Celebration of the end of treatment – and reflection and thanks

Today I had my LAST radiation treatment!  The gremlins were at work to make sure I stayed nonattached to this being my last day when they made the radiation machine have a glitch which required a computer restart and delayed my treatment for a while.  But the computer came back up and synced properly with the radiation machine, and I had my last zapping.  It feels really good to type that!  I even got a “diploma” certifying my graduation from radiation treatments.

My radiation graduation diploma

In the parking lot afterward, I sent emails and text messages and posted on Facebook, sharing my good news and some photos.

View from the parking lot of the cancer center and Battlefield Parkway building

That was quite the contrast to being in this same parking lot after I got the breast cancer diagnosis on September 6th last year.  That day I called my sister and a couple of friends to tell them the news.  I remember thinking that the diagnosis was wonderful and terrible.  I knew that I would learn so much but that it would be a difficult journey.  I was right.  I know so much more about medical treatments now.  I know what it’s like to feel rotten for months at a time.  I know how connected I am to others, how dependent on, how grateful I am for them.  I know what it’s like to live one day, one hour, one minute at a time.  I know what it’s like to start to feel better little by little, to appreciate having a tiny bit more energy each day, to be able to park further away from the door than the closest parking spot.   I know what it’s like to go the course of two chemotherapies along with surgery and radiation – and to come out the other side.  I know what it’s like to be grateful to have persevered through the journey.

I still have healing to do.  But today I celebrate.  I am thankful and want to share my gratitude with all who have supported me in so many, many ways.  We are all connected through something greater than what we are.  I might call it God, you might call it something else, but we are all a part of this giant web of humanity.   This web has gotten me through breast cancer diagnosis and treatments to this point of graduation and celebration.  Deep thanks to all of you for you have prayed for me and sent good energy to me and fed me and visited me and emailed me and sent cards and magazines and books and flowers to me and encouraged me on Facebook (and Twitter and in text messages and on this blog) and invited me to your homes and met me at restaurants and run errands for me and brought and sent gifts to me and given me massage and reiki and acupuncture and cut my hair and shaved my head and mowed and trimmed my yard and spent the night with me after chemo and driven me to doctors’ appointments (where you have taken notes for me) and driven me to chemo and radiation treatments and have offered help and have shared in my sorrow when I was down and my joy when I was happy – and now are celebrating with me at this end of treatments.  Thank you for all that you have done, named and unnamed.

Also thank you to those who have given me chemo and radiation treatments and doctored and nursed me and who have drawn blood and analyzed blood and tissue and have given and examined x-rays and scans and handled phone calls and insurance and payments and have set up appointments and surgeries and radiation plans and wheeled me in and out of surgeries  – those who have done all the work that was involved in giving me and getting me through the medical part of breast cancer treatments.

You are all – my friends and family and my medical caregivers -a part of me and my healing, a part of this time of gratitude, a part of my stepping into life after cancer treatments.