I'm done!I am exactly one week and a day from my very last chemotherapy treatment. Which means. . . people don't really know how to talk to me anymore.
It's not their fault. I don't know what to talk about, either. (My favorite topic of being single is, of course, still on the table. But I'll try to let this be the only reminder in today's blog post.) So things are awkward. You can ask, "How are you?" because that is a standard question we ask everyone, but now that I'm actually starting to feel fine and good, and I know that I get to keep feeling fine and good, no one knows what to say. Except, "You're done!" And I say, "I know!" And then we laugh gaily and look out the corner of our eyes and have the requisite conversation about growing my hair back.
I thought I dreaded losing my hair. But actually, I'm dreading the process of growing it out much, much more. My scalp already resembles something like this:
It's not attractive. No really. It's not.
I'm going to stop you right there.
Don't even try.
There is literally nothing you can say--ENH! I said stop--to make me feel better about this. The baby bird phase is a painful process that cannot be helped if I ever want to have hair again. (I am tempted everyday to shave it.) And it is horrendous. There are probably no less than fifteen different stages that I'm dreading, but none so much as these first, oh, six months. Because it takes a ridiculously long time for hair to grow back. (Don't believe me? Google it.)
I can hear you trying again. Just don't. Leave it alone.
Aside from that, I'm done. People want to congratulate me, and commend my fight well fought, and all sorts of things and I also need to put a stop to that.
I think there's been some misconceptions about this whole "cancer" thing. I mean, people were like, really worried. And the more I think about it all, the more I'm just annoyed with how inconvenient this whole thing has been! (Does that make me sound like an ungrateful wretch?)
I had a tumor on my ovary. It was cancer--a granulosa cell tumor. They removed the tumor. I shouldn't have had anymore cancer. Stupid Abner (the tumor) had at some point ruptured and so just to make sure they made me do the chemo.
That was often the hardest part.
I would read blogs from other survivors, others who were going through something similar, and the difference was, they were seeing it from a perspective that the chemotherapy was saving their lives. And I was seeing it from the perspective that I felt icky, and hadn't left my bed in three days--just as a precaution. So when I say I'm cured--and I am, probably*--it's not a miracle** and it's not something to really celebrate. Because, honestly, I was probably cured the minute they removed stupid Abner and the stupid ovary.
But! As a precaution, I did it. And probably deep down, I'm glad I did it. Better to go through the precaution and now be able to set it aside and forget about it, than always be wondering "what if"***. See, I said it, so that you don't have to!
I'm cured! And cancer free! And this is all a whole lot to celebrate. And even though a lot of people use times like these to develop relationships with their family members and praise their Higher Being and all sorts of super amazing existential stuff, I thought a lot about how much I hated it. I hated being inconvenienced. I hated feeling sick. I hated the pity and that there is absolutely no right thing to say or do. I hate looking like an alien. And I hate that I can't just snap back like a rubber band back into normal life or normal looks. My muscles are all but atrophied from months of barely doing anything. I gained weight. GAINED WEIGHT ON CHEMO! What kind of stupid bull crap is that? Much to my mom's disappointment, I refuse to take anything from this experience.
However, what a fool and ungrateful wretch I would actually be, if I just didn't say: Thank you. Again. Because even though there is no right thing to say, the fact that you said something meant a lot. I felt very loved. I know that there were prayers offered, and allowances given, and I was on the receiving end of meals, gifts, company. . . the list goes on and on and on. I'm looking at my hospital account balance, and amazed that I'm not crippled financially. And it is because of my friends and family--and even their friends and family--and to say that I'm not blessed would be a true falsehood. So fine, I'll give credit where credit is due. . . I guess.
Oh! So what's next? Lots of follow up appointments over the next few years. They can't test my blood work, because it won't be reliable. The markers they are looking for are produced my normal-working ovaries, and since I still have one, it won't really tell us anything. They'll do an occasional ultrasound and keep an eye on said ovaries and lady parts. None of this will affect my fertility.
biting tongue to keep earlier promise
Life goes on. I'm going to have to actually figure out what I'm doing at my "new" job, and delve into, "this, my 30th year. . ."
. . .
. . .
*This from the same doctor who said it was never cancer to begin with, and that there's such a thing as "good chemo" and other equally silly things. . .
**The miracle is that it all always could have been worse, and it wasn't. I am incredibly lucky and blessed.
***Full disclosure forces me to say that from what I know about granulosa cell tumors, return rates are high, even if 20 years later. Hopefully if there's a next one, it won't rupture and I'll be done with all my lady parts and they can all go the way of Abner and the problem-ovary. So there will always be an element of "what if", but hopefully, I won't have to think about that for another 20-30 years.