Ready Or Not

I’ve worked on removing the word “should” from my vocabulary at my counselor’s advice. I have seen an overall improvement on my self esteem as a result. Thinking that I “should” or “should not” do something frames my thinking in negativity. For example, “I should feel excited about the last chemo treatment… but I don’t.”

Instead, before I say anything aloud or spend too much time or energy berating myself for not feeling or acting a certain way, I contemplate how and why I actually feel this way. Its a lot more helpful than just getting down on myself for doing or not doing something.

So let me say, I have some anxiety about finishing chemotherapy because it means going six weeks without any active cancer treatment.

I have visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute every week since the first day of August 2022. That’s nineteen straight Mondays of being in the same place to receive care. It was difficult. It became normal. It became predicable. It became comforting. It has become outright fun. And I will miss the safety and reassurance and friendship of my care team. They are an amazing team to one another, and give hope and kindness to hundreds of scared cancer patients.

And so I will have spent nineteen weeks with a wonderful support team to watch over me for about six hours every week. And if I ever had any concerns or troublesome side effects, they were a phone call away.

On Monday, December 12, 2022, I will have my last visit with them. It will feel like goodbye, but I’ve already promised everyone that I’ll come back with babies to visit. George will be coming to meet everyone for the first time when I ring the bell to celebrate my last chemo treatment. They’re wildly excited, and I just hope that he doesn’t hurt anyone or break anything.

(Actually, its a very real concern that the whole infusion center is decidedly not toddler proof, and there’s a delicate and expensive piece of equipment practically every six feet. It is a horde of tempting stimulus which George is not allowed to touch. We need a plan quick. Toddlers might have to stay in the waiting room for most of this visit.)

So the other part of my anxiety over ending chemotherapy is the worry that the tumor will be left to its own devices for six weeks. Could it come all the way back? Could it come back a little bit in a weird blob pattern which makes it difficult to completely cut out? I suppose none of these are particularly likely, but you if you leave a lady with an anxiety disorder alone with her thoughts, you don’t know what she’ll come up with.

I suppose its perfectly safe to wait that long. None on the lump’n’bump doctors seem to be concerned. And I understand that it is essential to wait at least three weeks to recover from chemo before laboring and another three weeks to recover from childbirth. Which, when you look at it that way, six weeks seems like a wildly short amount of time to fit in all of the healing I must accomplish.

Also, I felt similarly after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018. The doctors biopsied her, confirmed it, and proposed a treatment plan with lumpectomy and radiation all within a couple weeks. Then we had to wait for surgery. It seemed like a stupid plan to let the deadly thing grow inside of her, unmonitored and unchecked, for weeks while we waited for the surgeon’s schedule to open up. I can take comfort, though, because everything turned out alright; she survived and is thriving as a grandmother.

I suppose I can bring all this up to my Dr. Soniwala and ask for some reassurance or some context to help me understand better. It helps me to learn as much information as possible when I anxious about a topic.

So here I am, not ready to say goodbye, and frightened to begin the next step.

One response to “Ready Or Not”

  1. The light of God surrounds me
    The love of God enfolds me
    The power of God protects me
    The presence of God watches over me
    Wherever I am, God is and all is well


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