Today, I “graduated” from my short-term, cancer-focused therapy and it feels like an occasion that should be marked. The organization providing this is CancerCare (cancercare.org) and I can’t say enough good things about the support and help I have received from them. They are based in NYC, but offer their services free-of-charge to cancer patients across the U.S. In addition to therapy, they offer online and in-person support groups. Unlike my experience with the American Cancer Society, I feel as if this group really does care about cancer patients and offers services that impacts our lives in real time.
I signed up for the phone therapy shortly after completing radiation, as I correctly suspected that I might need help once active treatment was over to help manage “life after treatment.” It was six half-hour sessions, and because of scheduling, took place over the course of three months. What was so helpful to me was hearing from an experienced oncology social worker that what I was going through was normal among cancer patients, that I wasn’t being a wimp, and that there was a light at the end of this very long tunnel. There really wasn’t anyone else in my life with whom I could have that conversation and it helped to normalize what I was going through and to appreciate the small steps I was taking to get my life back.
Today, I feel as if my life is coming back to me — albeit slowly. I went with a good friend to a craft fair about an hour away, and I drove and walked for several hours in the hot sun, and I was fine. Doing any part of that would have been inconceivable to me a month ago, let alone at the end of treatment. I’m back to doing yard work, swimming, tackling some painting and other projects around the house, and am engaged in some interesting volunteer and consulting work. Wow. I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever get this far and now that I’m here, I know that I can go further in time.
In other “new beginnings” this week, I got what I like to refer to as “baby’s first haircut.” Yes, I had my already short chemo curls shaped and shortened and styled and I feel like a new woman. I have worn my hair this short before and the style now feels more intentional and less like clown hair.
Life looks pretty good today.