Yesterday I said goodbye to radiation and Unit #1. I told them that I hope to see them again, just not for treatment. They said that even though my treatment is done, to continue to rest and take care of the treated area because my symptoms should peak in about a week. What that means is that my cottage vacation includes no swimming or sitting out in the sun. Oh well, at least I'm done!
The second injection to shut down my ovaries last week went much better than the first. I have had no major reactions to it, only a big increase in hot flashes. Last night I woke up about 10 times because of it, so I will talk to my oncologist about anything to help that out. The changes that I can pinpoint from my first injection include some time off of work to rest my body and starting acupunture again. Although resting is a hard prescription for me to follow, I have seen the results of it directly in the past couple of weeks.
This afternoon I complete my 18th and last treatment of Herceptin. My body has had mixed reactions to this drug, so I am still a bit nervous about it, but will be very greatful to be done with this one (as will my veins). The pre-drugs they give me for this make me very drowsy for the better part of 24 hours afterwards, so I plan to pack up this morning and then just sleep any effects off.
It will take me a while to adjust my mindset to a maintenance mode for my cancer treatment. The good side of this is much more time for my body to heal, less visits to the cancer center and therefore more time for everything else in my life. The bad side of this might be that the anxiety of another recurrence will hit me harder than ever.
It is fairly normal for cancer survivors to be hit fairly hard mentally once they're out of the major treatments. While they are going through treatments, their mind is focused on survival and the next appointment, but afterwards it can all come crashing down. My knowing this in advance will definitely help me deal with it if it happens.
Tomorrow we leave for our vacation at my parents place and then we return to figure out what our new normal life will look like. I look at it like an exciting new opportunity to focus on the things in life that matter to me - my family, my job and my volunteer work, which all give me the opportunity to positively touch people's lives.
Use this chance to live through my learning and for the next few weeks take some time to figure out what is important to you and whether you are spending enough time on it. The fall is a great time for a fresh start!