Yesterday I had my very last ever, ending, final, concluding, um last (did I mention that?)
MY LAST ONCOLOGY APPOINTMENT!
That is 5 years and 4 months since diagnosis.
This concludes 16 months of treatment and 4 years of follow-ups including:
one lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal
some very painful pre-surgery shots that still make me squirm when I think about them
6 rounds of 3 different types of chemo
6 painful post chemo shots
one bald and very round head
1 year of Herceptin IV treatment every 3 weeks
a scare that required tests to rule out metastasis
16 total months of sitting for an IV drip every 3 weeks
tattooed dots for radiation
35 rounds of radiation (thats 5 days a week for 7 weeks people!)
one boob that looked like mahogany colored leather for months
a scare that involved the wrongful canceling of my insurance and a bill for $100,000,
a small heart attack, a battle with insurance and the eventual reinstatement
medicine that made me feel crazy
follow-up appointments with 4 different doctors that started out every month,
then every 3 and this past year closer to every 6 months
endless amounts of bloodwork
the aging of my friends and family
and a partridge in a pear tree!
I can hardly believe it's over.
I'll have some yearly follow up but none that requires walking into the oncology unit.
I hadn't really thought about this as being a big event until I was sitting in the office and she told me I was "discharged from oncology and graduated from oncology follow ups".
Somehow though, there was just a tiny bit of anxiety along with the whole process.
I mean, now it's up to me to catch it early should it pop back up, there aren't eyes on me all the time.
I mentioned that it would be weird not checking in and she said that if I wanted to I was free to come in once a year for a follow up.
Not likely! I appreciate the option though.
I switched insurance a while back so I'm not familiar with this staff but it was nice to see the look on the nurses face when she read my papers and realized I wasn't coming back.
I walked down the hall and opened the door to the waiting room.
I saw anxiety, exhaustion, resignation, patience and sickness in the eyes looking back at me.
I exhaled when I got in the elevator.
By the time the doors opened 3 floors later I was crying.
I cried on the phone to my mom.
I cried when I was greeted at home by B and Peanut.
I cried sporadically through the day.
I didn't expect to be so emotional about it, I hadn't thought about it at all before the actual appointment.
AND THEN the day got even better.
After B went to work and Peanut went down for a nap I realized that I could not possibly be celebrating without chocolate.
I couldn't find any at all.
In a desperate attempt to curb my chocolate fix I started searching unopened Home Depot boxes.
I saw the box marked pantry in the corner of the garage and guess what I found?
Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix!
Could the day get any better?!
Whilst searching through Goodreads I spied a book review that made me laugh, followed it to the reviewers page, saw another book she was currently reading, read the commentary, laughed at the authors witty responses and made the comment that I would read the book just because the author was so funny.
AND THEN guess what?!
He sent me a message to tell me that he would send me a copy of his book!
A free book from a witty author that I already love!
AND THEN Peanut went to bed and slept 9 hours straight in his own bed!
I'm almost panting now in the re-telling of this story.
AND THEN you know what else?
I love being able to share my excitement.
I posted on facebook and ended up with 167 likes (and counting) and over 50 messages of love, excitement and support.
It makes me cry just thinking about it.
I'm only sorry I didn't buy a lottery ticket yesterday as my friend Darryl suggested.
If your new 'round here and you want to get caught up on some of my favorite cancer stories
(is that weird to say?)
You can read about how I lost my hair and B used it as a mustache HEREhttp://spontaneousclapping.blogspot.com/2011/03/mustache.html
You can read about a man I still think about HERE.
Or you could read about it all under the tag The Big C.
Thank you all for going through this all with me.
I'm going to go finish that pan of brownies now.