|My chemo jersey. Not pictured: crocheted prosthetic boob.|
Today was my last herceptin treatment. (If you're curious, this is a pretty good explanation of the drug and how it works...though you still may need multiple advanced degrees to really understand it.)
My original plan with this blog was to close up shop once I finished treatment. Now, with restarting reconstruction (and a possible clinical trial for an anti-cancer vaccine) on the horizon, I think I'm going to keep going. I also don't feel quite ready to give it up. This experience isn't over for me, even though I have hair, and have gotten my last drop of drugs, and zap of radiation. Most people seem to think that since I don't look all that cancer-y anymore, I must be feeling back to normal. Yeah no.
|In the chair.|
I said to my therapist this week that I felt like I'm expected to just go back and be normal now, which feels impossible. Cancer has been my identity for over a year. It took over everything in this sick way, and now I don't know how to do anything else. I had stopped reading all my old blogs in favor of cancer research articles and prescription drug labels. And now I don't really feel like I fit with all my old interests. Don't get me wrong, I am really fucking sick of cancer. But there's a little Stockholm Syndrome or something going on here.
While on my way to herceptin today, last year's song of the summer popped up on my ipod. When I was in Rome (before all this happened) that song was everywhere, and so I associate it with this period of innocence, or naivete, or something like that. It's like, when I came come from Rome, I was like,"I'm NEVER going back there," because I felt like I got the whole experience in one go, and most Romans treated me pretty badly. But now, of course, there's this nostalgia for it, for that moment before the fall. Wishing I could be that girl again. This song brought up that feeling, and how it seems like I've broken with a part of myself that I don't think will ever come back.
|The way home. No seat on the PATH, natch.|
So there's an odd feeling that comes with finishing treatment. I'm glad for the reprieve and that I get a chance to heal. I'm scared that I won't be being watched anymore, and won't be getting any cancer killing drugs. But I'm also scared because it's like, "What the FUCK am I supposed to do now?" Throughout the experience there's a feeling of just doing whatever you have to do to get through the day. If that means you eat chips and watch Orange is the New Black all day, that's fine. (I have definitely done that. Maybe that's obvious...?) But now, I have to leave the holding pattern and actually go somewhere. Otherwise, what was all this treatment for?