Every generation is marked by events which are either so horrific or joyous that the details remain etched as a part of our memory as surely as if they were engraved in the fabric of our being. For those old enough to remember, I doubt we’ll ever forget where we were when President Kennedy was killed, or the space shuttle Challenger blew up, or the Twin Towers fell. But, not all such life altering events are tragedies. Sometimes, such events can bring great joy. While I don’t remember, I can only imagine the thrill the discovery of penicillin brought and the millions of lives that have been saved in the ensuring years as a result. Or, the hope the polio vaccine brought to thousands of terrified parents. Some things you just don’t forget.
The same is true for cancer patients. There are some things we’ll never forget. The day we got the “news” that our lives would never be the same (February 28). The day the doctor first calls you NED (No Evidence of Disease) (July 3). AND… the LAST DAY OF CHEMO (August 15)!!! Can we say happy dance?
That’s right my dear friends, family and gentle readers, after 22 LONG weeks, chemo is finally over and done. You can write the date on the wall! Cotton and I are more than elated – we’re totally delighted! The first leg of this triathlon has come to an end and we’re in celebration mode. Now, how does one celebrate the end of chemo? Well, with parties of course!
While it may sound counter-intuitive to say that chemo is “fun,” we made the last day into a party to celebrate with all the wonderful nurses and doctors who’ve taken such great care of me the past 22 weeks. We started with cupcakes for all the downstairs team – receptionists, line draw nurse, lab technicians. Since they’re downstairs, they always get left out of the goodies so we brought the party to them. Of course, we had more cupcakes which we passed out to all the patients upstairs in the fusion lab. No celebration is complete without a cake and so Cotton bought a huge cake which just said party all by itself. The nurses were still eating on it when we came in Friday for the bring-up-the-white-blood-count-shot!
But wait, there’s MORE!!! Cotton bought me a bright, pink sequined hat to wear to the festivities. The “look” was made complete by gaudiest rhinestone tiara I could find on eBay (eBay is my shopping friend since I’ve been in quarantine!). Talk about turning heads! People definitely knew Mary was in the room! Of course, the ensemble was made complete by a wonderful sash (pink with camouflage trim) made by the youth Sunday school class at the little green church in Martindale. Those kids, their Sunday school teacher (Terri Garret), Sissy Taylor and 99-year old Mrs. Taylor (who sewed the sash for them) absolutely ROCK!! They even supplied me with fabric markers and all the staff signed the sash. It is the most wonderful and perfect keepsake I could have! Thank you!
The day was made complete when our very own person guardian angels, Joan and Leon Thomas, stopped by to hug our necks and share our joy. Joan is a dear friend and breast cancer survivor. I’m not sure I’d have made it through without all the long Joan-talks and her calming influence. They came to encourage us (you know, help Cotton push me through the door) on the first chemo and so was so appropriate that they were there for the last chemo as well.
What’s next? Well, we’re hoping at some point, after my white blood count is back up and I have a green light from the doctors to be around people, to have more celebrations with all the dear people that we love and have missed so much the past few months. In the meantime, it’s virtual party time and I invite you to share my joy and delight at crossing this milestone!
Next step – surgery so stay tuned for more!
©2013. Mary Kyle. All rights reserved.