Eighth chemo—the last

Well, the eighth chemo came and went with little fanfare. I know a lot of women paint their nails pink with the pink ribbon drawn on them, wear a pink wig and their best “I’m kicking cancer’s ass” T-shirt to their last chemo. They take smiling pics with their favourite nurses, get balloons and have little “No More Chemo” parties. When I started my chemo December 30, I figured I too would do something neat on my last day—which seemed forever and a day away at that time—definitely do a fab manicure, bring my best baking, maybe even give a little gift to my nurses to show my appreciation.

And what did I do on April 8th? Nothing. 

Tessa came to meet me and spend part of the day, and Kelly came for a couple of hours with her signature gift bag of Real Simple and Martha Stewart magazines, chocolate-covered almonds and Lays potato chips, which I really appreciated. And ate. And read.

But the end of chemo made me feel exactly the way I did when Graydon finished his treatment for childhood leukaemia: we’ve lost our weapons. When you are on chemo, you are fighting the cancer. It may be poison, but it’s cancer’s poison too. Take away the chemo, and you’re not fighting anymore. You’re a sitting duck.

And that’s still how I feel. The side effects of the paxitaxel are worse this round, as they should be, since its effects are cumulative: six fingernails and lots of toenails look like they are rotting from underneath, the bone pain is excruciating between doses of dilaudid, nausea still requires pills, I am getting stupider and more forgetful and sadder, I sleep more and more. But as I clear the chemo from my body, those side effects should clear up too. And hopefully I’ve had a complete pathologic response to my neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and there isn’t much cancer left there to start the party up again as the chemo leaves.

Fingers crossed, St. Peregrine medal around my neck, red thread tied on my bra, I wait for my surgery.

 

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4 Responses

  1. I think you look radiant Jacquelyn.

    xx pam

  2. I never really understood about metastasis and chemo weaponry and the fear you must be feeling as a sitting duck in this waiting game until I read your blog Jackie. Thank you for sharing that. This is a real life horror show that does not go away. I don’t know how you keep swinging at these lousy pitches: you are one unique, strong, tenacious woman!

    • As my longest-time friend, I appreciate your opinion the absolute mostest—it is a real-life horror show, and I don’t know how I keep swinging either Maybe the friendship of someone like you?

  3. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I’d remembered that your chemo was ending around April 8th -9th ish. it could be a celebration day, but I can imagine that you haven’t much energy to celebrate. I’m celebrating in myself that this part of your treatment is done, but I know you still have a difficult road ahead with surgery. Do you know when that’s happening yet? I keep wishing for a miracle that will transport me to you to help out and support you but looks like I’ll still be supporting from afar. At least we can keep up here on the blog when you have energy to post and I send love, strength and courage to you every day. It’s been a rough start to this year for so many people I know, (myself included) and it’s been tough to stay balanced. All we can do is take one minute at a time and keep that glimmer ahead of us in sight. We keep fighting… and I’m along fighting with you, for you. Here’s to the end of cancer, to regaining your strength, your memory! and your life back! I love you Jackie, we may be cousins, but we’re more like sisters ❤ I hope you have a Happy Easter today and get spoiled with chocolate! love, Jen

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