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.