Happy. No, ecstatic. Giddy, even.
I could list even more emotions -- all of which I have felt today.
I knew my last chemo treatment would arrive and that it would bring with it the conflict of feelings.
I knew it.
And yet I was totally unprepared.
Unprepared for the shakiness as I sat in the lab chair waiting for my port to be accessed.
Unprepared to have tears as I talked with nurse Katherine.
Unprepared for the panic rising. Literally rising.
Unprepared for the sadness as I realized I won't be able to follow Denny, the man who, -- in January, was given 10 weeks to live. Or Eleanor. The Russians. The young girls, both of whom are probably barely 20.
Unprepared for the surprise of the nurses -- "what? today is your last treatment? You're not doing more herceptin? Aren't you coming for the weekly 1 year herceptin treatment?"
Unprepared for the second guessing of my decision to participate in the clinical trial.
Unprepared for more tears. After treatment was finished, nurse Katherine said to me "o.k., when you get up and get your things together, I am going to give you a hug". So, I get up, hobble to the bathroom, go in and shut the door, and immediately burst into tears.
Unprepared to deal with myself and all this crying. Oh my goodness. Wipe away the tears, give myself a verbal lashing -- "pull yourself together, Drenda". Go back out, hug nurse Katherine, and more tears. Not sobbing, but the silent tear rolling down the cheek type of crying. Those eyes/tears ducts are not under my control apparently.
Since December 18th, my life has been chemo.
Chemo and its side effects.
I now move on into another unknown. Knowledge, good and bad, in some ways equals safety.
But now I feel unsafe.
Unsafe and unprepared.
Unprepared, even though the consent form for the clinical trial was 24 pages of possible side effects. That is, supposedly, preparation. That is a lot of side effects, I must say.
I am still unprepared.
But I am just as happy and excited.
Because I have stayed the course.
I have jumped one of the major hurdles of breast cancer treatment -- and I didn't fall. I clipped that hurdle a few times, I hit it with my feet or my legs as I jumped. But I did jump, and I cleared that hurdle.
There were times that I didn't think I'd make it. I didn't think I could continue one more day, one more hour, one more minute, one more hot flash or one more night laying awake with severe bone aches.
But I did.
I made it. And I think it is fair to say that I came through chemotherapy with flying colors.
Jerry would agree. I know he would.
God has protected me. My immune system is compromised due to the chemo. And yet, there have been times when Ellie was very ill, times when Don has been quite ill, people at work sick with coughs and colds, and I have been protected. No colds. No illness. Even with all that illness around me, my blood counts have remained in the "safe" low levels.
I will focus on the excitement.
I will focus on the achievement.
I AM stronger because of chemotherapy.
And I WILL be courageous as I face the next steps.
"HAVE I NOT COMMANDED YOU? BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT BE TERRIFIED; DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL BE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO." JOSHUA 1:9