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One down, fifty-one to go.

November 16, 2012

This is something I wrote but never posted during my first week of chemo:

I survived the first week. Here are the statistics as sort of a baseline and to mark my progress:

Infusions administered: 5
Needle sticks: 5 (all in the first three days)
Pills taken: around 110
Miles walked: 13
Vomits: 0
Days spent in bed curled in the fetal position: 1/2

We are aggressively managing symptoms and using as much prevention as we can. The good part is that the symptoms have a pretty predictable schedule and we can plan for that. The other good thing is that most of them are manageable with medicine.

Looking back, that first week was just a hint of what was to come.

This is the email I sent my boss this week. It is short and sweet and to the point:

Good afternoon,

I just wanted to give you a quick update. I met with the oncologist this week and because of the peripheral neuropathy I have been having in my hands and feet, he stopped the drugs. No more chemo. He said that stopping now doesn’t increase my risk of recurrence so it is safe and the neuropathy may not improve so he/we definitely don’t want it to get any worse.

So, this week marks the end of cancer treatment and the beginning of the rest of my life! I will still have total body scans every three months for the next two years and will be followed very closely by both oncology and dermatology but as of right now, I have no evidence of disease.

I am still going to take some time off because I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, but when I come back to work, I will be coming back full time. And stronger than I have been in months.

Thanks again for all of your support through this, Mareeka

I am having a mix of emotions about completing treatment. It is a mix of thrilled and afraid. It is that moment, that split second when you top the hill on a roller coaster and the click, click, click of hill climbing machinery becomes the whoosh of the rapid, squeal inducing free fall. I am so excited to be finish with the treatment part and frightened because I am not exactly sure how to deal with the daily what if’s.

My body is worn out. So is my brain, so is my heart, if that is a reasonable thing to say. I am taking the holidays off to recover.

Two weeks and I will have scans again that will confirm that in am still cancer free!

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