Cycle 4, day 1. In about an hour, I will head to the hospital infusion suite for what I hope will be my final round of chemo. I say “hope” because you never know. I’m enough of a realist, and experienced in the vagaries of cancer, to know that the cancer could come back, or that we’ll find out that they didn’t get it all with this round of treatment, and I could be back here again. But for today, I’m functioning on the assumption that this will be the last round for now. A survivor friend of mine told me early in my journey that the words “for now” were important ones to include in one’s vocabulary as a survivor, and boy do I get it.
The day of treatment is usually pretty uneventful, if you consider getting hooked up to an IV of toxic chemicals and other preventative ones uneventful. But it doesn’t hurt, the nursing and other staff are really pleasant, and they strive to keep me comfortable with warm blankets and delivered lunch, and it’s three hours of being around people, so not bad as things go in this.
Since this is my last treatment, and the last round’s side effects hit early and hard and effects are cumulative, I’m expecting that the steroid high will be short-lived, and that I’ll be relatively miserable by sometime tomorrow. I have some new strategies to deal with the worst of it, that I hope will prevent having to spend Thanksgiving in the ER on IV hydration. But if that’s how it goes, that’s how it goes, and thinking it will be the last time will help get me through. As will having family around. While I’m not at all looking forward to having my children and their partners see me go through the worst of this (they haven’t seen it yet, and while they’ve talked to me on the phone, trust me it’s not pretty and might scare them), having them around will do wonders for my spirits, which often flag when I do.
Thanksgiving itself should be interesting with the kids taking on the set up and prep and cooking. But they seem game and enthusiastic, and if nothing else, we’ll make some new traditions. I took advantage of having a bit of energy in the last week and made and froze the pies, got some other things prepped, and hopefully will be able to brine the turkey tomorrow morning before I crash. I also wrote out a menu and a timetable for the day so that they don’t have to worry about when to cook what to juggle things in the oven. I’m not a control freak, oh no, not a bit.
But I will be thankful for family, an amazing support system, being this far along in treatment, with hopefully the worst of it soon behind me.