Waiting to Exhale

by Amelia

“It  must feel great to get your last bad chemo! Congratulations!”

Three weeks ago, this was the message that kept flashing on our cell phones and repeating in our emails. Leah read them as she laid on the couch with achy muscles, bowel pain, and  a mug of ginger tea. She did not feel great.

I keep waiting for the moment when everything feels better. We’ve been holding our breath since September 3, waiting for the moment that it’s “over.” I’m starting to feel just how much it’s a process, not a moment.

Yesterday was the first day I relaxed a little. These past three weeks I’ve been waiting for the bad chemo to work its way through Leah’s system – especially her immune system – so I can stop worrying that she is going to die from a stupid little germ that hitched a ride on her off a clumsy orange cart at Home Depot. I have never known what it’s like to worry like this, and to have the worry actually be based in reality. Leah’s blood work came back good yesterday, so woo hoo! She’s not going to die for hopefully another 40 years or so.

But Leah’s treatment is still so far from being over. Until November, we will drive the hour and a half to Rochester once every three weeks for her targeted chemo, Herceptin. Starting March 14 she’ll get daily radiation for six weeks at the nearby Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca. In addition, in the next six months Leah will need at the minimum two echocardiograms, two appointments with the hair growth researcher, an annual mammogram and ultrasound at the breast clinic, a follow up with the breast surgeon, a new patient appointment with a local Ob Gyn, and a consult with a Rochester Ob Gyn surgeon named, of all things, Doctor Toy.

So yeah, we don’t feel like celebrating. With Leah feeling a bit better, the chaos and stress of life is already knocking impatiently on the door. When she was diagnosed, we had closed the lounge for good only five days earlier. The goal was to finish the renovations on the new restaurant and bakery and open in November. And March is here and we’re not there yet. Talk about stress. I can’t even begin to describe it, but good grief I am sure not exhaling anytime soon.


4 responses

  1. I understand all of what you are saying because this is my journey also. After finishing my chemo in December, I continue every 3 weeks until the end of September for my Herceptin. On March 10, I will finish my radiation treatments – 7 weeks & 35 treatments. I go for an electrocardiogram every 3 months and although the routine can be stressful, I am grateful that most of it is behind us and choose to continue to look on the bright and positive side. Sending hugs.


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