Tomorrow is my last day of radiotherapy. Last day of treatment. Day of treatment. Treatment. Day. Last . . . Sorry, bit of a tangent there. Anyhow, I’m going to interview myself about this experience and see what happens. *Warning, my stomach is all bubbles right now, and this may influence my answers.
Me: Catherine, how do you feel about finishing treatment?
Me: Great, it’s been a heck of a process and I’m glad things are wrapping up.
Me: Any nerves about the future? I’ve heard that patients often feel a loss after finishing treatment and aren’t sure what to do next.
Me: Nerves? Hmm. Yes. I’ve heard recurrence is most likely within the first two years, and then there is that five year mark as well. Also, I guess I’m a wee bit nervous to learn whether or not I’m genetically inclined toward breast cancer/ovarian cancer because if so it might mean tough decisions in the future . . . when really, I’d like to forget this ever happened.
Me: Do you think you’ll ever forget?
Me. Nope. Maybe I’ll forget to remember, but this past year has been life changing – the impact is ingrained into my life, kind of absorbed, for better and for worse. So that’s hard to forget, though I hope I might eventually forget to remember.
Me: What do you mean, better and worse?
Me: Better as in I value life, value health, value everything more than before. Mind you, I’ve always been thankful for being here. . . but cancer was a wake-up/shake-up, which everyone probably has in their life – and they are good things because in hard times we cling to what most matters. I clung to my family and friends, and to my writing. It really made priorities come into the forefront. That’s incredibly valuable. Plus, I’ll be going home for a while too, which is nice.
Me: And worse?
Me: Worse . . . worse as in, there is this shadow that I push into the background but can’t detach myself from. I’ll always have the appointments, the screenings, the need to take medication and supplements galore . . . when really I’d rather just ditch it all and go live by Horseshoe Lake as a reclusive writer who brews excellent tea, loves her husband and is often visited by friends and family. . . but that’s just hiding from the problem (and it’s not like I can’t have both realities at once, I can have a lakefront home and take medication, of course). Hiding is no more a solution than whining.
Me: What has cancer meant to you?
Me: That’s a stupid question. It’s not like cancer is some long time friend who means the world to me, cancer is cancer. It means struggle, but if I can make this past year worth something, then cancer will maybe mean change. Change . . . opportunity. I guess it’s not a stupid question, but cancer isn’t my friend. Even if my life improves as a result (which is great and I’m open for that to happen), even then, cancer isn’t friendly. However, there are worse wake-up calls.
Me: What’s next for you after treatment?
Me: I have a long list of obligations, holidays, plans . . . but I guess at the core of everything is the idea of moving forward and reclaiming my life. My plan is to reclaim my life – feel good in my skin, feel good in my efforts. I also look forward to my period, which I’m still hoping for, because it’d be lovely to start a family in a couple years.
Me: Would you like a cup of tea right now? Or maybe a sliced orange?
Me: Yes, how did you know?
Me: Lucky guess.
And so I’m going now to steep some tea and slice an orange. Tomorrow is radiotherapy for the last time. And I really, really want this to be the LAST time. Fingers crossed for long-lasting positive results! Hopefully this past year has been worth the effort. Yay for the end of radiotherapy!!