There is no question that completing a course of chemotherapy treatment is a milestone in the life of a patient. Tomorrow, my 89-yr-old mother will receive her sixth and final dose of chemotherapy for lymphoma. She was initially hesitant about chemo and the effects it would have on her but eventually agreed to go through treatment. As she approaches her final dose, I honestly wonder whether it’s time for celebration or anxiety.
Chemotherapy gives the patient the ability to confront cancer cells head on. The possible side effects are a reminder that the toxins are doing their job and crushing the cancer cells. The chemotherapy has been a ‘body guard’ of sorts for my Mom, attacking her tumor with a prescribed course of action. After tomorrow, my Mom will part ways with this powerful partner and protector and be on her own. Without the toxic soldiers on her side, I imagine she might feel vulnerable, anxious, and alone. My role as her caregiver and advocate will change again as I encourage and support her as she gets back to living life as a cancer-free woman.
My Mom’s chemo ride was rough at times, but she kept her eye on the finish line. Now it’s time to enjoy life and savor moments with family and loved ones. Congratulations Mom, let’s choose celebration.
Susan M. Beausang