I Finished Chemo! – A Pinch of Healthy

Many of you have asked for an update on how I am doing with my cancer battle. I am happy to report that I finished my chemotherapy treatment about a week and a half ago. Woo hoo!🎉

Here is a video I posted to my Instagram of me ringing the bell to celebrate.

So the most common question I get: How are you doing? I will do my best to answer that.

Physically

It is strange because I know that my treatment is over. But I don’t feel like me cancer experience is over. I am still dealing with a lot of physical challenges. These are not meant to be complaints, just simply me telling what is happening to me physically.

The physical effects of chemo get more intense as you advance deeper into treatment. I don’t have many pictures of me from this time period, but I found a couple.

This one from chemo six, exactly half-way through. My mom had wanted to be there, but she ended up having to stay home and care for my kids, and my dad snapped this picture to send her.

Woman in pink shirt and gray hat receiving chemotherapy

And here I am after my final treatment – chemo twelve. You can see the difference in my appearance.

I won’t go into all the gory details of chemo side effects, but just the ones that are the most challenging right now. The chemo drugs have done a number on my legs, feet and hands. My legs are very weak, and I struggle to make it up or down even one flight of stairs. I walk very slow and with a slight limp. My balance it off, and I have to be so careful not to fall.

Neuropathy is one of the biggest side effects from the drugs I was on. I am still dealing with numbness in my hands, feet and legs.

I know that my blood counts are likely very low, which puts me at risk for infection. They were low prior to my final treatment, and I know that chemo takes them even lower. I have to be super careful, and I am choosing to lay low and be pretty much a homebody for the next couple weeks, until I have time to bounce back.

I have been told that these symptoms will get better over time, as the chemo drugs get out of my system and my strength rebuilds. But for now I have to take things slow and ask for lots of help, caring for my kids and my household especially.

The nausea is all gone, so I am so happy about that! My energy levels are starting to improve. I don’t need quite as many naps as I was taking before.

It still takes me a lot of effort to do simple things, and I get tired easily. But thankfully, I have the space and support to allow me to rest and recover when needed.

I am so very helpful for all the help and support I have from my husband, parents, in laws, neighbors and friends. It has been amazing and humbling to see the outpouring of support and love.

Despite the physical challenges, I am so thankful to be alive! Thank God for that! Every single day is a gift. Life is so precious and so fragile. I am thankful for every minute and every breath.

I have managed to work a little on the blog, just at a much slower pace. I enjoy my work so much. It brings me so much joy, and it makes me forget that I am fighting this battle.

Emotionally

Whew, emotions. I haven’t written a ton about my cancer fight, other than that original post about my diagnosis. The most I have shared has been on Instagram stories. By the way, I saved a highlight reel there (on the IG profile page) in which I saved all the clips where I gave any sort of cancer updates. The truth is, I am still processing what has happened to me.

Everything seemed like such a whirlwind since this all started. From the mystery of trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with me, the fatigue, the worsening symptoms, the shock of the diagnosis, recovering from the biopsy surgery, having a port put it, and beginning chemo. It was a lot!

And when I was in it, all I could focus on was the next immediate hurdle in front of me. Getting through the next chemo, managing a new side effect or complication, getting through the next PET scan, etc. Every time I got past a hurdle, a new challenge would pop up. It was overwhelming and intense. So I am just now starting to reflect and process.

It feels very strange to finish chemo. Don’t get me wrong, I am sooo happy that I made it through twelve infusions! I find myself wondering if it worked, hoping that it was enough.

So my emotions are pretty much all over the place! I feel joy, excitement, gratitude, frustration, fear, relief and so many other emotions. There is a lot to process still.

I am praying through any fears of recurrence and trusting God’s divine plan.

My Kids

I have gotten asked a ton about how my kids are doing. They are amazing!

I was afraid when this started that my appearance would frighten them. But they love me no matter what I look like! Their resilience and strength and love has helped encourage me.

My friends and family also surprised me with a little No Mo Chemo party when I got home from my last treatment.🥳

Next Steps

I will have my final PET scan the first week in May. This will show the doctors if any cancer is still in my body. I am hoping and praying that it will show I am cancer free and officially in remission! But until then, I wait patiently, try to recover from chemo, and enjoy my life.

If you have read this far, thank you, friend!!! I am so thankful for all the prayers, words of encouragement and love sent to me from all of you. I am truly grateful. 🙏🏻

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