I wanted to take a moment to announce that yesterday was Cassie’s last day of radiation treatments.
It’s been a bumpy road since she was first diagnosed in February, but she’s finished, and she’s beaten it. The scans following her last chemo treatment showed no signs of cancer, and the radiation is designed kill anything too small to show up in the scans. Although she’ll need to check in every few years to follow up, for all intents and purposes she’s cured!
I wanted to make sure to close the loop with all of you. Thanks so much for your concern and interest in how we were dealing with this trying time in our lives, and for the help and support however you could give it.
Edit 11/10/2009 — Here is the Good News in Cassie’s words:
I had my very last radiation treatment on Friday Nov. 6th. So I am officially DONE!
Although I am more than grateful to all the wonderful doctors, nurses, and technicians that cured me, I am not bouncing off of the walls with happiness just yet. I had the same reaction when my chemo was over… I wasn’t really happy until I felt better.
The radiation has given me a really sore throat. At the moment, I actually can’t even talk. It hurts to swallow food –even water sometimes. Also, for some unknown reason, my stomach is giving me problems as well. The radiologist said that it’s not common to have an upset stomach from the type of radiation that I am getting and the placement of it. But he also said that everyone reacts differently. I’ve consistently been feeling sick to my stomach and “tossing my cookies” everyday for about a week. It is possible that it is just a stomach flu, but it doesn’t feel like one. I assume that I’ll feel better in about a week or two when the radiation effects wear off.
When I walked into the hospital for my last radiation treatment, I wasn’t feeling all that bubbly –just relieved that I didn’t have to do it again. The technicians that I see everyday were surprised that I wasn’t more excited. They were running a bit ahead of schedule, so the waiting room wasn’t backed up with the ladies I usually chat with. I didn’t get to say goodbye and good luck to any of them. All in all, it was rather uneventful… until I was walking OUT of the hospital on my last radiation day.
Everything just hit me all at once. I was done. Actually done. I couldn’t even make it to my car before I started crying. It’s been a really long and difficult process despite how positive I’ve tried to stay. Ever since I was diagnosed in February, I’ve been counting down the months until this process was going to finally be over. I kept saying “I’m so sick of feeling sick.” Now that the day was finally here, all I could do was break down and cry.
In no particular order, I need to thank some people:
Even though they won’t be reading this, I want to thank every single one of the health professionals that helped to cure me –from my main Oncologist to the staff at the Ambulatory Infusion Center, my radiologist and the technicians, the nurses in the oncology wing and the critical care wing of Beaumont, my pulmonary doctor, my cardiologist…. everyone.
My dad for calling me at least once every single day. For his generous gifts to lift my spirits. For his generosity in supporting me financially. For his resourcefulness in coordinating drivers and errand-runners. And of course, it goes without saying, his constant love and support.
My mom and grandmother for checking in on me and spreading the word to everyone we know about my progress. For lunches and outings to keep me company and distract me. For visits to the hospital and my apartment. For your phone calls and support.
To Ellie for being outstandingly kind and helpful. For driving me everywhere, often at my lower moments. I feel as if this has brought us a lot closer.
To all of my siblings. Sarah for being my driver, being excited to see me, helping me to eat organically, and for your visits and friendship. Jessie for your big heart, enthusiasm, and encouragement. Max for visiting me in the hospital and sharing understanding about how it feels to be trapped there.
To my Aunt Annie, who texted me a million times! For providing wisdom and understanding. You helped more than you know.
To Debbie for being consistently positive and inspiring. For special spa days.
To all of my family, immediate and extended, for cards, balloons, flowers, hospital visits, phone calls, and prayers. But most of all for showing me how loved I am.
To all of my wonderful friends and acquaintances. I truly didn’t know how loved I was until I received all the support from you guys. From visits, outings, and gatherings –to a simple phone call, text message, or Facebook comment. It helped to have all of you rooting me on.
To Shaun. For being there through every symptom, test, surgery, treatment, and appointment. For taking care of me every single day. For loving me unconditionally. For playing nurse. For countless errands and favors. For your relentless patience and selflessness. For holding me when I had breakdowns. For making me laugh and feel loved. For calling me beautiful when I was bald, unshowered, and puking. I don’t know what I would have done without you. You are my best friend and the love of my life. Thank you for loving me.
So, you may be asking yourself “What comes next?” I suppose the answer to that is a lot of follow-up appointments with each of my specialty doctors. In a few months, they’ll re-do the cancer scanning tests to make sure that it has not come back. And I’ll continue to have those sort of tests every so often for the rest of my life –including mammograms to test for breast cancer.
I am hoping to feel better in a few weeks. And then gain back my energy and strength. I will also be coming up with a plan to live a healthier life in general to do my part in protecting my future health.
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