a winter landscape and a spring landscape connected by a bridge

Spring Is Coming

A cancer diagnosis feels like a bleak winter. My diagnosis came just after my 44th birthday at the end of the summer. I had my biopsy, and the diagnosis came a few days later. I waited impatiently for the results. The knowledge that I had cancer was daunting. I felt fearful. I know that I am lucky that it was considered curative, but it is not an easy road to be cured. There are risks along the way. I had doctors appointments, tests and final chemotherapy treatment through the fall.

Chemo hibernation

As the leaves turned and the cold temperatures came, I was inside my house or visiting the cancer center. My children started their new school year. I started something new too, chemo. The cumulative effects of chemo took their toll on my appearance. I was a cancer patient, and I looked the part. My body was broken down to fight cancer. My immune system compromised. I hibernated for the fall and into the winter.

I finished my chemo in time for the holidays. I had time off to recover before beginning radiation treatment. The idle time waiting for the scan results overwhelmed me. I wanted to be hopeful, but I was still fearful. I wanted to celebrate the milestone, but the scan was looming. When I finally received my scan and the words "complete remission" were spoken, I could breathe.

Complete remission and new beginnings

It was the dead of winter, and I had seen a glimpse of the sun. The success of chemo meant that my radiation treatment would be less. I prepared myself for the final phase of radiation. I still held myself in reserve. I knew the cancer was gone, but I didn't feel well. The chemo effects were still ravaging me. The winter days meant daily visits to the radiation room wearing my claustrophobic mask. My throat tightened painfully and my skin inflamed during my treatment. I met others during my visits who were fighting their own battles. I could only imagine the pain others endure for days on end with higher doses and longer cycles. We shared the journey and our experiences with each other. I appreciated my course comparatively. I felt so relieved when that too was finished.

Now as the spring is just around the corner, I see the sun peeking out of the clouds. We are having some cold days and some beautiful ones. I too have days I feel well, and days I feel exhausted as I slowly return to my life. While I heal and move forward as a cancer survivor, I am grateful for the good and bad days. I will worry over the scans and blood tests that will come, but in the meantime, I will let hope blossom. The spring is coming, and I could not be more thankful for the beauty of new beginnings.

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