That’s it. We are done. I know there should be this grand celebration, fireworks of emotions. But to be honest, I am just too tired. Just give me a week and the fireworks will come out. I have watched my mother’s cut-out paper numbers dwindle down. And despite the fact that 59 followed 60, 29 followed 30, 9 followed 10 I sort of didn’t believe that the final day would ever come.
Mom did what Mom does best…she went all out. Mom made signs and Phil hats and bought candy and made cookies. Mom blew up balloons and found toys and made everyone who walked through the door celebrate with us. How can you be sick or sad when Sanda is in charge? And as much as I didn’t want the final poisoning, I couldn’t help but smile.
Maria Jesus was our final chemo buddy. I love this woman with all of my soul because she is always down for anything, including wearing a silly hat and playing with silly toys with my mom. And she is always positive. It was exactly what my mom needed because as much as I tried, positive was not necessarily where my head was going to go. It was pretty inevitable that I was going to go to sleepy land.
The ritual was the same. Same order of drugs, same icky feelings, same wanting it to just be over. And yes, I wanted it over. But I also didn’t want it over. The nurses have been my constants throughout this entire process. They have become my family. They have explained every drug and side effect (even if it was in rapid Spanish). They held my hand, gave me advice, asked how I was feeling and asked again when they didn’t believe my answer. These woman give me kisses and hugs every time I walk through the door, ask about my mom (if she wasn’t with me), told me I was beautiful when my head was shaved. They know I don’t like needles and made sure every stick was as minimal as possible. They called me when my blood cells were too low. They lectured me when I got a sunburn. These women literally saved my life. Yes, doctors are important and mine is amazing, but if anything happens, I go to Day Care first and Maria Rosa is yoda. So giving these incredible women their notes (which I had my students proofread for Spanish mistakes) and their necklaces (specifically picked out for them and brought from the states) made me get really emotional. No amount of words or silver can ever truly express my gratitude and love for them. And the only thing keeping me together is the knowledge that I get to go to Day Care every 45 days for a year to get my port flushed with Heparin.
When the last bell chimed indicated the tin foil chemo was finished, I gave the best jazz hands that I could. But I was tired and weak and loopy. Final goodbyes were said. It was the last time Mom will see my nurses. Candy was distributed and decorations were taken down. Off we went to meet Maria Jesus’ husband, who was our ride home. At that is it. The final one. I am beyond grateful to everyone who has gone through this with me. I cannot even begin to thank my mom enough for stopping her life for me.
And now I just need to get through a few more cell-boosting shots and a PET scan.