15 June 2010
For every journey there is the end of the road. While my journey still has a few more roads to take, today I will finish one major leg. For today marks my eighth and final chemotherapy treatment. With my cancer diagnosis on February 17th, and my inaugural chemo treatment on March 5th, I will forever remember June 15th as the day that marks 14 weeks of a challenging test of endurance. Has it been the biggest test? Probably not – but it’s certainly been intense. But I’ve done it and I’m ready to move on to the next chapter – surgery on July 19th.
My improved prognosis would not be possible without Dr. Makhoul and Dr. Klimberg, and all the top-notch professionals at UAMS. They have become my rock. The happy smiles at each reception desk, the gentle hands of those in the infusion room, the brilliance (and hugs) of Dr. Makhoul, Nurse B’s motherly approach and support, Michelle’s forever smile (and cool shoes), and Dr. Klimberg’s mastery of her skill and constant monitoring of my progress. I am one of the fortunate ones that have an insurance policy that allows me to seek treatment anywhere in the country. But why would I leave my own hometown when we have one of the most skilled and successful cancer programs in the world. Need I say more? I trust my medical team with every bone in my body.
Family and friends, nearby and faraway, have successfully managed to keep my spirits intact, and oftentimes high, with prayers, home visits, cards, e-notes and touching letters, bird feeder fillings, books, hats and scarves, flowers and gardening support, treats and meals,Race for the Cure champs in Fayetteville and St. Louis, funny wigs and boxing gloves, cancer tips like Barramundi fish, Obama toys, cookbooks, candles and lotions, spiritual gifts, movies and music and much more. It’s no big secret that I have long received my energy from working with people in challenging situations. This beast called Cancer has delivered both - including my new dear friend Ellen, a nine-year IBC survivor who has been my inspiration all along the way. I have loved every contact made and feel the love and support of so many. What an incredible circle of friends I have. How could you experience sadness or depression with so much love?
A special thanks to my family – Tim, Mom, Dad, Anna-Lee, Allyson, Aunt Alice and brother Mike. It’s no great surprise, but they have been a remarkably supportive family. Also my family of colleagues at CJRW has given me a sense of ease during this time. The people you work with sure make a difference during times of crisis, and I will always feel fortunate to have been at CJRW during this ordeal.
And along the way, God has been by my side, wrapping me in love and courage when I’ve needed it most. When my white count plummeted, when the pain in my legs felt too much to handle, when reading became difficult, and the times when fear took over – God, and my medical team, have always been near.
And although this may sound odd, I have to give credit to the powerful process of chemotherapy treatment. While it provides some mighty tough side effects, it’s the magic elixir, the healer, the potion that gives hope for the cancer patient’s future. Thank you Red Devil and Taxol for doing your job!
Today is a good day. While I won’t know the real verdict of the chemo treatments for several weeks, I have every reason to believe that great improvement has taken place. As my friend and sister-in-breast-cancer Amy said this morning, I can now see light at the end of a long tunnel, and it feels good. So, today I will celebrate the end of chapter one and my my good fortune to have such an incredible village of medical and spiritual supporters. With many thanks . . .
Posted by Stacy Sells at 12:03 PM