Since finishing treatment and surgery, it has been interesting to me how many people have made the following statements to me:
"I'm so glad you are finished with all of that!"
"I'm glad it's all over!'
"So glad you are done and you don't have to deal with that anymore."
And many other similar remarks.
I just smile and acknowledge their kind hearts, but the truth is, I'm not finished yet. Not even close. Yes, I am finished with immediate treatment. Yes, I am finished with surgery. But I'm not finished with cancer. In fact, it seems like just recently the stress of the past 15 months is beginning to surface in me, Mark, and our girls. My husband and my children have all been so strong, pushing their own feelings aside in order to carry me through treatment. Now that it looks like I am well, the defenses are dropping and the feelings are surfacing. We are all feeling a little fragile at this point.
I think about cancer every day. I have physical changes and new routines that remind me of where I've been on a daily basis. Although they are less frequent now, I still have regular doctor visits and medical tests. I still take multiple dietary supplements prescribed by my doctor to treat side-effects of chemotherapy. Cancer is still part of my daily life.
I had a PET scan today. I didn't feel nervous about the test or the results of the test at all. Mark took me to the radiology center and patiently waited two hours while I was injected with radioactive glucose, waited for it to make its way through my body, and then spent 30 minutes in the scanning machine. Afterward we stopped to pick up lunch on the way to our staff meeting. Returning to the car I suddenly felt extremely fatigued. I realized that although I hadn't felt it, I must have been stressed all along. Mark got in the car and told me that he was having a mini meltdown too. Even though we fully believe that I am cancer-free, the waiting, hoping, and wondering are heavy loads to carry. Hopefully, the doctor will call soon with the report.
In the meantime, we'll carry on, as survivors. Never forgetting where we've been, and ever look forward to God's continued grace and strength.