The Final Treatment Day, 9/24
Today was my final Tuesday morning walk to NYU. Yes, I’m sure I’ll be back here many times over the next couple of months, but my Tuesday morning walk to chemo has become something of a ritual. I listen to my podcasts, pick up my breakfast and stroll up Third Avenue. I’ve gotten used to the butterfly, holding-my-breath feeling of waiting for my blood work to come back and may even miss the relief I feel when I hear that I am cleared for treatment.
Today there is a feeling of excitement when my oncologist and nurse practitioner walk into the exam room. We discuss the next steps after today’s treatment and she congratulates me on powering through the chemotherapy part of my treatment. My nurse Stacy tells me that when my treatment is finished, I will get to ring the bell to signal that I am finished with chemo.
I get hooked up to the IV and ice my hands and feet for the last time. Usually the Taxol hour flies by but today, time seems to move slowly. I am anxious to be finished. Finally, Matt and I hear the familiar beep, beep that the infusion is finished. I start to smile nervously. Stacy disconnects me from the machine and we walk over to the bell. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to feel in this moment but as I start to read the poem next to the bell, I start to cry.
“Ring this bell, three times well
Its toll will clearly say
My treatments done
This course has run and
Now I’m on my way”
14 treatments (and many delays) later, I’m finished. It sounds strange, but I am going to miss Tuesdays. The whole routine of getting chemo became so ordinary. I am going to miss every person who became such a familiar face during this process. It will be strange to not see these people anymore.
Now that chemo is over, the next stage of my treatment is surgery. I will have a bilateral mastectomy on October 21st. The pathology report from surgery will determine if I will need any further treatments, though my doctors are pretty sure that won’t be necessary.
Though getting through this was not always easy, I am SO LUCKY to have had such amazing support to help get my to this finish line. I am so grateful to every person who sat with me during my treatments, sent a text to check-in, a meal or flowers. I really cannot express how much the support has meant to me.