Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last-Chemo-Day Eve

You know that giddy feeling you got as a kid on Christmas Eve? The unsettled one that's burrowed deep in your belly? That's what I've got going on right now. It's the eve of my last chemo infusion - number 12.

I'm excited about it all being over. I'm nervous that it's not over forever. I'm anxious that something will go wrong and anxious about how my mind will react when this routine of doc appointments and pill popping is suddenly ripped away. I'm even a little bit sad to not being seeing my cancer center buddies multiple times a week. There's a lot of turmoil going on in my belly.

I've been what some may call manically happy over the past couple of days. I've found a long-lost bounce in my step - was even doing distance trials sliding across the wood floors in my socks while brushing my teeth last night and doing a whole lot of singing in the car. I cried a lot on my drive home from work today. Not because I was sad or afraid, but because I was (and am) so happy about life. The striking colors of the trees' leaves against the wispy white clouds and the deep orange October sun took my breath away. I felt so happy to be alive and to know that I'm going to keep on living and get to see this beauty every single day. I blared my favorite Rent songs until the car speakers shook, rolled down all the windows, cranked up my seat heater, and belted out every word as hot tears poured down my cool cheeks. I felt so full of life that it was truly overwhelming.

Part of me can't believe that I made it here; I never thought the day would actually come when I'd be crying out of pure, unadulterated joy rather than heart-wrenching pain. Another part of me feels like this has all gone by so fast and can't even remember the bad times. It's been the longest and shortest six months of my life all at once. And tomorrow I'm going to take that prize that I've kept my eye focused on all along - closing out the "dirty dozen" as one wise and witty co-worker phrased it.

I tried to recall how I felt the night before my first chemo treatment but remembered that I didn't have a "night before." It all happened very quickly. When the extent of my cancer was determined and the decision made that waiting for fertility procedures would be to risk my life, I was sent in to chemo that day. I had no time to prepare, no time to think. I was told to drink a lot of water as it'd be a good idea to be hydrated and that was that. Oh, how little I knew.

Now with 11 infusions under my belt I go in tomorrow as an expert in something that I never wanted to be an expert in. Unfortunately being an expert in the process also means that I'm an expert in the effects of the process. One last time I again have the aches, pains and uneasiness to look forward to, but the key words are "one. last. time."


  1. we've got your back, Karin, and won't let you fall - anything you need - ask, and we'll do our best to provide it - and if we can't, we'll make sure we can refer you to someone who can...

    so for now, relish in the fact that you did it! On behalf of the Gray Cancer Center, I can say that I know, we are really, super proud of you...

    keep kickin' cancer's ass...

  2. I am so happy for you and proud of you. "Enjoy" every last drip of that cancer kickin' ABVD cocktail!


  3. think of you today!!! much love. and sianara chemo.