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Ring That Bell!

DSC_0495So I just can’t wait to catch up to the present day to write this post! I received so much support on the Facebook page about this that I just had to do this now!

I finished up my chemotherapy infusions!!! Most recently I have been receiving Taxol (weekly) and Perjeta and Herceptin (every three weeks) for a total of 12 weeks. This followed my first twelve weeks of Adriamycin and Cytoxan and a week in the hospital. So it was about 25 weeks start to finish, just shy of six months total. Crazy to think it has been that long! My nurse told me when I started that it would go by so quick and that it would be manageable and that I COULD and WOULD do this. And I did! I still have Herceptin every three weeks to complete a year of infusions, surgery, and radiation. First my body gets a chance to heal for a few weeks. There are a bunch of appointments and tests. But most importantly there is That Baby’s First Christmas! I have no idea how long it will be before I start to feel somewhat normal again. I have my surgery scheduled for about a month from now and I am hoping my body bounces back and my blood work reflects it and I am able to keep that scheduled as it is. So that is where all that stands.

Now for the happy part. Telling you all about my last treatment. For some reason, I was kind of nervous! I had taken my time getting ready this morning. I knew I had to look somewhat presentable, which I try to do every week just so I feel like myself and keep my mental and emotional self in the right place. I arrived and they started my peripheral IV. Yay for the nurse, one of my favorites for her spunky personality, getting it on the first try. Boo for it being on the inside of my wrist on my dominant hand. More about why I don’t have a port anymore will be coming, I just drafted the post. Be patient!

That Guy and my mom were my buddies today. My nurse heard us talking about it being my last true chemotherapy treatment and got teary eyed when we first arrived. She asked if I was going to ring the bell, and I told her I thought so. My labs came back good, meaning I could get my treatment. My white blood cells and ANC (absolute neutrophil count) have been two they are watching. It was a Taxol only day, so it was meant to be a “short” one. I had an early appointment before the rush that happens at 9 am. Thought I would be good to go. Well, for some reason pharmacy didn’t have my premeds ready in the typical time. My short morning turned into a bit of a longer one. I can’t say the actual infusion was exciting, which is a very good thing! Once I got the premeds I was asleep since it includes Benadryl. So I didn’t have much of a chance to really think about this bell ringing thing. I woke up when they were taking my vitals and doing my IV flush. Next thing I knew I was ready to go!

So my nurse started telling all the other nurses in the big open room that I was headed over to ring the bell. All of a sudden it really hit me. I was in this huge room where people were receiving treatment. Some of them may never get to ring the bell. How could I ring this in front of them. So I pretty much rang it and ran. Or so it felt. My mom and husband took pictures and I gave it a fairly honest ring. Then I hugged my nurse. Then I skedaddled!

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We got out to the lobby and my mom told me to sit down. I was so ready to get out of there so, while I now understand the why, I really needed to just leave. I was in the moment. But so were my girls. My dad had brought them over. That Little Girl arrived carrying some very beautiful bouquets for me. She was wearing the walking team sweatshirt and everything pink she possibly could plus a huge huge proud smile. She told me her outfit, specifically the sweatshirt, was to show everyone who was sick like me that she supports them. She is one special kid. I so wish I could share the picture my mom captured, it is much better than any bell ringing picture of yours truly. I’m not sure, but I think they were trying to get there to see me ring the bell. Even for her there was no way I was going back to ring that bell again, but I did ask her if she wanted to go back and see where I got my medicine.

DSC_0496I am such a lucky mommy to have a caring sweet daughter who really seems to get it. She told me she was proud of me and good job today with a huge hug as she handed me the bouquet. She has no idea how proud I am of her each and every day for how much she tries, as best as she can, to understand and love me and care for not just me but everyone in her life. I walked her back and showed her the room, specifically the bell that was right inside the entryway. I was uncertain if this was a good idea. It is an overwhelming sight for someone at any age, but I kind of felt out her reaction, and we did not stay more than a minute. I showed her the bell and what it looked like, and then we left again.

We debated going to grab a quick celebration lunch. After hugs and kisses from That Guy and my dad, they went to work. I was not feeling up to anything and really just wanted to come home and relax. More on how these treatments have been as I get to that part of my story. So we listened to my body, as we have to do these days.

So that is the story! One day soon, as I tell the story as it has happened, I will discuss the emotions I’ve felt leading up to this day. It isn’t all sunshine and unicorns, even though it seems like it should be. I expect the next few weeks to be emotionally quite difficult actually. It’s a sit and wait and rest period. I don’t do well with that. Patience is not my strongest virtue!

Thank you so much to everyone who has gone to treatments with me so far. I am so blessed to have the support system in place to make that happen. Not just to have care for my own girls, but the children that my chemo buddies have that need care. It truly takes a village! So thank you to my village! For my friends who haven’t been able to be there and check in by text, thank you for thinking of me and lifting me up during some crazy anxious times. And thank you to everyone who has spent time praying for us, visiting, and sending cards and packages so far into this journey. I know Thanksgiving was last week, and I just did all this, but I can’t say it enough. So amazed to have so many people reading this blog and hope that someday it helps someone as you have all done for me to let me know that That Family is not alone in this journey.

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Comments

  1. Heidi Ahnert says:

    This did make me cry, but only because I’m so happy for you and so proud of your daughter. Our thoughts and prayers will continue.

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  2. Susan Santoro says:

    I had tears in my eyes as I read this. What a journey and what a brave soul!!! I have been praying for her everyday! I can’t imagine anyone who does not believe in the power of prayer and the power of a strong family. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers!!!!

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  3. You are an amazing woman! I can only imagine your emotions when you got to ring the bell. Dad rang his at HUP at the end of November. What a roller coaster of emotions. I have been thinking of you and your family often. Love to all.

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    • Awww, you are too sweet. It was a crazy weird moment! Plus, well, I was on a lot of drugs! Made it even more strange! I’m sure your Dad can relate to parts of that. There are no guarantees in life, but to even get to ring the bell makes us a lucky pair! I think of your family, especially your Dad, so often. Miss you!

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  4. Tears while reading in my office (hope no one walks by!). So happy for you. Your family is amazing! xoxo

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  5. And so are you!!

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. […] finally… finally… finally… it was time for my last chemo infusion. My Mom and That Guy went with me. My Dad brought my girls over at the end with flowers and […]

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