Almost, but NOT quite, crossing a line here….
A few weeks ago my oncology nurse called to remind me of an upcoming appointment. They always call a few days in advance, because they deal with people with “cancer brain” (forgetfulness, lack of concentration) every day and they probably quickly got tired of patients who forget their appointments. She said it was marked “FINAL” on my file and I asked, “Does this mean you’ve finally had enough of me and are planning to put me to sleep?”
After a pause, she said, “Uh, no, and you know we’re not even close to being tired of you, you goose. This means that Tuesday is your last infusion.
Wait, what now? Last infusion? But don’t infusions kill mutant cancer cells by the millions and make me a superhero?
The thought of stopping them was frightening.
Dr Waits explained that since my blood work had improved dramatically and remained within normal limits for months, I no longer needed the infusions.
So. on my last day of infusion, Sharon took me to the large canvas hanging in the hallway. It had a word on it, “Hope”, and the inscriptions of others who survived before me. She handed me a black Sharpie, which I returned after pulling a purple one out of my bag.
Here is what I wrote: “When I started treatment for leukemia, I felt hope. As my treatment progressed and my cancer regressed, I knew my hope was justified. As I complete my last treatment today, I am hope incarnate. You are in good hands here, NEVER give up hope.
Then I went back to the infusion center to gather my things. There was Dr. Waits, standing by my chair, holding a smiling balloon.
It was time to ring the bell, the bell I had attached to each brew, as it was mounted on the wall opposite my “normal” chair. Only survivors ring the bell, and I was about to cross the line from “fighter” to “survivor”.
The nurses all gathered, and I sounded that plunger so vigorously that I broke it. 🙂
I still go there once a month now to do blood work and make sure the leukemia stays at bay. I also emptied my IV port, which is exactly as exciting as it sounds.
I did it, guys 🙂
Patti is the editor of the Greene County Daily World. She loves kitties, drinking wine and listening to records with good friends. If you want to share a story or just make a friend, she can be contacted at [email protected]