Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remission Eve

Today is Remission Eve.

What is Remission Eve you ask? Definition: the night before a cancer patient finds out his or her cancer is in remission. I cannot remember one little detail of this night 5 years ago. Here is my best guess of what the night might have looked like:

1) Possibly being force-fed by my parents. By month 5 of treatment, I do remember that everything I ate had a little metal taste. Sometimes it straight-up tasted like metal. Grilled cheese sandwiches and Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets kept me going those days. Amazingly enough, I can still eat both of these foods like a champ.
2) After "dinner" I might have made some phone calls or flipped through magazines. Maybe went and hung out with Tom, Clair and one of my parents in the den. By this time during treatment my hands were in such pain I really couldn't write very well anymore. Not much journaling or writing notes by month 5. If you received a note or email during this time, just know I really love and care about you. These small tasks were extremely difficult.
3) Time to flush my central line. This little port was where chemo entered my body and had to be flushed with a saline solution each and every night. Notice the white bandage in the photo covering my line. Central line consisted of 2 wires coming out of my body. So instead of using this time of the evening to brush my long, curly hair (not an issue anymore at this point!) I would put my wig back on her styrofoam mannequin head, take my medicine and do the line flushing thing and get ready for bed.
4) But no sleeping for me! LARGE doses of steroids will do that to you. I'm pretty sure I watched every episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Nick at Nite during these months. But early on when treatment started, my eye site worsened due to other drugs. All that to say, Will Smith's face was a bit blurry. Steroids wire you and I was wide awake most nights until about 4 or 5 in the morning when they would finally wear off a little bit. Only then did I doze off. Probably singing the Fresh Prince rap in my dreams.
5) Wake up early-- blessed by the gift of life and thankful to fight cancer another day.

The weeks leading up to "Remission Eve" were not easy ones. I was very weak at this point and had gone several weeks during the months of August and September not being able to take treatment. My body was just too weak to stand the chemotherapy drugs. So I waited and waited. Started my 4th round of chemo at the beginning of October 2004. It will be 5 years tomorrow that I sat in my oncologist's office and waited to hear what was next. More treatment? Body still weak and no more treatment for a while? I knew they wanted me to take 2 more rounds, but just didn't see how I was going to handle it all. Little did I know that October 22, 2004 would be the day I'd hear these beautiful words: "no signs of disease".

Tomorrow my lymphoma will have been in remission for five years. Where in the world did five years of my life go? I think back to that moment and never would have dreamed the journey would look the way it does today. I'm so glad the world is in God's hands and my tiny life is so valuable to Him.

Grateful for life and grateful for you. Sleep sweet tonight and let's celebrate God's miracle tomorrow!

Much love,
Rebecca...Child of God and Five Year Cancer Survivor

Photo Information: This photo was actually taken after my 6th round of chemotherapy and as I was in the middle of my month of radiation. I posted this photo to remind myself (and all reading this) of a peace and joy that only comes from the Lord. I know the world would say I've had some prettier moments, but to me-- this photo represents pure joy and beauty from the Lord. I promise the smile on my face in this picture is radiating from my heart. Your love and prayers kept me smiling. Bald never looked so beautiful.

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