Done Doesn't Mean Finished

My last chemotherapy treatment was a standard day 8 cycle treatment and it took place this past Friday, May 13th. When I entered the doctor's office I began to feel apprehensive about whether or not my blood work would be sufficient to allow me to have treatment. After all, it was Friday the 13th! The last thing I wanted was to have to postpone treatment for any length of time. I had been so focused on May 13th as my end date! Thankfully, my blood work was fine (my spreadsheet is updated) and I was able to begin my last treatment.

The treatment itself was uneventful. Standard pre-meds consisting of benadryl, maniitol and steroids were administered before the IP taxol infusion began. As always, the benadryl made me very sleepy, so that combined with the lack of sleep from the night before, made it easy for me to fall asleep! When I woke up, there was a friend waiting for me who I wasn't expecting! She told me that she wanted to be there for my last treatment. Shortly after that, the friend that I was expecting to pick me up arrived. And then a third friend. 

At the end of my treatment, I received a medal, flowers and two terrific signs. There were hugs all around, pictures taken. The nurses at the office are wonderful! They told me I was one of the few patients to get through all 6 IP treatments "on schedule."

But just because I finished my last treatment, that doesn't mean I am finished. I am still dealing with side effects, mostly fatigue and neuropathy, I have blood work, a CT Scan and chest x-ray this week, then a follow-up appointment with my oncologist on Thursday next week. Between now and then, I find myself worrying about the results; did the chemo do what it was supposed to do? Even as I begin to feel better physically, I am reminded of my cancer every time I pass a mirror. My hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are gone. I have gained 25 pounds since beginning treatment, so very few of my clothes fit. I wonder how long it will be before I feel "normal" again?

I met with an oncologist social worker last night. We talked about a number of things. I told her I was anxious to get back to running, because I know it will make me feel better, both physically and mentally. I also told her that I spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not the chemo did its job, and that it gets worse the closer I get to my scan appointment. She suggested that I see an oncologist rehabilitation specialist, which is available to me through DuPage Medical Group (once I get a referral of course). We also worked on ways to "break the worry cycle" so if you see me staring at pictures of lilacs or sniffing a lilac scented candle, you will know I am working on relaxing!