It’s a wrap for Herceptin

No more Herceptin. No more infusions. No more pink chairs and chemo nurses and my favorite pharmacist who mixed my drugs with me in mind. No more hours spent waiting. No more hours spent visiting, hours spent observing, hours spent thinking. No more personal retreats to a place that became home. No more powerful potions saving me from cancer. No more bald head. No more sprouts of short brown curly hair. No more every-third Wednesday. No more. No more. No more.

It’s only me. And my port that I will keep. Just in case. And a stop every month to keep it clean. And one scan of my heart. To check for damage. And periodic follow-ups. And longer brown curly hair. Long enough to pull back, straighten, style. And memories of a place that took cancer away and gave me a life more precious than ever before. A life that is all my own. On my own.

One year behind me. Fifty-two weeks of treatment. Seventeen infusions. All above and beyond my initial treatment plan. An extra protection to stop cancer from returning. Because of studies and trials and women who lost their lives before me, I benefit. I am a recipient of this wonder drug. I am a recipient of the gift of life. I am happy. I am relieved. I am thankful. I am overwhelmed. I am sad.

No more active treatment. No more help from cancer-fighting drugs. No more constant attention. No more company in strangers who are like me. No more strength in numbers.

Just me. And my safety nets. Zoloft. Counseling. Family. Friends. Writing. Sharing. Praying. Helping. Honoring. Hoping. Laughing. Making sense of it all. Making it matter.

Today, the real surviving begins.

Jacki Donaldson

16 thoughts on “It’s a wrap for Herceptin

  1. No more, no more, no more … bad stuff ! Back on track with the good life you have all around you. Back to what you fought to save and savor ! Congratulations on a journey well traveled. Go live the life that you fought to save with great vigor and joy !

    UTTS Jane

  2. You are joyous and cancer free! We send many cheers. May the lessening of your active treatment ultimately strengthen the strong beat of the heart and steady pulse of a courageous soul continuing to touch others with advocacy journalism.

    Welcome to your next chapter in life. We rejoice to be a part of your safety net, just as you are a part of ours!

  3. Congratulations! It’s a very well earned feeling the one you must have right now… I wish you the best, thanks for your effort of sharing your experience with everybody, greetings from peru…

  4. Jacki,
    Welcome to my world!!! At first it is a little scary but remember you did everything right!!!!! I am here for you if you ever need someone to talk with or just listen. Don’t be surprised if you aren’t celebrating that treatment is over- just know it gets easier in time.
    Love, Amy

  5. To my Sister, to my friend, to my girl who continues to inspire. I keep your handwritten pink letter on my fridge to remind me I am not alone. I think of you every time I open that door –

    All I can say is I am jealous your hair is longer than mine!!!!


  6. Jacki, I’m a breast cancer survivor (6 years!) and I’m writing a fictional book about two BC survivors who are helping another woman going through it. I’ve forgotten so much, which is why I googled to see if anyone’s blogged about their journey. Congratulations on finishing your chemo! Yay!

  7. I feel your sigh of relief, the anticipation of having your “normal life” back and your will to live have amazed me and have brought you to this moment. Your story reminded me so much of my grandmothers ordeal with breast cancer, though it was 12 years ago and she unfortunately lost her fight, she too was brave, and my prayers and well wishes are with you always.

  8. Thank God for you and all that you have done. I think just about every time I have left a response I have said how inspiring you are and how lucky we are all to know you. I repeat that again as I think of you and all the emotion you must be going through at this time. So much “wondering” as you start this new chapter. One thing is for certain, you are a survivor.
    You will always be a survivor. I love you and I am thankful everyday that you are my friend.
    All my best, April

  9. Hi there,
    I’ve been lurking for a bit, but just had to comment when I read this blog. You and I are in the same boat- both finishing up chemo and entering this crazy “watch and wait” world.
    I must tell you that I am very touched by your gratitude and your honesty and I feel like I know you and what you’re going through, even though we’ve never spoken to each other.
    I wish you all the best in this new chapter in your life, and I encourage you to keep us all posted on how it goes.
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers.


  10. Congratulations! I’m new to scouring the net for breast cancer info ( a friend’s recent bad news has a lit a fire beneath me) and I’m surprised by the amount of inspirational stuff out there. You, Kirston Mann’s blog at DailyCents and so on… happy for you!

  11. Thank you! You give me hope and I smile thinking about my future. I admire you and your strength. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 5 months pregnant and after 3 rounds of A/C, she was born. A beautiful healthy baby girl – who herself is a cancer survivor. My chemo and mastectomy behind me now…I’m currently undergoing reconstruction and have Herceptin until November. I am blessed and so are you I see!
    Thank you again – your words inspired me.

  12. I just stumbled across this blog today while surfing for something else. I’ve had the same journey as you, and will be celebrating my last Herceptin on August 28, 2008. I’m so grateful for this drug, and for my wonderful doctors. Once upon a time, our stories would have ended differently but today we can look forward to the rest of our lives as healthy women!


  13. Wow, I am trying to get brave like you. However, I am totally scared now, it sounds weird to other\’s to hear this considering what I already went thru. But, I have two more herceptin infusions to go… Then my testing.. I am 10 months in remission from the operation that took out all the cancer\’s tumors and cells. But, I feel in a way, lost now….I am trying to get over that. Everyone said, well it is not like you have it, it is removed and gone, so forget and stop worrying about it. Am I just going nuts…. I am trying to move on, I feel that I am moving on… Only feel that on some days!

  14. Hi Jacki,
    I can relate to the no more, no more no more,
    I am a cancer survivor myself, and the worst day of my life was when I left the oncology department, left my second home, or should i say my “home” away from home, as we are there most of the time. That day I will never forget, as I was crying like a baby, something I never did in the past, my treatments where always in a shape of being happy as we can be considering what i was going through. My nurse was in chock when she saw me cry, i had to put my sunglasses on as I left the hospital, did not want any one to see me cry that way. I was supposed to feel happy, to feel relive , to start a new life, but yet, I was sad, really sad.
    After all my treatments and my cancer journey, I saw so many patients not happy, struggling to find the joy, to find a new life,
    Every one was asking me to write a book, to write my story, I never thought that it would be possible, today I am an author of “The Joy of Cancer,” A Journey of Self-Discovery.
    this book recalls my journey as well as helping others in a positive way, how can one have cancer, or even a life event and be happy. See how something bad can happen and make the best out of this situation, but finding the JOY of should I say finding not the WHY but what to do with it!!!!
    if you wan to read the book, just click on the link below and you will be able to see a preview of it… Good luck to you and stay positive , look at the opportunities that you have and not what you don’t have.
    from a survivor..

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