Last Chemo!!

How can one be so excited and yet have an overwhelming dread at the same time? That’s how I felt going into my sixth and final round of chemotherapy yesterday. I hadn’t slept in two nights in anticipation of finally wrapping up these particular treatments, hopefully to never undergo chemo in the future, while at the same time fully aware that chemo thunder awaited me midweek. It’s the expectation of better days ahead, but bracing myself for the final storm I still have to journey through.

After the welcome news of a clear CT scan for me last week, I learned of the passing of a sweet lady who had fought Stage IV ovarian cancer for several years. On Sunday my daughter-in-love lost her precious grandmother to kidney disease. We now rally around those two families in prayer, but rejoice too that both ladies loved the Lord and have received their crowns of glory! Mary and Leslie leave wonderful legacies for their children and grandchildren and in Leslie’s case, great grandbabies too. I am so thankful my son’s two boys were so well-loved by her and I know my son and daughter-in-law will keep her memory alive in their hearts.

It was also a couple of weeks of seeing God work in miraculous ways for our young friend, Sarah. She continues to fight Stage IV metastatic breast cancer with brave determination! It’s been a rough few weeks for her, so she needs continuous intercessory prayer as she undergoes more chemo treatments. Please add her to your prayer chains at your individual churches and to your personal prayer lists too.

I have been texting back and forth with a young dad, Michael, who finished his last chemo treatment last week. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Hodgkins lymphoma and his chemo has been absolutely brutal on him! He now awaits his scan results. Please pray it comes back clear!

Yesterday, as the nurses poked me three times to find a vein to put the IV in, I felt that under-current of trepidation of having to go through chemo thunder one more time, but tempered as well with sincere gratefulness for all those who have cared for me these many months. The nurses, doctors, and volunteers at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary are the very best! There is a tradition there for patients who have finished their last chemo treatment to ring a school bell to mark the occasion. I have been looking forward to getting to ring that bell since round one, and when I finally rang that bell with gusto, the whole department, patients and nurses together, applauded and cheered. I felt slightly embarrassed and like a rock star at the same time! When I passed the nurses desk to go home, my nurse called out to me, “Congratulations and good luck! I hope we never see you here again!” It was the nicest thing she could have said to me.

As I walked through the waiting room jam-packed with dear people of every nationality, and age waiting their turn for treatment, I purposefully smiled my widest smile to assure those who saw me come from the treatment room that their time for bell-ringing will come. We are all unified in our cancer journeys. We all share a common purpose. Our stories may be vastly different in getting to this point, but we travel similar paths in fighting cancer. I believe in the power of prayer. I hope many there do too. I couldn’t have gotten through these last few months without people encouraging me and praying for me. I start radiation treatments in a month. I will appreciate all the prayers as I finish up my second battle with cancer.

Last night my family gathered with me to celebrate. After each chemo treatment my husband would take me out for a “fish feed”. We did that when I battled breast cancer nineteen years ago and thought to keep that “tradition” this time too. My son and son-in-love cooked the fish feast last night and having my loved ones around me, laughing and toasting my “good health” just reinforced why I’ve fought so hard to beat cancer for the second time! While being fully aware that God has indeed numbered all of our days and for those who love and know the Hope that is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we do not fear death. However, until we are called Home as Mary and Leslie were, we battle on, fighting the good fight every step of the way! I posted this on my Facebook page and it encapsulates why cancer patients, survivors and thrivers do everything humanly possible to conquer cancer, the rest of course is up to God!

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