Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My first Cancer - Free - Versary.


Is part one of the greatest achievement in my life.

The day where I received my last chemo treatment.

My body was engulfed with chemicals.

The bad taste in my mouth was a normality.

Someone once described it as "lemon juice mixed with battery acid."

Nail hit on the head.

The other day that is part two.

Its the day I got "THE" call. 

The good kind of call.

I would call them perfect day's.

I remember the feeling of utter exhaustion like it was yesterday.

Being so physically and emotionally drained that at times tears would just stream down my face without any feeling.

I had felt so much emotion in such a short space of time that I became so removed my emotions.

Feelings had become confusing.

I had completed the scary parts.

I had completed the biopsies.

I had completed IVF.

I had completed Chemo.

I had completed the PET scans.

All there was to do was wait.

Watching my phone.

Waiting for the call.

Cam & I were just about to leave Christchurch for home. When it rang.

Its a phone call that I couldn't wait to answer but at the same time, I hesitated in answering.


It wasn't my Oncologist.

It was her secretary.

"Kate wants to see you today Andrea."

Immediately thinking the worst my heart stops.

"Ok well we are still in Christchurch."

"Alright. Then it may have to wait till next week."

And then my heart sinks. There is no possibility that I could have waited.

"Oh ok."

"I will see if she can give you a call."

"That would be great. Thank you."

And so I waited.

Cam and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. We just drove around Christchurch waiting.

Not wanting to get out of cell phone reception incase Kate tried to call.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And then it happened.


"Hi Andrea. It's Kate here. I just wanted to call and let you know that I have seen your scan results."

I held my breath.

and then. The greatest moment.

"and I am happy to say that there is no active Lymphoma in your body."

I dont remember the rest of the conversation.

The rest didn't matter.

The tumor that had made itself at home in my body was gone.

I hung up the phone and burst into tears.

I will never forget the look on Cams face as he looked at me crying.

Trying to establish if my tears were happy or sad tears.

That look.

Along with the look the moment I told him I had Cancer.

Are looks that I wont ever forget.

"Well?? What is it?" he said.

And then I said the words that I had wanted to say for  months.

"I. Am. Cancer. Free."


With little manly happy tears welling in his eyes he said

"Ok. You can cry as much as you want now."

And just like that.

In true Cam fashion. He made me laugh.

Thanks for your permission Cam.

and so I did. I cried. and I cried. For days. Months even.

The process one goes through.

Trying to comprehend a life without needles and chemicals.

Its tougher than Chemo itself.

Its the most messed up part of this so called "journey."

And something one cant fully prepare themselves for.

A a bit of emotional trickery.

If we didn't know what to do with ourselves before the phone call, we were certainly lost as to what to do now.

We decided to celebrate over a hot chocolate. Cute.

My hot chocolate sat cold as I processed the news I had longed for and I let all my nearest and dearest know the news.

Its a day that feels so long ago and yet like it happened yesterday.

Its one I wont forget. Ever.

I am so very aware of how lucky I am.

And I make sure that I dont forget.

Because it is so easy to slip back into old ways.

Taking things for granted.

Not appreciating those around you.

Forgetting to say how you feel.

This and This  is engraved in my being.

The people that sat alongside me every second Wednesday. Receiving a treatment that strips you of everything.

Those people are engraved in my heart.

And I will never forget.

The day I am allowed - I will be back up at the Oncology ward volunteering my time.

Because the Nurses, Doctors and the fellow patients gave me so much.

The moment I can - I will.

Its days like today that brings back memories with some very special people who were receiving treatment at the same time as me.

A few people in particular.

Some who became friends. but mostly strangers.

One lady in particular. I dont even know her name.

My last chemo session.

The sun was streaming through the windows and covered the handful of us who were getting pumped with different chemo cocktails.

I got talking to a lady next to me.

And she told me of someone she knew who fought a battle we were all too familiar with.

After his diagnosis he went and bought a Tennis Racquet.

His friend were miffed. They said.

"You dont even play tennis."

Tennis was something he always thought about doing.

But like all of us with our own little things that we think about doing, he never "found the time."

"I know but once I beat this cancer, I am going to take lessons."  

And he did just that.

As my machine beeped. Letting us all know that I had completed my last round of chemo.

The relief set in just as quickly as the fear of what was to come.

I went so say goodbye to this lady and she said with a smile

"Now go and buy yourself a Tennis Racquet."

Just typing that sentence makes my eyes well and puts a smile on my lips.

Its a sentence that means so much.

It's not about actually going out and buying a Tennis Racquet.

It's about getting out and doing all the things I had longed to do.

That day was such a life changing day. Like all the days I found myself in this Cancer whirlwind.

And just as much of a blessing as the frightening day when I found out that I had Cancer.

I have thrived through these experiences.

and I am so grateful.

A million thank you's to all those who were there to support me through every stage.

And as she did a year ago.

My beautiful and very talented friend Rachael has kindly photographed me.

Preserving an anniversary that I am happy to hold close.

This time.

I actually remember her taking the photos.

Unlike the drugged up state that I found myself in last year.

And so heres to the day me and cancer split up.

He was no good for me anyway.


1 comment:

  1. I have to dry my eyes, to write, thank you Andrea, thank you for beating cancer! Thank you.