FryDaddy came with me to meet my treatment team (who really were just fabulous throughout the entire process) and see me ring the bell that they have for folks on their final day of active treatment. My techs gave me a glowstick necklace to simulate the superpowers that (sadly) never manifested - turns out that comic books lie about that part - and drew a funny picture on me that made the (ahem) affected area look an awful lot like Jeff Dunham's puppet Peanut. And there was, of course, cake and celebration.
So yes - 33 treatments over six-and-a-half weeks have come to an end. (Yay! Cheers! And the crowd goes wild!) I'm not done yet - I have frequent follow-ups and five years of tamoxifen ahead of me, but this endeth the active stage of treatment. It'll take a little while for me to heal from it all - I'm burned and the healing involves itching, peeling and overcoming the fatigue that comes with 33 doses of radiation dangerous enough to the healthy to be delivered in a room that could withstand a nuclear attack - seriously, the door to the treatment room is a good foot-and-a-half thick. Therefore, I'm not planning on doing much beyond my day job for at least the next two weeks (and I hope to do large chunks of that from home). I'm using Easter as my marker. It seems appropriate to use that day of joy and resurrection as my new starting point.
Back before I realized that I was like everybody else, and would therefore have side effects from radiation treatment (seriously, I'm not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier), I signed up for a 5K Color Vibe run with a friend who's never done a 5K before. That seemed like a great thing to do. The Color Run was my first 5K a year ago, it's untimed and tremendous fun, and it was the official "coming out" of my jobbling persona, the Dancing Sloth - I was eager to share that experience. But the event is next weekend and I'm not in any kind of shape for running. Well, that's okay. There will be very little running from this Sloth, but I expect to walk the route and get doused with color and cheer on my friend. No doubt about it, I'm starting my training over pretty much from scratch (and I'm not really starting anything until Easter), but that's okay. I understand things differently now and part of what I understand is that I'm still a runner, even if I haven't run in a while. You have to take time off to heal from injuries, whether those injuries are running-related or not, and by my calculation, cancer treatment counts.
Other changes are also indicated, especially in diet and stress reduction, and these are areas FryDaddy and I plan to work on together. Much work remains to be done but wow! am I glad to be moving forward! Let me once again give a shout-out to everyone, everywhere who's been part of this with us. Whether it was your willingness to wear a colander on your head, whip up dinner for us, tend to the Spookinator, rake the yard, pray, meet for coffee, send cards - the list of kindnesses that let us know that it wasn't just us against the world goes on and on and on and on. And I don't know that I can adequately express how much it all matters. It really, really did - and does! I've learned so much about kindness, compassion, and (weird as it sounds) joy over the last few months and I'm grateful for the lessons, although I still dislike the teacher.
Be kind. Everybody needs it - especially the ones you don't think deserve it.