On Monday I had my final herceptin IV treatment at the cancer agency. I had been counting down from 17 and it was finally the last one. For months prior, in my head I imagined what the day might be like – happy, jubilant, free. I had wanted to throw a huge backyard party loaded with balloons, flowers and cake. I had an idea for this “Fuck Cancer Cake” post, a companion piece to my breast cancer cakes. But then, when Monday rolled around, I felt altogether different. I was sitting in the chemo chair, trying to feel brave as the nurse counted to three before poking the needle into the port bump on my chest, my bionic body part. I kept looking at my husband for reassurance of some kind. The medicine began flowing in and my mouth filled with the taste of it – the last time I would taste that?? My last IV. But there was no feeling of joy or freedom that I had imagined. Instead I found myself feeling… numb. Then just… petrified all over again. A dam broke, and the tears came pouring out. It didn’t help that the two women also receiving chemo across from me were both in for recurrences. I held onto Rich’s hand and sobbed.
“I just want this all to be over. I don’t ever want to come back here.”
My IV bag emptied into the hole in my chest, the nurse pulled the needle out and I got a band-aid to cover it up. We got out of the cancer agency and I came home to beautiful white hydrangeas from Rich and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, my request. When we pulled into the driveway, Teddy was waiting for us with his nanny Cor and his smile was huge – I scooped him up and told him mommy just had her last “special medication appointment!” and I tried to feel happy. We ordered dinner from our favourite pizza place and did a small toast between the three of us. My mom came by with pink peonies and my sister dropped off a bouquet and treat.
We put Teddy to bed at dusk. I laid in Rich’s arms while he allowed me to sob into his chest. I couldn’t stop crying. I think I had been keeping it together and feeling strong and good for a few months now. But now with the final treatment I could finally let go. I cried for those who weren’t finished treatment and might never be finished. I cried out of worry, fear. I felt so overwhelmed and inarticulate. I cried out of relief that I was finished but still uncertain of whether or not all of this treatment has worked. I cried thinking about how much I love my husband and son and how I never want to leave them. And then I just decided to let those feelings be. Sometimes I can’t wrap my feelings up into a succinct idea or thought or expression. I don’t know when I will feel whole again. So instead, for now, on a teensy minuscule piece of the internet… a Fuck Cancer cake. xo Lyndsay
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