December 11, 2019 - Press Play
I could not have predicted how this day would end. As I was waiting on Jamie and Mason to come home, I was perusing the movies on Disney+, and I came across “The Sound of Music”. This is a movie that we’ve all seen, countless times. For some of us, we lost count long ago. I remember watching it on television when I was a little girl. It was a big event when it was shown on television each year. It was Must See TV.
So, with the Apple remote in hand, I pressed play. I was anticipating groans and disappointment from both Jamie and Mason when they walked in. The song, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”, was blaring from the television. The movie had just begun playing, but I was already prepared to change the channel to something Star Warian. To my utter surprise, Mason said, “oh, I’ve seen this before in school. I think it was during music class”. And just like that, he sat down to watch.
In truth, he had seen parts of it, but he had never sat down and watched the entire 3 hour movie (2h 52min to be exact). Tonight, he did. And he did so in a manner that warmed my heart for a lifetime.
Mason and I curled up together in my “temporary” recliner. We (and bunny) were snuggled together under blankets holding hands as we watched the entire movie. It was a magical night. With the Christmas tree lights glowing, we were snuggled up together watching an iconic movie from 1965. It is a night I will always cherish, and a night I will never forget. I am so happy I pressed play.
Side note: Before everyone thinks Jamie was left out, he wasn’t. He probably feels like the lucky one. He had a Boy Scouts committee meeting tonight. Gracefully, he did not have to participate and pretend to enjoy it. So, it was just Mason and me, singing about our favorite things.
Today was also the first day that I have not had to take a pain pill of any kind since my last chemo infusion (Monday, December 6th). As expected, the neuropathy and bone pain descended without apology on Wednesday the 8th. This time, I did not stand on ceremony. I took Percocet every 4 hours, every 4 hours for 5 days. On day six, I was finally able to stretch the time between doses. If I tried to stretch the time too early, I felt it in my bones, literally. I took my last Percocet Monday night…at least until next chemo week.
They say the side effects of chemotherapy are cumulative. What this has meant for me, is with each dose of Taxol, the pain drags on a little longer. It adds an extra day of pain and with that comes an extra day of pain management. With the first infusion of Taxol, I was “drug free” on Sunday. With the third infusion (the one I had last week), I was “drug free” on Tuesday (yesterday). And so it goes…
My final dose of Taxol is this coming Monday, December 16th. Based on the “pain schedule”, I should be “drug free” by Christmas Day! That will be the best Christmas gift.
I have ONE more chemotherapy infusion to go. One more. I am mentally prepared. Jamie and I are seriously considering taking Mason to Atlanta with us for the last infusion. He will have to miss a few days of school, but he will be there with us when I ring the chemo bell, signifying my last chemotherapy treatment. I want him there. I want him to see and feel the accomplishment.
It’s ironic. The thing about cancer, do you ever really ring the bell for the last time? For some people, it may very well be their last round with cancer and chemotherapy, but for others re-occurrence of cancer is in their future. As happy as I will be ringing that bell, I can't help but think of other people receiving infusions, hearing that bell, knowing they will never ring it. It is bittersweet.
For instance, I have a PET scan scheduled for December 30th. Now, that is a test that I’m looking forward to anxiously and with trepidation. I do feel as if my prayers have been answered. I expect a clean scan. I expect the glorious news that my body is free of cancer. But it is only human to have anxiety about that test. That test releases me from this disease, at least for a while, until the next scan. When I hear the test results of that scan, I plan on remembering the sound of the bell ringing.
Ironically, chemotherapy is not the end of my treatment. Jamie and I met with my Radiation Oncologist when we were in Atlanta last week. Radiation Therapy is the next step on my journey. We weren’t surprised by the news, we expected it. She confirmed that I would need 25-28 radiation therapy sessions. There will be more to write on that front as we get closer, so stay tuned.
As I sit here writing this, my fingers are pretty numb and tingly, but the bone pain is a manageable nuisance. I have four good days ahead of me before my next and last chemotherapy infusion. I plan to make these days count. I will press play.