The Final Chemo
You read the title right! I had my final round of chemo on February 10! I'm now through the worst of the symptoms and slowly feeling a little better each day. It feels so good knowing that I am done with chemo! The worst of my treatment journey is over now!
The last treatment itself went well. I again had lots of pain in the days following and was on painkillers to control it. Other than that nothing more really happened with this round. A week after my treatment I had imaging done, an ultrasound and mammogram. The day after the imaging was done I met with my surgeon. He told me that it looked as if the mass was gone and what remained from what they could see is likely just scar tissue. It also appears that my lymph nodes under my arm have gone back to negative and all looked normal in the imaging. This was such a relief! Knowing that going through chemo really did make such a difference makes all that I went through so much more worth it. Not only the physical aspects but also the impact it has had on my family, especially Clara. It's a huge relief knowing that not being there for her as much through these last few months has had such a big pay off. It wasn't for nothing.
When I met with the surgeon, I also had to decide on the type of surgery I would have. My options were a lumpectomy (removal of whatever remains of the mass/the tissue within the area) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). I had been thinking about what I wanted to do for the weeks prior and wasn't really sure what was the best choice for me. It had been causing a lot of stress. I've done my best to only focus on what part of treatment I am currently dealing with so I hadn't been putting much thought into my options for surgery. Once I had to start thinking about it though, there was lots to consider. I guess its pretty obvious that once you have cancer you will always fear it will come back so the biggest part of this decision was what will decrease the odds. As it turns out though both options have about the same recurrence rates, so neither is really better or provides different outcomes. So in the end after thinking it over and discussing with the surgeon I decided to go with a lumpectomy. I feel that this is the right choice for me. Yes, I'm still worried about the cancer coming back and all the "what ifs" go through my head regularly but I am happy with my choice. I also do not have any of the genetic mutations so that also lowers my odds of it coming back. During the surgery they will be doing a biopsy of the lymph nodes to be sure there are no cancer cells remaining, should they find any cancer cells in them I will have to have a second surgery. My surgery was booked for March 4 which is in a couple of days and I am nervous but I know that it won't be as bad as chemo!
Since I am done chemo which is such a big part of treatment, my friends threw me an end of chemo party this past weekend. I knew it was happening but didn't know any details. My best friends, Lindsey and Kelsie (pictured below) planned it and they did a terrific job! In the afternoon they even took me to get my makeup done! This was such a relief for me as I have really struggled with the way I look because of chemo. Not only have I gained a lot of weight after not getting a chance to lose the baby weight, but I have no hair (eyebrows and lashes included) and my skin is pale with dark circles around my eyes. I struggle with fake lashes a lot and they have even caused complete breakdowns. Its so hard when I can't get things like the lashes to work and then it just all reminds me of what I'm going through and the fact that if it wasn't for cancer I wouldn't be dealing with all of these other things too. Getting my makeup done took all of that stress out of the day and it was really thoughtful! Plus they took me to the wonderful lady who also does (or did) my nails, and I adore her so it was a really fun afternoon! The party itself was at a restaurant that had a separate room so it was a bit private. My family and closest friends were all there. It was a really special night and so nice to celebrate such a big chapter of this coming to an end. We have really tried to celebrate all of the wins during treatment so this was for sure needed! I had a great time and it was so nice to just relax and enjoy the night.
Now I am just preparing for surgery. The hardest part will be not being able to hold Clara. I do dread it but I know it will only be for a couple of weeks and I at least won't feel terrible past the first few days. I will be coherent and able to be present. That's what matters. I so look forward to this next step being over and then just having radiation left. A few more months and treatment will be done. Then we will have a really big party! I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to the party and especially to Kelsie and Lindsey for all the thought they put into it. I also want to my friend Richelle who has been a big part of helping with the Facebook support group and has really been there for me through all of this as well. I can't even start to described how amazing these ladies all are and how much their friendships means to me. Having this amazing support system has made everything so much easier. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people surrounding me and I'm so glad Clara has all of these amazing people in her life to look up to.
Mommy isn't sick, she's fighting and she's oh so close to winning.