I think there should be some kind of trophy, or medal, or certificate of achievement, something anyway to mark the completion of cancer treatment. I understand why it’s not done, but nonetheless it seems like all this hard work and endurance should reach some point of crescendo, a climax, a triumphant overcoming of the evil beast rather than just sputtering out at the end with a casual “have a nice life.”
I have Herceptin infusions scheduled every three weeks for several months. One of those appointments was today. Today was a rough day; one of those days where everything seems a little more complicated than it should be. Keys are lost, things forgotten, I trip over my own feet, and I’m just doing good to remember where I am, and where I’m going. But I did manage to make it to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance on time to have my port tapped for the blood draw.
After the blood draw we had the standard 2 hour wait till the doctor appointment, followed by my Herceptin infusion. Or so I thought. A long boring wait only to find out when we checked in that we missed the appointment; it was scheduled for an hour earlier. It took several phone calls and discussions between staff members, but they were able to squeeze me, and my now slightly elevated blood-pressure in.
Right off the bat, my doctor asked me if I want to have another baby. “I can refer you to our fertility specialist, if you would like.” Wait. What?
That was the farthest thing from my brain at the moment. I’d love for Gem to have a sibling, but I’ve been so focused on beating cancer, and moving mom out of her apartment, and the trip to Alaska, and then moving us out of our apartment that thoughts of baby-making, aside from the semi-regular baby-making practice, have not been on the agenda. I really thought this appointment would be more about the wheezing and extreme heaviness in my chest I have been experiencing since we moved into our new apartment.
Which I told her. So she listened to my lungs and wrote an order for a chest x-ray to make sure the cancer had not spread.
Then she proceeded to tell me that today would be my last treatment.
I’ve got months of treatment left. Besides, if this was my last treatment, I would have baked brownies for everyone and scheduled a party or something. I love my doctor, I love my nurses – I want to celebrate and thank them. She looked back at the chart, checked again, yup, today would be my last treatment. I’m done. We’ll just cancel the extra appointments.
Then I was whisked off to infusion for the treatment, which was pushed through faster than usual so I could run down to radiology and get the xray in quick before they closed for the day. While all this was happening, the baby blew out her diaper, so my still-fearful-of-poopie-even-though-he’s-been-a-father-for-two-years husband had to deal with a very cranky toddler with more poop than her diaper could handle and not enough wet wipes on the planet while I proceeded to lose my cell phone running between appointments.
We finally got everyone back together and mostly cleaned up and in the car stuck smack dab in the middle of Seattle 5pm downtown gridlock when I discovered the missing phone. The phone they were going to call with the results of the scan.
Finally, we’re home. We have the phone, which no one has called. It’s 8 pm and no results yet. No news is good news, right?
So, either I’m done with cancer treatment- or I’m not, and in a very bad way.
I feel like I should be celebrating right now, but I’m more stunned than anything.
UPDATE: results are in – XRAY IS CLEAR! I’m done with treatment!
I’m ready for my trophy now.
You can learn more about my cancer story here: