Sunday, October 23, 2011

moving forward

last day of radiation!

the week before: bounce house with her first painted face, at Jo's school fair
a bit older, but I couldn't skip a few second birthday party pix. :)

Goodness, so much in one small space of time -- the weeklong sukkot, in which we ate in the sukkah but not as much as I had hoped. In theory we would eat all of our meals in the sukkah, but alas dark mornings, chilly temps, and a bit of rain made that less than ideal. It was our first year putting it up here, though, so that was an accomplishment, also coming as it does in such a busy time for us (how are two Jewish clergy-people supposed to find time to be Jewish?!), and also at the end of my radiation treatments. Busy, distracted, tired. Feeling good, just a bit overwhelmed.

We did manage to have a party, inviting all those friends who have been such a support to our family this past year, cooking and child-caring and calling and generally helping us get through -- chili and beer and guitars in the sukkah. Tiring, but nice.

a regular dinner in the sukkah (i.e. not a party, hence the empty chairs!)

And now, I have finished my main cancer treatment -- two surgeries, four months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation. I will still take hormone therapy (i.e. pills) for five years and will likely have reconstruction surgery next summer, but for now, the most invasive part of my treatment is done. Oddly, it's a bit strange. I very much feel the urge to re-group, get a sense of where to go from here, how to grasp life a bit more consciously, more well-ordered, more richly -- and at the same time, I am completely exhausted from all the treatment. There was a part of me that was really hoping that as I walked out of radiation on that last day, there would be plane tickets to somewhere warm and beautiful, along with time to just take off from work to get things together here at home (preschool applications, finances, bulbs to plant, papers to file, exercise to do, meal plans to make, a year's worth of just squeaking my to catch up on a bit). Alas, there was not. No celebration, no break, just a bat mitzvah to officiate, bedtimes to navigate, the usual. Fortunately, I'd anticipated this a bit and taken myself out for sushi the day before after radiation -- I knew I needed some way to celebrate, even if in just a few delicious bites of raw fish and the zing of wasabi. (sweetly, Hali and our friends did get me my absolute favorite cake that we had last night -- with the words 'The Champ' written on it, as they sang the theme song from Chariots of Fire to me!)

The other piece that I'd only anticipated in the tiniest way is the let-down of finishing treatment. I thought I'd miss going to Dana-Farber (sounds odd, but it's true -- it's a beautiful place, where I spend time dedicated to my health, where there are no bills to pay, no spills on the floor, no laundry or whining) -- but I did not expect the strong emotional reaction I've had. Tears, unexpected strange pains, anxieties, the works. I happened to go to a forum my oncologist has each year, where one of the social workers said that this time can actually be the hardest, having gotten up the energy and had the structure to make it through treatment, only to step out into an unknown afterwards. Totally. Time will help, but that vacation and time at home too wouldn't have hurt any. ;)

So, a few photos of life from the past few weeks -- I can't catch up, so I'm just marking it and moving forward -- with hope for a bit more sleep, more organization, and getting a good rhythm in place soon.
(goodness, I look forward to the day when I can have better photos on here!)


Strawberry said...

Hooray for being so far through the cancer treatment. And look at your beautiful daughter- wow she's so big now! Hugs.

DAVID HAAS said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

amanda {the habit of being} said...

congrats on finishing your chemo! i can't imagine how great it must feel and a bit frightening at the same time.

k said...

Congratulations on finishing treatment. I imagine leaving your treatment center was much like I felt leaving the nicu with my son, there was an odd comfort in having him there, because he was sick and they could care for him and how would I know if something was wrong without knowing what his numbers were? It's so scary to not know.

You have gone through all of this with such grace and I expect you will take your next steps with equal grace. <3

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