21 Months ago was my last day of radiation therapy.
It completed about a years worth of cancer treatments for Ewings Sarcoma that was in my leg and hip. I don't usually like to acknowledge that it was in my hip too, as it was only a small amount was there, but it was there nonetheless.
This past week, I had my regular three month check up and it all went fine (thankfully). I have had several of these now and although the stress doesn't go away, this one seemed a little easier. Not because I was less worried about recurrence but more because I was so tired of worrying. I was completely exhausted.
For my next check up, 24 months, things get a little more exciting. This last appointment I had the conversation that was inevitable. The conversation that I knew was coming.
Now that you will be two years out, we need to start checking what damage the chemo drugs may have done.
This was the conversation we had to have. Chemotherapy kills, it is what it is built to do. It is aggressive because it has to be, and I am truly thankful that it is. It extended my life. I would most likely be dead today if this did not exist.
My next check up, is now far more complicated. I will have a full set of tests again, the regulars such as MRI, CT scans and blood work, X-rays and that weird tapping thing doctors do on your chest. However this time I get a little more. Examining areas that were fine before through CT. Something called an Echo Cardiogram which will look to see if the doxyrubicin caused damage to my heart. Seeing if I am tired, a possible cause being Leukemia (cancer cures can cause cancer, a fact I knew too well) and seeing if I am losing feeling in my fingers and toes.
I knew this all was coming, I just wasn't sure when we start to think about these things and it has left me surprisingly calm. I knew this was coming. I did my worrying about these things a long time ago. I have come to accept the inevitability that cancer treatment is very hard on someones body and to fully escape some of these long term effects I would have to be quite lucky.
I still worry about recurrence, I have these concerns too. It honestly has left me quite apathetic about many things in life. But it also motivates me to keep up the fight and keep helping to work towards cures by raising money. I have recently got my new web page almost done (www.conquercancer.ca/goto/eamonn) for this years "Ride to Conquer Cancer". I know, for me, many of these side effects will be unavoidable, however, I am optimistic that working to raise money will keep others from going through what I have/am.
I hope in another 21 months we are better along then we are now.