When I finished chemo for breast cancer, my friends all congratulated me. I hugged my chemo nurse tightly and then walked to the hospital healing garden and cried.
When I finished radiation I rang the bell. The waiting room was filled with patients cheering for me. I looked out at them.
And I cried.
When I finished all of my surgeries and my year long extra infusion treatment (thank you aggressive cancer) I ate ice cream.
What you don’t know about cancer …is that your treatments may be over- but there’s no finish line.
Because it’s alway there.
It may be the scar from your port that saved your veins from being poked each week.
Or it may be the scars from your surgeries. (Now less raw- less red- but no less prominent on the body.)
Or the little blue tattoo dots from your radiation treatments.
Or it may be your anxiety and fear of being re-diagnosed.
Or PTSD (which is very real post cancer)
Or you may be depressed.
Or the cancer meds you’re on for the next 5-10 years (to prevent reoccurrence) are causing your joints to ache and your sex life to be nonexistent.
Or you are not sure how to work a new normal into your life (because I assure you – as much as you want to believe you move on and forget… (you don’t forget because of the damn cancer meds)
(You do, however, move on)
A 31-day reminder that I had breast cancer.
There are pink t-shirts and baseball hats and pink cookies and tote bags.
There are reminders to get mammograms and do self breast exams.
But what Pinktober doesn’t tell you is that cancer is a part of your life-even when you’re done.
It was a chapter in your book (and for those living with metastatic breast cancer-the chapter doesn’t end)
It takes a toll on us mentally (often more than physically.)
So we thank you for the congratulatory hug and the ringing of the bell (and we always thank you for the ice cream ) but keep checking in on your cancer friends from time to time.
Not just in Pinktober
I am Mom to two, wife to one. I’ve been dealt a few crappy cards (including breast cancer twice and a stint in the NICU with a premature son.) However, I choose to blog about my life so I can complain openly and freely. I want to be a writer when I grow up.