The chemo journey can be a rough one. I remember my mom often being sick after her chemo treatments, but she still managed to work. My sister took everything in stride and didn’t let it stop her. Each person has a different reaction to the toxins being put into their body. However, when the final dose is put into you, a wave of happiness overcomes you. You are finally done with that chapter of your cancer journey.
With my mom’s chemotherapy treatments during her first bout of breast cancer, my siblings and I were just kids: one in middle school and two in elementary school. We couldn’t be happier to see our mom finish chemo and start the journey to better health. It was hard, at times, to understand the full extent of mom’s health issues, but we knew enough to know that when the end came, we could all celebrate. A brunch sounded perfect to all of us – even if it wasn’t right away. Mom was often sick the four days following treatments and she wanted to be able to enjoy the meal we were going to have. No one could blame her. We wanted her to enjoy it as well. Making her happy was our top priority.
My sister, on the other hand, had a stomach of steel. Chemotherapy made her a little queasy here and there, and she managed to get by with only a few aches and pains. Erica’s celebration took off in a little different direction than our mom’s. My daughter and I traveled over two mountain passes to attend her last chemo session. My mom made the trip up from Southern Washington to be there too. Erica had a room full of attendees with her husband and daughter in tow. We all wanted to celebrate this occasion. My daughter Emma and I made personal signs. A certificate and a bottle of apple cider were provided by the nurses. Pictures were taken and our time together was enjoyed with the ones we love. Later that night, Erica’s close family and friends got together for dinner. Celebrating the end of taking her weekly “chemo cocktail” was a must.
The wave of relief was felt from all of us. We were relieved that the last round of toxins was issued into the body. We were relieved that the end of the journey was so much closer than it was at the beginning. We were relieved to close another chapter. To both of these women I mentioned today, the celebration – no matter how small – was well worth it. Celebrating, no matter in what form, helps in bringing the happy back in a place that often can be dark and dreary.
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