The call came yesterday: No chemo. NO CHEMO.
I think I’m still in shock, unable to fully process the news. It feels a little strange to be at the beginning of the end. The thing about cancer is this: you get the diagnosis and subconsciously you begin to prepare yourself for years of treatment. There is a part of you that just quietly accepts that this will be a LONG haul, a lengthy drawn out process. You can never allow yourself to believe that your treatment and recovery could be over in a matter of months, not years. That would be — well, that would be crazy, that would be setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.
Turns out, sometimes it is just a matter of months. Sometimes the worst of it truly is behind you.
The first call came from Dr. P’s office. Her assistant Rita let me know that the results were in and my oncotype dx score was 12. She said “Your number is low and that’s really good news.” I hung up and started googling.
The second call came from my oncologist. Dr. S was ecstatic. “You definitely do not need chemo,” she told me. “It simply won’t improve your odds.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. And then she answered me three times: Definitely definitely definitely NO chemo.
So while my family and friends are giddy with the news, I’m still kind of in shock, unable to embrace a sense of relief. I think it’s going to take a little time. I hate to harp on the idea of trust, but that’s what it comes down to: It’s hard to trust that this is it, that one of my doctors won’t suddenly change their mind, that the cancer is gone, that the cancer won’t come back, that this really is going to be okay.
I spent much of yesterday afternoon inside my head. Simple conversations were hard. I tried to hold on to the news, but it kept slipping away from me. There had been a course correction and I was stumbling around looking for the turn in. It’s no exaggeration when I say cancer messes with your mind.
Physically, this is the beginning of the end — nothing left to do but heal and get stronger. Emotionally, it’s only the beginning. I think I have a long way to go in that department.
But I’ll get there.
Because deep down I know, the worst of it truly is behind me.