and also a social worker at MD Anderson. They told me it was entirely normal for cancer patients to feel anxious or worried towards the end of treatment. They both stressed that I’m entitled to feel the way I feel. I shouldn’t feel bad if I have negative feelings; just acknowledge it rather than feel ashamed or embarrassed. All our lives we are taught we must be happy and we shouldn’t be sad. It’s actually totally okay to feel negative emotions.
As silly as it may sound, I approached my cancer treatment like I do with my fitness stuff (I am a fitness instructor). I am laser focused towards achieving some sort of goal. Just like I did for triathlons, half-marathon, fitness instructor trainings, fitness certifications, or learning new choreography for teaching a class, I methodically laid out things I must do to complete my goal. For cancer treatment, it was drinking plenty of water, walking daily, doing strength training, drinking teas/juices, sleeping enough, detoxing, etc. I focused on this everyday to achieve my end goal of completing chemotherapy. This tunnel vision kept me laser focused and probably numbed my emotions temporarily so I could keep going everyday.
People often tell me how strong I’ve been. The truth is, it has flown by and I didn’t have much time to think about what was happening while it was happening. Now that it’s starting to come to an end, it’s starting to sink in. I’m sitting here thinking, “wow, I did that” and I have this healthy baby in front of me.