This is my last week of active cancer treatment, and I am d-o-n-e. I won't have to subject my body to anymore poison, nor am I going to have to spend eight weeks coming into the office every day to get my boob irradiated. I will be done. I'll have to get six-month check-ups and blood work done, which isn't surprising. I'll be getting an MRI at one six-month mark and a mammogram the other six-month mark. I'll have to take a pill (Tamoxifen) every day for the maximum five years.
I just have two more radiation treatments and that's it. I don't have to keep these permanent markings on my torso and rib cage. Wednesday, I'll be able to scrub off the cancer memento markings from my person, which will be awesome. I haven't been able to sweat like a normal person (i.e. EXERCISE) because these marks have to stay on. Must. Or the world ends, something.
I wonder if the finality of what I just went through will hit me on Wednesday or soon after. I am definitely not the same person that I was pre-September 2010. I look different and I feel different. I definitely look different. My boobs are noticeably asymmetrical, which is extremely prevalent in a lot of my old clothes. Like Hello, boob. In the last year, I have had two major surgeries, totaling three major scars. I went through four and a half months of chemotherapy. I'm about to finish two months of radiation/eight and a half weeks. I have been through hell and back. My hair looks like Mia Farrow's 'do in the 1960s. Tyra Banks would totally approve of my look and say I look fierce (pictures are forthcoming).
I'm a big believer that cancer doesn't really change you as a person (exceptions: people with cancer can have types that affect their behavior and personality). If you're a bitch before, you're now just a bitch with cancer. If you're a nice person before, you're a nice person with cancer. Overall, cancer has taught me a handful of lessons:
1.) Stop putting off things. I was a big offender of the whole, "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow." No no no. I need to start doing things now. Me and my sweetie need to go on adventures and vacations together now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, so do so what you have to do be happy. Don't procrastinate.
2.) Friends are amazing. I couldn't have made it through my chemo without the help of my friend Amber. She came through for me in such a major way, I could never repay the kindness she showed. I'm a lucky gal. I had a lot of online support from people going through the same thing or from my out-of-town friends who wanted to be there for me. I had two out-of-state friends who visited me while I was going through my treatment, which I loved and appreciated.
3.) Just because they are family, doesn't mean they will be there for you. If you know my parents, ask them how many times they visited me while I was going through chemo and now radiation, or took me to appointments? Go on, ask them. They live 25 minutes north of me and the answer to the question is: 1 shot, dropped me off at a chemo, but I did get accompanied for my thyroidectomy. That's about it. Nine - 10 months and that's what they did, but I might be leaving one or two things out. I went three months during my chemo treatment and didn't receive one visit from either one of my parents. I can't wait to see what they write about this in their annual holiday letter, hahaha. "Lara finished her cancer treatment. That's about all we know about it because we figured Lara's so strong, she didn't need our help." Maybe I'm a jerk for airing this out for people to read, but I really don't care. Going months being trapped inside your home for months because of chemo and not getting one visit from your parent.... it kind of makes you not care about their feelings. They obviously didn't care about mine and were more worried about their own. Guess what - when your daughter gets cancer, it's NOT ABOUT YOU. Parenting fail.
4.) A pet is great therapy. I couldn't have made it through my treatment without the Boomtastic. I will post pictures later of Boomer for Jo, who I know appreciates shots of the Puppeh!
Just two more radiation treatments left.... and I'm done.