Last Day of Chemo!!!
Author: Shannon Miller
I was talking to a friend the other day and he asked how I was doing. I told him I was doing just fine, excited to be nearing the end of chemo and looking forward to regaining my energy. It was my typical answer, an honest answer, but maybe not the whole answer.
As I sit here in my regular chemo chair I am mixed with emotions. I am so excited to be finishing chemo! These last eight weeks have really flown by. Beyond the pure happiness and the feeling that I get to have my life back there is this nagging thought that life will never be the same.
I am very good at tackling a challenge head on when needed. The bigger the challenge the more focused and determined I become. If there is a specific goal such as 9 weeks of chemo, I’m able to chart the path, weather the rough times and keep my focused glued to the finish line. That doesn’t’ mean there aren’t ups and downs but can keep taking one step forward because I know I must reach that goal.
Now that I’ve crossed this finish line, I am battling a new issue that seems to have cropped up as this day neared. I’ve been shown just how fragile life can be and the fear that this or another type of cancer might come back is scary. I want to be able to put those negative thoughts out of my mind and know that God has a plan and His plan is good. I find myself breathing again when I remember that I don’t have to be, and in fact I am not, in control of everything.
My gymnastics training has helped through so many of life’s issues. The fighter that I learned to be on the competition floor is the fighter that has taken on this cancer and this chemo. One thing that I was very good at in gymnastics, was looking forward, not back.
In 1996 I fell off the balance beam in my very first event during the National Championships. Due to a wrist injury, I knew that this competition would also serve as my Olympic Trials. After that fall I had to quickly pull myself together. I had a new floor routine, new vault and a difficult bar routine (due to the wrist injury I could barely hold onto the bar). That competition will always be my reminder not to dwell on the past, but instead look forward and keep trying to do the best you can every step of the way. It helped that I ended up winning the competition even after that fall.
So rather than asking myself “why me” or living in fear, I’m going to try and take a huge personal step in looking to the future and stop dwelling on the past. I was laughing with a friend the other day about pregnancy and birth. We were talking about how you gain 25-30 pounds then you have an 8lb baby plus all the “other stuff” you lose. So you start doing the math and you think, wow, I’m going to leave the hospital in my skinny jeans! LOL!
We’ll we all know that’s not the case. But we like to try and talk ourselves into it. I feel like I have a similar mindset with chemo. This is my last official day of treatment and part of me feels like I should be able t o walk out of the office, my hair will suddenly grow back, I’ll have all my energy back, no nausea and everything will be back to normal.
Well, I know that’s not right. I know that I have crossed one challenge off the list and the next phase is recovery. It’s time to set some new goals and keep moving forward.