Friday, June 20, 2014

Final chemotherapy in the books!

June 16, 2014. That is the day I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I remember the first time I saw my paperwork the official finish date for my treatment. Knowing there was a concrete end in sight brought me such joy and hope. Since September, my life has seemed to revolve around tests, surgeries, blood draws and chemotherapy appointments. The road seemed endless when I started. As of Monday, I reached the proverbial finish line. Yes, there will still be blood tests, CT scans, and doctor appointments to make sure I remain cancer free, but my life will now be treatment free.

 I want to thank my medical team. I had great care throughout this whole experience. My primary care doctor, Dr. Henley, is the reason my tumor was caught early. If he had not been thorough, my outcome would likely not have been as positive. 

I was also lucky enough to have an extremely skilled surgeon, Dr. Frerichs. I was filleted like a fish, and yet had no complications and as smooth a recovery as I could have ever imagined. I was scared to death going into surgery, but I was in very capable hands, and my scar looks awesome!

 I am deeply indebted to my oncologist, Dr. Markus. I appreciate that he came to our first appointment armed with studies and statistics. I am grateful for the fact that he obviously had spent time researching what to do with my unusual case. I appreciate his thoroughness, his professionalism and his compassion. Thank you, Dr. Markus!

Finally, thank you to the nursing staff at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. The nurses there are all great, but I especially want to give a shout out to Chris and Nora. They always gave me just the right amount of caring, compassion and humor and I will always remember them with deep affection.

Final infusion pictures.

I had some side effects this week and Thursday was a challenging day, but I kept telling myself it would only get better from here. On Friday I did feel significantly better, which was great because I got a visit from a dear friend (and fellow runner) who moved away in December. The best medicine in the world is spending time with people you love. I miss my friend dearly and look forward to the time that her family can move back to Colorado.

I got some running in every day this week. My longest run this week was with my friend Debby. We enjoyed the 13 mile loop of the Falcon Trail on Saturday. It feels good to be getting back out on the rolling single track trails again. 

On Sunday, several friends and I participated in the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Purple Strike 5k fundraiser in Washington park in Denver. I am grateful to all of my friends who joined me or donated money to my team. While I looked around at the other entrants, I was struck by how many people were participating in the 5k memory of a lost loved one. Pancreatic cancer has taken far too many lives. I hope that with more funding for research, progress can be made to improve survival statistics for this deadly disease.

Today was a day that I did not care about running or times. I just wanted to celebrate being finished with chemo while enjoy a beautiful morning with my teenaged daughter and my wonderfully supportive friends. 

I had a weekend full of fun and time spent with people I love. I am a really lucky woman. 

I hope my readers have enjoyed following my treatment. I hope you all will continue to follow my story as I enter the next phase of recovering and return to running.

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