Just last week I had my last chemo treatment! I continue to experience so many emotions and daily remind myself that I’m done. At this point it is impossible to believe that I’ll ever stop processing the past nine months and I am okay with that.
Among many wonderful well wishes, I received a comment from a friend who knows the battle of cancer from a daughter’s perspective. She has battled along side her mother and her response to my milestone is one that replays in my mind daily. She knows how cancer strips you of so much control. As treatments were declared complete she declared, “We now return you to your regular scheduled life. Yay.”
Along with a wonderful sense of relief, freedom and joy, there is a regained sense of control over many aspects of life. My calendar and daily activities are no longer subject to frequent appointments, blood draws and blood counts and the reality that there would be tough days ahead. It seemed that every decision made was impacted by the reality of cancer. There was very little in my days that I felt I could control. I’m thankful for the support of my husband to let me call the shots over what I could control. He was always willing to flex with my moods, my energy levels (or lack thereof), my food cravings and other things that I have already filed away in my memories.
As I move forward with a renewed sense of oh so many things, 🙂 I am aware that my regular schedule is forever changed. While my life is no longer bound by the demands of chemotherapy, it is forever changed. The changes are not all bad! Cancer is not good. Going through treatment was not fun and was not a part of my plan. While these aspects are in the past (hooray!!!) there is no doubt that life is different. My “regular scheduled life” includes a change in perspective that comes through the shock and pain of incorporating cancer into my vocabulary. It’s personal and is now a part of my story. I have to believe the change of perspective is common for many who face unplanned, difficult plot twists (see my second blog post for reference.)
Life is many things. On a given day, I could choose many adjectives to describe life. Moment by moment those descriptors may change. This change, the moment by moment experience, is what is “regular” about life. What was normal changes and the new becomes normal. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s joyful. Through the past months, pain and joy have been in the mix. I know my normal is new now and I’m confident my normal will continue to evolve and change.
It is my hope that in my new normal I will continue to see life through a more delicate lens. A lens that appreciates more aspects of each day, each person, each moment and also appreciates the delicacies of each of those aspects. I see the delicacy of this lens, yet it is stronger than ever before. It has a clarity that comes through struggle and perseverance. It provides a view that is appreciated in ways that are more vibrant and clear.
My regular scheduled life is enveloped by a new normal. My new normal is so valuable. I’m still processing it, yet embracing it. I hope I can continue in the mode of living moment by moment and day by day that was so essential to me in the battle. While living in that mode, I also want my normal to continue to be filled with dreams and schemes. That’s been normal for me for so long. That’s nothing new. 🙂
I’m thankful for the steadfast aspects of life, but am aware that life is ever changing. I’m thankful to have regained some control and yet I know there will be more uncertainties that will impact my view of life. I have learned a great deal about myself and am striving to carry the positives into the new normal. Strength has been gained, character confirmed, perspectives enhanced and peace maintained. The new normal has some great potential.
I have a feeling I will write more on this topic. There is still more sorting to be done.
As a means of updating: Chemo is complete! Tests and scans will occur in early November. My prognosis continues to be good and we are grateful!
Thank you to the many who continue to encourage and touch our lives. Thank you to the many who expressed their congratulations in reaching the end of treatment.