Raising Hope

Well, it happened. I have completed my last chemo! The day seemed to come and go so fast. The pricks were painless. I got hugs from doctors and nurses. I slept through most of my infusion, which was odd for me. Before I knew it, it was time to say good-bye. I almost forgot to go back for my Neulasta shot the next day. It was the only appointment that had slipped my mind during this whole fiasco. My next appointment isn’t until June. It is just hard to believe.

My doctor said that patients often ask her when they will start to feel like their normal selves again. She said that she has seen people feel normal within three months; some patients said it took more like 18. I have been doing fairly well during this whole thing, so hopefully I am in the 3-month category.

I don’t look forward to the boney pain that will be coming any moment now, but knowing that it will be the last time does make me feel a little bit better. This whole cancer journey has been life changing. You can’t go back to the way you viewed the world before.

Alex took me to the cancer center this last time and commented on how placating everyone was. They expected you to feel sad, bad, or scared. There are a lot of “I’m sorry” or poor you talk. It is as if the professionals don’t know how to really talk to you, but they feel like they have to semi-care. Their words are hollow, or they don’t really say the tough things they sometimes needs to.

At the beginning of this process, I brought a set of people with me every time I went to the cancer center to ward off this bad buzz. I knew that if I got hooked into the gloom or sadness that it would set me back. As the time continued, I realized that I had built up enough of my confidence to be able to let this energy role off my back without a buffer.

I feel pretty good. I know that I am not a victim. I had a little health setback, got my tune up, and am ready to roar again. So, I guess this becomes a cancer survivor’s blog. Trust me, I still have a lot to learn. I will struggle to get back on my feet and will fail on occasion as I take some of my new skills into practice. I need to rebuild my stamina, figure out what to do with my career, find a new place to live, and search to find love and other meaning in my life. I am also going to have to learn that the journey is not a means to an end, it is meant to be explored and enjoyed along the way.

I want to share another little something with you.

As a birthday present, I invited my sister over to Alex and Max’s to work on her “clown” face. Since my sister was teeny tiny, she has wanted to be a clown. It actually runs in the family. My grandfather was a magician clown and worked at the clown museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. My sister always dreamed of going to Barnum and Bailey’s clown college. Of course, as so often is the case, as adulthood came calling…people pushed her away from her dream and it was put in a box and shoved into a closet.

As Alex, Max, and I began realizing that maybe those childhood dreams are worth pursuing now as an adult, we shared this knowledge with my sister and encouraged her to take another look at what really brought her joy. I have taken her to costume stores and have helped her find costumes and make-up. Alex finally took the day yesterday to show her how to use it and came up with her new clown face.

It is beautiful!

I encourage you to find your inner child’s passion and pursue it too. It is worth rekindling.