My dear friends and family … my chemo treatments are DONE! Finito! Finished! Well … hopefully. I had my last chemotherapy treatment on January 5th, and since I have been responding so well to the treatments my doctor is pretty confident that we can move forward to the next step. The next step is to have a a PET scan done so that my oncologist can see how much the tumor has shrunk and find out if there is any other cancerous activity going on “down there”. During my last visit, my oncologist did a peeky-poo and said my tumor has shrunk so much it is almost non-existent! What?!?! How?? 7 weeks ago it was the size of a tennis ball, now it’s almost gone? I am both shocked and very happy about the news, but there could potentially be something else going on around my uterus and/or ovaries that my doctor can’t examine, which is why my up-coming PET scan will play a very important role as to what happens next. If all looks well, I will have a minor surgery to remove some lymph nodes (so the cancer does not spread) and start radiation treatment. If, however, the scan reveals active cancer cells then I may have to continue chemotherapy. My scan is this Friday and we should find out the results pretty quick afterwards. I promise to keep everyone updated!! WISH ME LUCK!!
Wow. I can’t believe I am only 7 weeks into this experience. Nothing could have prepared me for being diagnosed with cancer, and I am still trying to “deal” with my diagnosis. It’s hard to explain how I have been feeling lately, but I catch myself in a moment totally forgetting that I even have cancer. I catch myself pretending like everything is “normal” and it’s just another Sunday where I have to rest for for another week of working 9 to 5. NOT. “Just kidding, Kathy, your life is not normal. You have cancer! Sorry!” Ugh.
So, how do I keep a sense of normalcy during this chaotic time? This answer is …I don’t. I can’t. There is no normal right now, and unfortunately I am just finding this out. This happened so quickly for me that I didn’t have time to sit back and let it all soak in. I just went through the motions and did what the nice doctor told me to do. I didn’t get a pamphlet explaining my treatments, I didn’t get a “What To Expect” book on cancer; my situation was so dire that I had to put my trust in my medical team and let them lead the way. Obviously it’s working on a physical level – my body is accepting the treatment and responding very positively. But emotionally, I am not sure if I have fully accepted that I have been diagnosed. Even going through chemotherapy and losing my hair, mentally I still don’t want to believe that cancer is happening to ME. I think part of the reason is because I have had multiple people in my life and others who have died or been negatively affected by cancer only within the last 6 months. People’s lives have been cut short or compromised because of this illness … how do I tell myself, “Yeah. I have that, too.”? I am incredibly lucky that cervical cancer is so treatable and I will be cancer free very soon. But cancer is cancer, and each day that I’m alive is a blessing all on its own.
On a POSITIVE note (!!), I am finally learning to take care of myself! I am the girl who was always focused on everyone and everything except herself; I focused on work, focused on people liking me at work, keeping peace within the family, and being the person that satisfied everyone else. After years of this behavior, I had buried my true self underneath all of that and now I am ready for a little TLC. I am starting uncover hopes and dreams that I never knew I had! And it feels so good! I wouldn’t be going through this transformation if my diagnosis wasn’t here to slow my life down. Not only have I had more time to focus on myself, but this has given me a chance to work on relationships, too. In 7 weeks my life has completely changed and now I feel ready to embrace it.
New hopes, new dreams, new me. It could be worse!! 🙂 This is the ultimate reality check, but it doesn’t have to happen like this for you. Peel back the layers and find out what makes you tick. What makes you excited? What kind of person do you want to be? Describe what your job would be, your outfits, your home, etc. What are your dreams? I say take your dreams and inflate them ten times bigger. Now THAT’S A DREAM! In the game of life, go big or go home. Amen!