Feeling nostalgic tonight (as usual) as I sit here on the 2nd to last Monday of treatment and the first day looking at single digit days until the finish line. Reflecting about the last year and wondering how I ever got to this place and how I never even saw it coming.
This time last year I was flying solo up to DC on a work trip where I would drive to the tiny town of Waterford, Virginia and cover the first ever Flowerstock through social media for the magazine I worked for at Hope Flower Farm. The property was gorgeous, the blooms were to die for, and the people had hearts that glimmered and glistened with gold. It was a stark contrast from the current environment at the office, and it was simply what I needed after walking with Mom through her diagnosis and treatment the prior year and lots of other life changes.
I’ve grown up a lot since then. I’ve learned to stand up and think for myself rather than just accept what others try to impress upon me. I’ve learned even more about being a wife and a friend. I’ve slowly discovered who’s here to stay in my life and who will flee when times get tough or life gets in the way. And I’ve learned to discern what things are good for me and those that I need to let go of even if it’s painful.
The rest of this last year included turning 28, celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, a ski trip to Steamboat Springs, CO, our 2nd wedding anniversary, a new job at UAB, weddings, babies, and, of course, surgery to find out that Glanda was cancerous.
And now we’re here. 3 months since surgery and 1 day through week 5 and feeling like the last 3 months is actually 3 years worth of time. I prayed super hard before all of this started that I wouldn’t really experience the scary side-effects that many have when undergoing head and neck radiation treatment, and I think at this point I can say the Lord has been faithful through that. I’ve had my crappy days for sure, but most days I can honestly say I feel pretty good considering, and I don’t take that blessing lightly.
As week 5 starts though, I’m starting to think about the fact that grown men have cried on their last day of treatment and that my last day is coming soon. I still can’t quite grasp how my 30th treatment might bring bittersweet feelings with it, but in 9 short (treatment) days I wont have to wonder about that anymore. I won’t plead with the clock to run faster, or psych myself into thinking food actually tastes like food or anything close to food. I won’t have to hope with everything in me that I make it to the end without a feeding tube or a hospitalization. (And yes I know that’s somewhat unrealistic, but these are real fears I faced a few weeks ago.
But I do know that on October 20th as I get beamed up for the final time, I will be running through the clinic halls ringing whatever bell I can find to signify that I’m finally done and that I made it through 6 whole weeks of head and neck radiation. I will also probably hug everyone I see that day too, so be careful stepping into my path on October 20. I actually may hug you.
Lastly, I’ve thought a lot about how I started this journey…dancing. Six weeks after surgery, an old friend and I met up to dance around for a bit knowing we had both been through our share of hard times the past few months and that dance has always been the best therapy. She picked a song to signify our struggles as well as our strength, and on many days the melody and movement has carried me through and reminded me to rise up beyond the physical, beyond the emotional, and beyond the junk…and just. keep. going. Because what other choice do we have really? Time to finish strong.