I Miss Chemotherapy ... Wait, What?

woman in hospitalWho would have thought I would miss being poisoned?

It has now been almost two weeks since my 24th and last scheduled infusion of chemotherapy. And, now that the semi-excitement of being "done" has worn off, I'm ... actually starting to miss chemo


Don't get me wrong; I prefer not to feel like shit. And every day away from treatment is a day that I feel a little bit better than the day before. My energy level has improved. My appetite and tolerance for foods and smells are better. I'm less tired. I'm quicker.

I see glimpses of what "normal" used to feel like. 

That being said, there was a lot of comfort to be found in the routine of treatment. I was at the cancer center at least once a week, if only to do labs. I was treated with care. I was being monitored. I received encouragement and medical attention. 

The guards were on duty.

If something went awry, adjustments were made and the situation was remedied. 

Even more importantly, I was being hosed down regularly with cancer fighting medicine. In my mind, the drugs I was receiving were keeping the cancer at bay. And now I'm no longer receiving those drugs.

It feels sort of like canceling a pest control contract. What happens once the exterminator stops visiting?

Now, I understand that all of these thoughts and feelings are normal, to be expected. Apparently, there's a certain amount of anxiety that comes along with stopping treatment. And I get it. 

If I had my way, I'd get my levels checked monthly for the rest of my life, and have regular CT scans. Do constant sweeps.

However, that's neither practical nor would it be supported by my oncologist. And certainly not by my health insurance carrier.

No, if and when I get word that I no longer have any evidence of disease in my body, I'll follow the normal protocol of periodic testing and monitoring over the ensuing five years. And at some point, I'll have to let go.

Although I don't think, once you've had cancer, you ever really let go, do you? I've spoken with survivors who have been clear for decades but who say they still always wonder. Just a tiny bit.

It's kind of like alcoholism. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. And you can lose your sobriety at any time, no matter how long you've been sober.

But, my cart is way in front of the horse. I'm not to the point of being scheduled for periodic follow-ups. I haven't yet even been tested to see if the treatment was successful.

So, for now, I'll just try to make the most of this "chemo-cation", this break in treatment. And we'll see what happens next.

One day at a time, right?

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Image via Katie Walsh, Project Life Media

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