Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cancer: 0, Alli: 1

I’m sitting at my LAST chemo treatment – hopefully forever! Because my port was so uncooperative last week, I had to get the IV in my arm again today – but that was ok with me! I can’t believe that after 5 months and 16 chemo treatments, this chapter is going to finally be OVER! To celebrate, I used real shampoo and conditioner on my hair this morning (instead of baby shampoo) – pretty exciting to have a half inch now! It will still take a while for my hair to get back to normal, so in the meantime please enjoy my exciting array of scarves and artificial hair. Ha! Extra special thanks to Ben for taking off work to be here with me today – getting confetti from the nurses, ringing the bell, and saying farewell to the oncology staff would not be the same without you!

This blog has been so therapeutic for me – I hope you all have learned a little more about what happens when someone goes through treatment for breast cancer, but more importantly, thank you for helping me create awareness for this terrible disease. No one should have to go through this, but if you do, the earlier you can catch it, the better. So, one more time – ladies, do those self exams, and go to the doctor immediately if you find anything suspicious! I so appreciate all of the love and support from each and every one of you – I truly could not have gotten through this process without you.

I will post updates when I have my next surgeries – I have two more to finish up reconstruction this year, and also to remove the port from my chest. I may even have my hysterectomy later this year, which is what the doctors want to do to reduce my risk of ovarian, uterine, and fallopian tube cancer, which I am at higher risk for because of my BRCA2 gene. I am in a place that whatever I have to do to fight and beat this, let’s do it in 2012 so we can move on to the next chapter of our lives. We do have 3 frozen embryos that are a chance for a sibling for Stella, but they would have to be carried by a gestational carrier. We will cross that bridge and make that decision at a later date. And for now, I will be on Tamoxifen for 5 years (1 pill daily), and come back for check-ups every 3 months for a while, then every 6 months, then every year. I’m so grateful for every minute and every day with my daughter, husband, family and friends – and I’m looking forward to getting back to our normal life without being at the hospital all the time!

Last but not least, on a patient’s last day of chemo here at Presby, the tradition is that the nurses all gather around and throw confetti, then you ring the bell on the counter while you read the poem. I will leave you with this:
Ring out
Ring this bell
Three times well
The toll to clearly say
My treatments are done
Its course has run
And I am on my way.