I feel like I'm over the treatment phase and firmly in the recovery phase. I finally feel like I can truly say,
My body knows it too. I have stopped breaking down and I'm building back up. The first thing to return to normalcy was my mouth. About 2 weeks after my last chemo treatment, I had my taste buds back. It happened between each of my 6 treatments, so that one didn't surprise me. I had watery eyes and twitchy eyelids for about 6 weeks, and that went away after my surgery. I guess I finally got enough sleep or something! It's nice to no longer have the "taxotears." This week, my hair started to grow back. People keep asking if it's growing back differently. I don't know. I've never shaved my head before this. So far, it looks pretty peach-fuzzy.
I still have icky fingernails, but as long as I keep them very short and painted, they don't bother me too much. My fingertips have regained feeling (hooray!!!)- in fact, I'm back at work as of last week, and playing piano every day. I have not regained my menstrual cycle. That's something I probably won't ever get back- intentionally on the part of my treatment plan. That doesn't bother me, but the side effects of menopause aren't that much fun.
After my appointment this afternoon, the surgeon said he doesn't need to see me again for 6 months. So I went out to make my appointment. The scheduler said, "That will put us in March." I flipped my phone calendar to March and my heart skipped a beat.
6 months ago this week was March 20. Diagnosis Day.
6 months ago today, I had that fateful biopsy.
I am so very fortunate. Some people battle this disease for years. I caught it so early. I always say it was a flat-out miracle that I even went to the doctor. I never go to the doctor. But I had an uneasy feeling about that lump. I was so invincible. I never thought this would happen to me. But I have learned so much about the power of prayer, and the beauty of community through this experience. Thank you for reading, for praying for me, for bringing our family meals and sending money & gift cards. You have blessed us in more ways than we can count.
I mentioned earlier I went back to work last week. Today was the last day of meals provided by friends. Our house is back to being a disaster, and we are back to normal around here. We will look for every opportunity to "pay it forward."
I won't be free of the cancer center for 7 years. I still have to go every 3 weeks to have a Herceptin infusion for another 6 months, and next week, my oncologist will put me on a pill called Tamoxifen for the next 10 years- which will keep me in menopause until I'm pretty much old enough to stay there. They will continue to keep a very close eye on me. I have only just begun the recovery phase. After 7 years, they will declare me cancer-free and kick me out the door.
We will celebrate every milestone along the way.