June 22, 2016 marked MY LAST CHEMO TREATMENT!! No words can ever describe how I felt that day. Besides the obvious sense of relief and gratitude, I just KNEW the physical symptoms I experienced for the past 4 months were about to be a thing of the past. No more muscle ache and joint pain! No more of that annoying tingling and numbness in my fingers and toes! No more exhaustion and my short term memory certainly wont be foggy anymore. You couldn’t tell me my eyelashes and eyebrows were not about to be on fleek and that I wasn’t walking out of the nail salon with the dopest gel mani in life right after I left my last treatment! I was going right back to the normal life I had on January 5, the day before my world was flipped upside down. HA! I thought I was at the end of this process, but I realize now I am actually at the beginning.
My cancer responded extremely well to the chemo and besides the “normal” reactions to the drug treatment, my body did pretty damn good! **insert praise break and TESTimony** So because I didnt have to make any late night/early morning trips to the ER, I assumed all of the normal reactions would subside or at least become bearable. Almost 6 weeks post chemo and I can honestly say that hasnt been the case. The physical aspects however, have been the LEAST of my worries. Now that my body is on the come up and slowly recovering, my spirit needs some Tender Loving Care.
My body and soul have been in constant “slay” mode and now its like “whats next??” I find myself desperately wanting my “old” life back although I know that will never happen. I cant even mention how many times I’ve said “this time last year” within these weeks post chemo. I mourn the loss of my unscarred body, my shoulder length locs, and I miss being so naive as to be believe I am bullet-proof and immortal. My outlook on life has been forever changed. Having cancer and going through chemo taught me important lessons about things that really matter, things I thought I already knew.
The security of seeing my health care team every week is now gone which leaves me in a constant state of fear. I depended on chemo physically and mentally. Although it made me feel like sh*t, I was ACTIVELY fighting this disease….but now what? Now I worry every time I have the slightest ache or pain thinking the cancer has returned. Sometimes I’m even afraid to make long time plans thinking that I wont be able to fulfill those goals and dreams……. BUT G O D ……
2 Timothy 1:7 says ” For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”
Ive been trying to combat these fears by focusing on what’s most important to me each day. Just because I am “done with cancer”, I will never be done. My diet has changed, I’m currently prepping for post chemo surgeries, thousands of future tests and doctor appointments but most importantly , I am trying my best to LIVE with uncertainty. It can be hard for people who have not been touched by cancer to understand and fully conceptualize all of this.
I guess I wont be getting that gel mani anytime soon because my nail beds are still black and fragile *sigh* BUT I am slowly but surely leaving that Twilight Zone of being a cancer patient. I will never be the same Deniece ….. I am stronger, wiser and more aware of my place in this world. I guess I found the silver lining in the cloud called cancer. Just put a “S on my chest” and call me “Super- De, The Cancer Slayer” from now on.