Since I am now 14 months out from active treatment, it has absolutely shocked me that some days I actually miss certain things about cancer treatment. You don’t miss it like you want it to happen again, you miss it in “oh gee, that wasn’t so bad”. For example, during chemo when someone would cut me off in traffic or was driving crazy, I would flip off my wig and expose my bald head instead of being tempted to make finger gestures! The looks I got were PRICELESS!!
If you are in the middle of active treatment, believe it or not, no matter how awful, grueling and horrible it all is, you may miss and or fondly remember some of the things you are now experiencing! Here are some thoughts from some gals that I’ve known from the beginning of their treatments. They have become friends to me and I value their comments! I know you will too! Some of them will make you laugh!
From Katie B -. I kinda miss the “chemo spa” experience. My girlfriends would take me. I had one friend that would bring me lunch on China with linen napkins and we would watch “Sex and the City”. The nurses were always bringing me nice warm blankets. I got to know Candace, who was getting chemo too. I wouldn’t recommend chemo for fun, but looking back it wasn’t so bad, in fact a lot of pretty cool things came out of it. I still go every 3 weeks for my Herceptin infusions but I go to the little “chemo spa” where people get the fast infusions. It’s not as fun.
The “nuclear plant” (radiation) people are very nice but you’re in and out so you don’t have as much time to form any good relationships. My first day of getting nuked was a little disconcerting because I walked in with a pretty pink robe on and there were two young, kinda cute guys, waiting for me to disrobe so they could nuke me. I laughed and said I felt like I was getting ready to make a porn movie.
From Michelle – I was so focused on how difficult chemo was that I never thought ahead. I never worried about the cancer coming back or even the risks associated with having cancer. I was just immersed in my own personal nightmare… focused only on getting through it. After I finished my treatments and began to feel better, thoughts of the cancer coming back began to occupy my mind. I don’t dwell on those thoughts often but I do think about it. I miss feeling safe. I miss being able to live my life without worrying about health issues. I also miss the comfort in knowing that the chemo and the radiation were killing all the cancer cells. I would visualize the chemo running through my body eating all the cancer cells like Pacman… just chomping away.
From Kelly – I think during my many, many weak moments, I miss being able to hibernate. Especially right now while I have so much responsibility being piled on me. Nobody expected anything from me during treatment because everybody has heard the chemo horror stories. When chemo was done, everyone expected me to be back to normal, both physically and mentally, and it just hasn’t happened. I’m tired to the bone right now, both physically and mentally, but I can’t hibernate to recuperate. I don’t miss “having” to hibernate and vegetate, but I miss having the “right” to do it.
From Jeanie – I’ve thought and thought about it, and have come to the conclusion that there is really nothing I miss about cancer treatment. It was so difficult and disruptive and damaging. Yes, I had extremely kind nurses and techs and brilliant oncologists and surgeons, but I am very happy to be away from all of them. I am still struggling with the aftermath of treatment: low energy, neuropathy in my feet, bad hair, chemo-brain, dry eyes, scars, fear of recurrence…oh yes, every twinge and ache gives me pause. My fingernails and toenails have grown back to almost normal.
My way of dealing with the whole ordeal is to move completely past it, and I have resumed my former life as much as I can. . .Every morning when I wake up, I look outside at the trees and consciously appreciate how grateful I am to be in the land of NED today. How grateful I am for my many blessings: love, safety, warmth, food, friends, access to life-saving medical care and so much more. And the cancer card has become a permanent part of me. My energy is getting better but is still not anywhere near what it was, and people are now used to me opting out. And, surprisingly, I am happy to do so. I love being at home.
And from Melissa who always makes me laugh — I miss the nurses and the patients I used to BS with in the waiting area. I miss the big, fat buck-toothed fish I watched while waiting for labs. I miss sleeping from IV Benadryl.