It's a funny feeling to finish cancer treatments.
When this whole thing began I looked forward, always forward to the end of the surgery, to start of chemo, to the end of chemo, to the start of radiation, to the end of radiation. Now I look forward (in a different way) to the end of herceptin.
And each new day was Step One. I didn't like to look back, only forward.
The funny thing is that no matter how hard you try to look forward, the effects of chemo have a way of reminding you that the past is still present.
My nails have finally started falling apart. They are ridged 4 of them that I can see, for the last 4 treatments I had. The nails would stop growing and then start growing again. Now that they've been growing for a couple of months those ridges are near the tip of my nails but are brittle and I've got more than one nail that is torn well below the quick. Because of this, my fingernails hurt much like they did during my taxotere treatments.
My joints ache, in particular my knees and ankles. I feel arthritic, though I know it's not that, the same pain that I had, again, during taxotere. Some days it's bad enough that I need to medicate - something I'm avoiding at all costs.
I'm still exhausted and yet riddled with insomnia so even when I do sleep I'm awake every 2 hours.
My hair is growing back and that's a great thing. I have eyelashes again and eyebrows. I have a solid layer of fuzz on my head. My body hair is back with a vengeance (yuck!)
My mucus membranes are also healthy again. That means a constant runny nose and watery eyes. It's as if they are punishing me for having been dried up for so long.
I know I should be grateful. I'm alive, I'm well and I'm happy. But I think I've earned the right to complain a bit too.
So now I look forward once again to the end of my herceptin treatment, though not because I'll be happy they are done - rather I'll be sad. It's my security blanket. After that, I'm on my own.
And beginning Step One.