An English Breakfast: Frank and Beans
Today was my last infusion! I can’t even describe how I feel, it seems very surreal (well this whole cancer thing still does) and at the same time, I still subconsciously had anxiety/nausea for what the day entails and the week to come.
To mark the end of my treatment, I was awarded a Purple Heart Award (for bravery) from the nurses, which they all wrote sweet notes on and signed. One of the nurses, Mary Jane(one of my favs), commented to me that it’s not easy graduating from Chemotherapy. My mom and I joked later about how it wasn’t really a place I ever imagined or wanted to graduate from, but given the circumstances, thankful I did.
Since we are talking awards and it’s award season, with the Globes and Oscars, I nominated myself (in my head) for an oscar for Best Actress in the infusion room. I was really good at pretending, or convincing myself I was doing okay. And I won! I’d like to Thank all the nurses for seeing right through my tired eyes, and pale face, my mom for making sure I didn’t get dizzy and pass out on one of my bad days, and the academy for having no such award that I had to make this all up myself.
Back to the important stuff. I got to ring the bell outside the infusion room. It’s a bell to signify the completion of chemotherapy. It has more meaning to me than I ever realized and I only found out about it last week. Apparently the first day we came to test my port back in September, it was one of the first things my mom noticed. This saying is on a sign, next to the bell. I made it half way through reading the saying out loud in front of all the nurses, mom and my doctor, then started to get choked up. Mainly at the phrase, “My treatments done”. I took a few deep breaths and rang the s@#$ out of that bell! “Texas style”, as Amy the nurse said. I gave all the nurses many big hugs and thanks, and got out of there for the last time (fingers crossed) I’ll have that crazy HI-C punch, and other crazy poison drugs running through my veins!
Here’s what the sign reads:
Ring this bell
Three times well
It’s toll to clearly say
My treatments done
This course is run
And I am on my way…
From the left to right:
Mom, Kelly, Mary-Jane, Me, Dr. S, Amy, Leslie, and Heather- My nurses(my mom has been my nurse too!) and doctor! Charles and 2 of the other ladies in the infusion room Nurse Tracie and the scheduler/ blood pressure monitor/compliment giver Gloria (she’s mentioned a few times that I remind her of Lady Mary from Downton Abbey-lucky me!) were missing from this photo, but more to come later on in the week, and next week with my Boo Bill, Charles.
I love how Amy is giving Dr. S bunny ears, even though this picture is a little blurry. My mom was filled with lots of emotion taking these pictures!
It’s like a weight has been (somewhat) lifted off my shoulders. Three weeks from today, I will start radiation 5 days a week for 7 weeks. It’s only about 10 minutes a day, and side effects aren’t supposed to be as bad as chemo. After that for about the next five years(since it’s the most critical time in remission), it’s a ton of mammograms (every 3 months), doctors visits, and plenty of hopes that that dang cancer never comes back! Take that cancer!
I didn’t have time before my last chemo session to do thank you notes, so I hope y’all don’t mind if I finish some up on here. Because Today is my last chemo infusion, I decided to write some thank you notes to my chemo drugs. These are meant to be humorous and I enjoy making light of the interesting/funny things that have happened to me along this crazy journey, most of which I had NO idea would happen.
*Thank you notes are a reference to the thank you notes Jimmy Fallon does on his late night show, that make me laugh.
My thank you notes to chemo:
Thank you chemo, for providing me with the fuzzy “Drunk-like” state I’m in for a few days following chemo. I have been entertaining my mom and Charles to no end, with funny things I have said such as ” I wonder what it will feel like to have rain on my (bald) head” and “Let’s go the magic way (in response to what way we should drive home from the hospital).” They will laugh about these forever.
Thank you chemo, for giving me the gift of no hair, showers have been so much more enjoyable, not having to wash my hair, or shave my legs. Life has never been simpler.
Thank you chemo, for finally convincing me to take my coats I’ve had for years to the dry cleaners, the snot residue from the lack of nose hairs, is now visibly apparent all over my sleeves.
Thank you chemo, for introducing me to some new friends, on day time television, Rachel Ray, Ellen, the chew. I’ve made a lot of new friends, even they may not know I consider them my friends. (Hey, if your inside for 2 weeks, and home alone for most of the day, you eventually start talking back, not just to your cat, but to the people on the tele.)
*One day, after chatting to my brother about my television line up for the day(during the weeks I don’t have any energy)We were joking about how they were my “Friends”. Later on that day, I was watching Rach, and she was talking about buying eggplant, and that it shouldn’t have any soft spots. I caught my self nodding and agreeing with her! When I told my brother about that, he replied ” Tell Ellen I said hello”.
Thank you chemo, for all the wonderful hot flashes that I’m spoiled with through out the day(and night!), Along with some other symptoms I’d rather not discuss, I’m officially living as a 50 year old women.
Thank you again chemo, for the hot flashes, our electric bill has been significantly reduced since I keep the heater set to 58 F.
Thank you chemo, for giving me the gift of sharing menopause symptoms with my mom, We can now relate to each other on a whole new level!
Thank you chemo for only one embarrassing Dumb and Dumber like episode. I will never forget that, and now I have some “Camp fire” stories to share and laugh about with my Dad and Grandpa, who have had similar experiences. Thanks for taking one for the team too, Charles and Mom.
Thank you chemo, for altering my sweet and salty taste buds. Not only have I increased my salt intake leading to some bloating, but I’ve reduced my sweet intake, helping to counteract the bloating.
Thank you chemo, for messing up my fingernails, I love having to wear nail polish to strengthen and cover up the “tree rings” your sessions have left behind. (No, really I do love wearing nail polish!)
Thank you chemo, I never thought milk of magnesia would be apart of my chemo routine, let alone any routine at the ripe ol’ age of 28. But what a chalky-gag inducing life saver it is.
Thank you chemo, for challenging me to drink prune juice in the days proceeding my infusions, to help prevent further back ups. But I never had the courage to follow the remedy one of the nurses suggested of heating the prune juice to have a coffee-like effect.
Thank you chemo, for once again making me feel like I’m way older than I am. The pill sorter to divvy up my daily vitamins, prescriptions and miscellaneous pills, however amazingly convenient, definitely ages me.
Thank you chemo, for not allowing me to use knives during my low week. It’s been nice having my husband make all the dinners, while I sit in the pantry with my house coat, slippers, and beanie on scaling spices for him, with Family Feud playing in the background.
Thank you chemo, for halting my monthly visit from “Aunt flow” and for the amazing complexion I have had due to the lack of hormones.
In all seriousness, going through chemo has taught me many valuable life lessons. I have so much more sympathy for many different things people face in their everyday lives, that most of us take for granted. I have learned how much the simple things in life really matter, family, friends and experiences. I have been given so much love and support from so many amazing people, some whom I’ve never even met. I hope to carry this knowledge for the rest of my life, and to pass along the kindness and compassion people have shown me. I have come to better understand the power of positive thinking and how much strength it can give. So thank you chemo, for changing my life.