Today marks 6 whole months since my final radiation treatment, and I woke up feeling all kinds of things.
I always imagined that each and every milestone would bring indescribable joy and thankfulness for my healing and for life and just for the crazy blessings that have been bestowed on us during this time (because they are BIG), but Lord, I didn’t expect to feel a little sad and empty when I rolled off the bed to start my day. I never expected to feel like I hadn’t made it as far as I wanted to by this point.
Please hear my heart when I say that I am not minimizing the blessing of my healing whatsoever. I’m immensely grateful. And I feel haunting guilt knowing that so many other survivors and current patients face far bigger giants and symptoms than my menial mishaps. But working in the midst of cancer care every day gives you a front row, VIP view of how cancer affects your life in some way for the rest of your life and that makes it tempting to get sucked into the “what ifs”. There are so many success stories around here and there are also stories that will scare the pants and the shirt off you. There are moments that are rewarding and moments that are terrifying. It’s encouraging and it’s exhausting. But it’s worth it to me…because I feel like it’s my purpose to share my journey with others and use my unique patient/employee experience to help patients travel their paths a little easier.
Post-treatment life is just simply not what I expected. I’ve mistakenly thought of it like a long, drawn-out injury or infection, and assumed that as time went on things would heal and normal would be restored. But 6 months out, I have a right arm that can feel hot, cold, and deep sensation but not much else. I have left fingertips that are trying to jump on board with the right arm, and I have some stress-induced symptoms that have gripped my thoughts far too tightly.
However, you can’t even tell I had surgery or radiation by looking at my skin, I have taste buds again, I’ve gained the weight back I lost, my hair is growing back, and my energy has returned for the most part. And that’s a BIG deal no matter what.
So 6 months out, we’re celebrating! Throwing confetti around for healing, eating all the foods, going on a walk, and rejoicing in our Lord that He is good. He is always good!