I can’t believe that my last round of chemotherapy is 4 days away. It’s surreal. It’s been a long 5 months and I’m ready to put all of this behind me and move on with my life. I know that this experience is far from over considering the fact that I’ll still need to check in constantly with my oncologist and have routine blood tests and pet scans every so often. Not to mention the fact that just because I’m in remission doesn’t mean that this disease won’t be on my mind often at first.
The physical toll that the treatment has taken on my body is definitely noticable to me. Even on the weeks that I feel good I still get fatigued more than the average person which at times can be frustrating. At one point one of the drugs in the mix, bleomycin, caused my lung function to decrease by a lot which made me quickly become out of breath by simply taking a walk or going up a flight of stairs. Luckily that’s improved since they took that drug out of the equation. The hair loss was especially traumatic, but I accepted it pretty quickly and I know it will grow back soon so I don’t worry about it too much anymore. A week after my treatments I get this weird painful sensation all over my body. It hurts to even be touched! Again, luckily that only lasts a day or so and I’m used to it by now. In the beginning the Neulasta presented no side effects but lately it has been causing back and chest pain which was annoying. Last but not least, the anxiety throughout all of this has been the most debilitating. Worrying about my health and my future so much was never something I thought would be on my mind at this age. 21 is supposed to be fun and easier than this. It took me a while to stop feeling like I was cheated.
Enough about the negative stuff though…I’ve developed a new positive outlook. Despite how hard this process was for me, the outcome in the long run I know will be a good one. Before everything happened the way I was living was unacceptable. I didn’t have much of a direction and I wasn’t truly happy. I wasn’t very close with my family and I had no drive to do anything productive with my life. I was kind of just aimlessly coasting along. I wasn’t making good things happen for myself.
Things are so much different now. I’m so much closer to my family and it’s great. I now have so much more ambition than I ever did. There’s so much that I want to do. There are places that I want to go and things that I want to see and I know that only I have the power to make that happen. Normal every day activities I will never take for granted again like working or being able to be independent. I’m already thinking about going back to school and working again. Stopping to enjoy the little things is so much more important than I ever thought. Things really can change at any given moment and it’s essential to appreciate what you have when you have it.
I’m realizing that it’s not just a normal ”life” that I’m anxious to get back to; it’s an extraordinary one that I’m anxious to begin.