Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chasing a Unicorn Named Closure

It’s been more than a year since I have been here to write about my experience with breast cancer. I think the time elapsed originally like it does when you really mean to call an old friend, but just can’t find the right time because it occurs to you at midnight and you certainly can’t call then. So time just gets away from you…next thing you know, it’s been a year.

That’s one reason. The other is so much harder to explain. I think that as you struggle through the physical battle of chemo and all of the expected and non-expected side effects, you have so much on your plate just trying to survive that there’s no time or energy to think about what comes next. For once in my life, I was truly living in the present. You have to in order to survive. But, then…

Chemo was over. I felt like I should be better a little bit every day. And it did get better, of course not at the rate I expected. (Patience is a virtue that continues to elude me.) Chemo wasn’t the end though. I still went to the infusion center every three weeks through the end of August to get hooked up for my targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is “Chemo Light”. The worst of the side effects diminish, but the promise of no effects never materialized. I had my last treatment on August 27th, Brayden’s 6th birthday. And then it was over. No fanfare or celebration, just the knowledge that I wouldn’t be doing it again. So I left, drove home, and began the wait to be “normal” again.

My hair was supposed to start coming back right after “bad chemo” ended and targeted therapy was still going on. I was told that targeted therapy would not prevent my hair from coming back. That didn’t exactly go down like it should have. I did get sprigs of hair, but the coverage never materialized. I had a great “Terry Bradshaw” look. (That’s hair just around the edges.) But, I just couldn’t seem to grow it back on top. My doctors didn’t expect this. They were a little stupefied by it. So, I started digging. Come to find out, the study drug, Avastin, does have a very rare side effect called “hair regrowth retardation”. It occurs so rarely in the population of patients that I’m practically a lotto winner, a lotto winner of a giant booby prize. (Disclaimer: Size of booby prize has no relation to size of boobies.) My hair is coming back now, but not very quickly. I’m a long way off from showing the world my head. Time will tell. I got a bit more hope today when I met a lady at church that said her hair took 3 years to come back. If that’s the case, I could be 2/3 of the way there.

Next week will be my 2 year survivor anniversary. That’s hard to believe. When all of this started I thought by now that it would be a memory like other difficult things I’ve long since forgotten about. Then, I spent the last year searching for a unicorn named closure. Like that unicorn, closure from this cancer just doesn’t exist. Like it or not, I am permanently changed physically, mentally, and spiritually. And oddly enough, that’s actually a beautiful thing.

©2009 80% Sporadic | by TNB