I couldn’t sleep tonight (it’s all those damn hot flashes… Goes with the territory of having your womanhood destroyed by chemotherapy, I suppose). So, I’ve begun to think of what my recent remission means to me.
1) I’m still on drugs, to a point. Just because I’m in remission doesn’t mean I can just forget the fact that I’ve had cancer three times now. I have maintenance chemo, as well as drugs to take at home.
2) I wonder how long it’ll take me to regain my strength. I’m dying to go back to school full time, to go hiking and camping again, and to ride my bike! The littlest thing makes me tired right now. Maybe I should stick to yoga for a bit.
3) Will people understand that being in remission doesn’t mean i’m instantly well? That it could take me over a year to fully recover? (I wasn’t recovered when I got cancer this last time.)
Lots of things to think about. Also, I’m not thinking as quickly as I was before. And I get tired easily. And I still feel absolutely awful sometimes. What does that mean? My onc dangled the carrot of remission in front of my face for so long that I think I forced my body into it. My labs were looking better before, but there wasn’t the massive increase like there was this time. What if it doesn’t last? I don’t think I could handle all of this a fourth time.
I already feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of life’s opportunities. My friends are all graduating this year. I’ll still be at OSU, and I’ll probably get my PhD before my bachelors (at the rate i’m going). Also, I’ve missed almost 2 years of sorority functions. And now I’m Alumnae. Just like that. Poof – gone. That makes me sad. I wanted alumnae status in a way because I’m too old to be in a sorority, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.
Stupid cancer ruined my college experience. F u, cancer. Life could be much worse, but I’m glad it isn’t.
As of November 11th, I’m officially in remission. It’s been a very, very long time, and I’m extremely lucky to be finished relatively unscathed. My bladder and kidneys are still subpar, but compared to others with the same cancer as I had, this is definitely a blessing.
The power of prayer does work, and I wanted to take this moment to thank everyone who has prayed for me. My remission really is unexplained, and a miracle in itself. My fleet of doctors didn’t think I’d achieve remission until after Christmas, but it’s the middle of November, and already we’re talking about maintenance drugs, and what remission will mean for the future. I have a future, thanks to everyone who prayed for me. I know you can argue that I was lucky, and science was on my side. That may be true, but I truly believe my remission is a gift from God. He granted our prayers that I get better. If anything, this is further proof that God exists (for me). Cancer really affected my outlook on life. It made me realize that life is precious, and can be short. I had to confront my own mortality. It’s hard laying in a hospital bed and being told that you could die, and even harder to see friends walk away from you because they don’t understand how sick you really are. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was dying. One night, I looked over to my friend and told him the whole story, trying hard not to cry. We both cried that night for a long time, and he told me (I’ll always remember this): “You will not die. I will not let you die.” We both prayed so hard that night, and continued to every night. I still pray every night, but it’s a prayer of thanksgiving.
It’s been a wild ride. I’ve had blood transfusions, been put on the kidney transplant list, stayed for nights on end in a small, sterile hospital room, and have visited the ER more times than I’d like to admit. I’m just glad I’m on the upwards road to recovery, and that I had such supportive friends and family along the way. So, thank you everyone who gave me words of encouragement and a hand to hold during these past few months.