So, nobody ever talks openly about life after cancer treatment. I had envisioned it many, many times nevertheless. Nobody tells you it’s hard. They don’t explain that you may not be the same person inside and out when it’s all over. They also don’t explain that it may not be over when you think you’re done. And while that may not necessarily be a bad thing, it’s a scary realization.
The last day of chemo was one of those days that evoked an array of emotions. It didn’t matter how sick I felt, or how anxious I was pulling into the hospital parking lot, because this was it. No more chemo regardless of what happens after today. (So, I thought with a 90% certainty).
The first couple weeks thereafter were typical. Still battled the flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue, although I felt as if an elephant was lifted off of my shoulders. No more anticipation of the next Thursday. Thank God. Now, nearly 5 weeks later I am riddenend with all these new emotions. I am boggled down with fear that my PET will show trace amounts of active cancer. (My doctor prefers to wait until chemo is complete to do a PET, so I have not had one since initial staging).
Aside from the “scanxiety”, I feel a sense of loneliness and confusion that I wasn’t prepared for. The PET was inconclusive and the CT showed adenopathy and “stuff” going on in my chest. Screw you cancer and the horse you rode in on. Today should have been the day I was given my life back, but instead I have more uncertainty and frustration than I’ve had in months.
I will have more answers on Monday morning. More tests and further discussion. And then we wait. Again. 30 days to see if the lymphadenopathy will go away. 30 days to see if the lymphoma is spreading. Or 30 days to see if it’s just the aftermath of the chemo effects inside my chest.
When I had my mid chemo scan back in June, I was responding positively to the ABVD regimen. I showed no sign of lymphadenopathy. Dr. Dang told me this morning that 10% of patients with a similar case of Hodgkin’s will not respond to chemo or will have a relapse during treatment. Unfortunately, I may be one of those 10%.
Cancer is unpredictable, and it can be quite resilient, so I’m learning the hard way. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Unfavorable Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Nodular Sclerosis. The “unfavorable” meaning 3 or more cancer spots or lymph nodes involved. I had the “good” cancer they said. Now, I’m rather insulted that any cancer is referred to as good.
Best case scenario is that the lymphoma has not returned and I will deal with issues in my chest due to almost 6 months of chemo. Worst case scenario is that a month from now we will be preparing for a more aggressive approach involving high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.
If you believe in positive vibes, send them this way. If you believe in the power of prayer, please keep my family in yours. I do not want my son to see his mom sick any longer. It’s not over…Yet. I will never give up, never give in.