Chemotherapy Completed

I have now officially completed my 4 cycles of chemotherapy post-surgery! This milestone couldn’t have arrived fast enough, as the last 2 months have been more challenging than expected. With each subsequent cycle,
1) I became progressively weaker as the side-effects added up;
2) It took me longer to recover from the nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue;
3) The nerve pain in my heels got worse and worse, making it difficult for me to walk;
4) My discomfort at the chemotherapy centre grew (I would feel nauseous even before sitting down to receive the chemo drugs, a phenomenon known as “anticipatory nausea”).ย 

The Bravery Bell

After receiving my last dose of chemo, I finally rang the Bravery Bell. This is a bell that patients ring to announce the end of their chemo treatment. When the bell is rung, the room erupts in applause for a few seconds. While ringing the bell means different things for different patients, to me it signifies the end of a marathon. Full of energy at the start, and barely able to walk by the end. Tired, nauseous, easily light-headed as I crawl to the finish line. Mounting doubts as to whether I would be able to complete the journey. I survived pre-surgery chemo, the surgery itself, and post-surgery chemo. Now, I get to finally recover (my recovery from surgery had taken a pause (and at times regressed) during the past 2 months due to having to have another 4 cycles of chemotherapy after surgery to hopefully mop up any residual cancer cells, sigh).

My next goal is to be to get rid of my feeding tube. I need to eat between 2600 and 3000 kcal/day in order to steadily gain back weight. So far I’m averaging around 2000 kcal. Two months ago, I couldn’t get past 1500 kcal, so there’s progress. The sooner the tube comes out, the sooner I can start moving around without worrying about my tube falling out when I stretch or strain my core muscles, and the closer I’ll be to getting my independence back.

8 thoughts on “Chemotherapy Completed

  1. Go Terrence!!! Cheering you on!! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ™Œ

    Kelly

    Sent by the Pony Express ๐ŸŽ

    >

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  2. Wow Terrence!! A huge huge huge congratulations on getting through all of it and for being so brave in sharing your story. Incredible. Humbling. We’re all cheering for you.

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  3. Great job buddy! I’ve silently been following along and you’ve done a great job of telling your story. It’s been pretty surprising, especially 5 years into residency, how much for granted I take the pain and suffering of oncology treatment. Patients always look like their holding it together really well in follow-up clinic. But precycle assessment is not where the real struggle is.

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  4. Thinking of you and wishing you the best and a speedy recovery.

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  5. Terence,

    We spoke many times about patients, during your training, and I was always amazed by your calm, clear and compassionate view of those you met and treated. You are a really good doctor! I’m saddened to hear (today, for the first time) that you have been on this journey. It is heartening and inspiring to see you take the same calm, clear and compassionate view of yourself in your writing. I hope you can feel the support of the people whose lives you have touched. Take care.

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  6. congrats terence! a huge milestone!! wishing you a smooth and speedy recovery.

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  7. You got this Terence!!
    Weโ€™re all cheering for you.
    Keep us updated on your progress.

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