Chemo treatments are finished! I had my last infusion on Jan 25th, and my last round of pills finished up on Feb 7th. This was my 6th cycle - and it was by far the hardest. To cap it off, I continued to have random gallbladder attacks that last week of chemo, so I had surgery to get that silly organ removed on Feb 11th. The surgery went very well and I was thrilled to go home that same day!
So after all is said and done, over the last 9 months I survived 25 radiation appointments, 1 colon surgery where they removed the tumor and reconnected the colon, 6 chemo infusions, 17 weeks of taking chemo pills twice/day, 6 gallbladder attacks, 1 gallbladder removal surgery, and several different scans and tests and such. Whew. Glad that's over. I'm beginning to feel better and better every day. I was told by my oncologist that you don't start feeling better until 1 month or so after treatment ends. I've already noticed a huge difference.
But I've realized it's not quite over. I've been in such a haze these last 9 months that I haven't quite had the chance or the energy to process it all. Chemo is a suffering that is difficult to explain - the one to two weeks after each infusion you feel like you're dying and sometimes you'd like to go ahead and give up the ghost. I always heard that it takes a toll that lasts well after you're done with treatment. I can attest to that. And while I'm very ready to feel normal again, I know that it's going to take a little more time. I'm still believing for healing in my heart and soul and body and I do believe that's happening. It just takes time.
This has definitely changed my outlook on life, on people, on God - on everything really. I look forward to processing that in the weeks and months to come. But I do believe I'm going to come out a better, stronger person through all of this by the grace of God.
The encouragement, the prayers, the kind notes, financial help, the hugs, - kept me and my family afloat. They were from God to me and I am so grateful for all who helped us along the way. There are so many. I do feel truly blessed.
I'm especially thankful and in completely in awe of Mary - who took care of me and our Caroline over the last 9 months. She's a rock. I think in a lot of ways it was harder on her than it was on me. There's a toll that's been taken on her too. She saw me at my absolute worst and ugliest - and she still loves me anyway, for some reason.
Well I'll have another scan in May to check for any recurrence. I'll get a scan every 3-4 months for the next year. Then It'll go to every 6 months for awhile.
As you may remember, I was selected for an active duty chaplain position with the Air Force before any of this started. That's most likely not going to happen now due to the cancer diagnosis, but it looks like I'll be able to stay in the Air Force Reserves, which I plan to do. I'm sad that I won't be able to be an active duty chaplain. Losing that job that I worked so hard to get was hard. Yet I'm incredibly excited to see what is up ahead and around the bend.
And of course we have another year of photographing weddings and portraits with Honey Heart which will be a lot of fun as always. And who knows what else will turn up this year - I'm looking forward to finding out.