Chemo #12 - He is done!!
What a rollercoaster today was. You want to be so excited that he made it through treatment, and it is over, but it isn’t over just yet. As he lies next to me sick right now, I am so grateful that I don’t have to see him sick every other week anymore. It is a bittersweet celebration though. This isn’t over yet. We have only entered into a new chapter.
The best way to describe this is feeling is like when you get to the top of the biggest roller coaster you can imagine, and you are looking down; Is this going to be the amazing thrill that gets your heart pumping or is this going to be the bumpy ride that hurts your body and leaves you feeling nauseous?
As I was reading about survivorship today, trying to make sense of the emotions the Dr. warned us would come, I found this:
There are 3 phases of survivorship:
Acute survivorshipstarts at diagnosis and goes through to the end of initial treatment. Cancer treatment is the focus.
Extended survivorshipstarts at the end of initial treatment and goes through the months after. The effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.
Permanent survivorshipis when years have passed since cancer treatment ended. There is less of a chance that the cancer may come back. Long-term effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.
We have no entered the second phase. Our life has only been about surviving the last 9 months. It has been complete crisis mode and everything that comes along with it. Will he walk out of the hospital? Can he handle the chemo treatments? Where are we going to all live that we can afford? Can I keep our family afloat and living a semi-normal existence?
When I think about where we started, I am so fucking grateful. Grateful he walked out of those hospital doors. I felt like I couldn’t breathe today looking at the old pictures and remembering the night we went to the hospital. That night when the doctor sat down next to the bed and said the words “this isn’t good, this is cancer” will forever be burned into my existence. They knocked Billy out with drugs to help with the pain he was in and I sat awake in a cold hospital waiting for morning to come so I could talk to someone. I feel like I haven’t slept since that night. I have been walking around in a fog just trying to get to the next chapter. Well, here is the next chapter, now what?
He isn’t’ going to just miraculously feel better. (Although lately he is so much more like his old self! This pic he wanted to take yesterday proves that!) Now we start the next journey. Now is when the healing really starts. Now is when we have to be more diligent than ever.
When we first met with the oncologist about the chemo treatments, he looked at Billy and said, “you will die if you start chemo in this state”. Now if that isn’t a terrifying statement, I don’t know what is. Billy was deeply depressed (with every right to be!), not able to process food correctly yet and still on a feeding tube. I have watched this man fight for himself and his family. He changed his complete diet. He is diligent about taking vitamins and juicing daily. He has gone back to his mindfulness practice and exercising when he can.
The next chapter has begun. And now we heal. We both need to heal from the trauma of the chaos that has engulfed our lives. We have to let go of the emotion that surrounds it. We have to live without fear. We talk a lot about how we do that, and that is definitely going to be a work in progress. Fear creates an environment for cancer to grow. We can acknowledge the fear and talk about it so we can process it, but we cannot exist in the unknown. In three months, we will know if the treatments worked. Until then we will start to rebuild. Rebuild our relationship, rebuild our home and be grateful every day that we are here and for this moment we are all healthy.
I was surprised by the overwhelming emotion today. I am still stressed, semi-relieved, happy and left to wonder what the fuck comes next? When I figure it out, I will make sure to tell you. Till then we are going to try to navigate what healthy living means to us and use the tools to create our future.
- Amanda (@missdjlux ❤️)