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Treats at the end of treatment

Zoom, moments before the last treatment

Zoom, moments before the last treatment

I had my last breast cancer treatment today! Sure, there’ll be regular imaging tests (starting tonight, actually, with an MRI), and follow-up appointments for years to come, but I am now officially DONE.

I know I said a couple of months ago that the oncologist told me I could start referring to my cancer in the past tense, since radiation is aimed not at treating cancer but at preventing a recurrence. So officially I’ve been ‘over’ cancer for awhile. But it’s hard to feel like you don’t have cancer when you’re having daily cancer treatments. You know what I mean?

Now I feel it. I feel like I can begin to put cancer in the past. And I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to say that.

Radiation machine #18, and the little table I lay on while being radiated

Radiation machine #18, and the little table I lay on while being radiated

“How are you going to celebrate?” asked one of the radiation technicians.

“I’m going to scrub all the green magic marker off my breast,” I said. The technicians have been calling out numbers (22.2, 88, 8.5, and 8.7) and scribbling on my breast for a month now, and asking me not to wash it off. (By the way, if you ever have to have these treatments, wear a cheap disposable bra for the whole month, since it’s going to end up permanently stained a splotchy green.)

“Oh no,” she said, “Your breast tissue is still very tender, and you mustn’t scrub it. Let it wear off naturally.”

The view from the table: Ceiling tiles painted by one of the radiation technologists

The view from the table: Ceiling tiles painted by one of the radiation technologists

Apparently radiation symptoms will continue to intensify for two more weeks, and then my tissue will start to heal rapidly. I’ve been lucky though – I didn’t get any burns. My skin held up well to the challenge. Yay skin.

After the final treatment, GC whisked me off to Second Cup to celebrate with a cranberry-apple muffin, and then to Chances R for the breakfast special. We reminisced about the whole thing (cancer – not breakfast).

Tomorrow – this is so exciting – I’m celebrating the end of cancer treatments with a free facial at Oresta’s Organic Skincare Confectionery! Remember my one and only facial in November 2008? That was at Oresta’s. A couple of days ago I read on Laurie Kingston’s blog that Oresta’s is offering complimentary facials to women with breast cancer.

Oresta wanted to do something for women with breast cancer, while avoiding the whole pinkwashing thing. Ultimately she decided to offer free facials to women with breast cancer. And I think it’s lovely. There’s plenty of unpleasantness associated with cancer, so when a company offers something pleasurable directly to affected women, it’s wonderful, and very much appreciated.

I’m going to keep celebrating for a few more days too. Tonight, after my MRI, I’m celebrating Octopus Book’s 40th birthday at the Carleton Tavern and Raw Sugar’s first birthday at Raw Sugar. Both are open to the public and free if you’re looking for something fun to do.

21 comments to Treats at the end of treatment

  • grace

    I am truly happy for you.

    You really should offer your readers a ‘click to embiggen’ feature on the top photo so that we can see your smile! And your new hair . . .

  • Thanks Grace! I didn’t make that thumbnail biggable because I actually didn’t comb my hair today until 5:00 pm. That was what my hair looked like after rolling out of bed and heading out to the hospital. I didn’t want my picture to reflect poorly on Meaghan’s talents, when really it was due to my own low grooming threshold.

  • reb

    Yay end of this phase now keep up the momentum for the ‘wait’ and enjoy the well deserved facial.

    Drat I wanted to try to get to at least one of the anniversary things but forgot to book yesterday. Enjoy em both a bit more on my behalf please.

  • Hooray for facials and celebrations!!! I can’t get out to either party this week end but will be there in spirit. Congratulations, Zoom.

  • I’m so incredibly happy for you!!!!

  • Deb

    Overwhelmed with emotion here… i love you and am so glad it is over.

  • Nat

    Seems to me, you should do more than just breakfast and a muffin.

    I’m glad it’s over and hopes it says that way.

  • Oma

    You (and your hair) look wonderful. You look as if it really is over! Enjoy your treat. Love you.

  • I love Oresta – lovely woman and FABULOUS facials. She’s the best.

  • Julia

    Yay skin! I remember that room well. The end of treatment was a bit anticlimatic but that was largely due to the chipper nature of the folks who works in radiation. I wonder why you are having an MRI?

  • Bonnie

    Great news Zoom! Enjoy your celebrations!

  • Carmen

    Excellent!!! And have fab weekend!

  • Mo

    Woo Hoo! Congratulations Zoom!!! The end of radiation treatments is definitely worth celebrating.

    Plus moving forward to new adventures and experiences with family and friends.

    Congrats Zoom!

  • Kathleen

    Zoom, congratulations on the end of your treatments. I am so glad that you are through this horrible procedure. I hope and pray that from now on, your health will be great and you can once again enjoy doing all the little things. Have a great Halloween!!!

  • Woohoo!
    Hugs and Happy Dances!

  • lucy

    Congratulations, Zoom! My partner is going through something similar right now (just had his surgery, so far no plans for radiation). It’s encouraging to read your happy news, as well as your positive attitude throughout.

    The fish and turtle painting is really nice. I think that whoever painted it really did a service to all the people who have had to lie there and look up at that ceiling.

    Enjoy your celebrations; we actually have a sunny Sunday today!

  • Congratulations! High five! Enjoy your celebrations.

  • felonius bunk

    who doesn’t enjoy a little karmic relief every tao and zen? i’m not one of those lying hypocrites who tell you they hate to be an “i told you so” – i love it!

  • Congratulations! I’m sure you’re enoying looking forward to things that don’t have to be scheduled around medical treatments!

  • Wow. What a hurdle. What a milestone. What a mountain you’ve climbed! Congrats!