Monday, January 14, 2013

Counting Time

As a cancer patient, I mark the passing of time in three week increments between infusions (a phenomenon described eerily by Susan Gubar for the NY Times here). These last three weeks - with the winding down of the holidays, Chris gone to the field for eight days, a huge work deadline for me, and Quinn's bronchitis and sleeping troubles - time flew by. It didn't seem like enough downtime between treatments. Usually, I'm feeling back to normal and exercising regularly by the time my next infusion rolls around, but out of sheer exhaustion, that didn't happen this round.

It feels like I've barely had time to come up for air, and the next wave is knocking me over again, dragging me under and spinning me around while I hold my breath and wait to be spit onto shore.

I had chemo this morning, and if you count the six rounds of chemo I had last fall, today was my fifteenth infusion over a total of thirty-nine weeks, which is coincidentally the exact amount of time I was pregnant with Quinn. This seems like a nice stopping point - just the right amount of time to produce a healthy new life. And as with pregnancy, my body is achy and tired, I'm having trouble sleeping through the night, and I'm totally ready to be done and on to the next phase.

When I finished up chemo last December, the nurses showered me with confetti and made a big deal of it being my last round; it's a tradition they do for all their patients. The few of these celebrations I've witnessed over the last six months were bittersweet for me, not having a definite end date or specific number of treatments to complete before I could say "I'm done!" this time. In the beginning of this cycle, all my oncologist would commit to was, "At least six months," and "We'll see."

As I think I've mentioned, I have a PET/CT scan this Friday. If it's clean, my doctor will drop the Taxotere (the chemo component), and I'll just be on maintenance drugs long-term, or as long as there is no evidence of disease. If it's clean, today will have been my LAST CHEMO, possibly ever, but there was no confetti this morning. My nurse didn't want to jinx anything; she didn't even mention it until she was giving me my flu shot at the end of the day, just before I headed home.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but after October's clean scan, I'm cautiously optimistic. And I don't know about you all, but as much as it makes for exciting cliffhangers and quirky plot twists, I'm ready to focus on something other than three week infusion cycles, how many steroid pills I still have to take, how few eyebrow hairs are still holding on (about a dozen per side, if you're interested). I'm ready for what's next: time to focus on my growing boy, time to write a book about this crazy journey, time to reconnect with my husband, time, time, and more time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cameron, feel free to contact me directly at jen dot campisano at gmail dot com.