I can’t believe I am typing this.
I am done my year long treatment of Interferon for melanoma. Done. Completed. Finished.
It brings tears to my eyes to know that I have reached this point.
I started treatment on May 11, 2015. My chemotherapy protocol was 52 weeks in total. My induction phase of Interferon was for 4 weeks through IV at the cancer centre where I was treated. I received the drug 5 times a week (Monday-Friday) for 4 weeks for 3 hours a day. I unfortunately had appendicitis during this time period which pushed my end date to June 11, 2015. I had a 2 week break period to give my body a chance to recover and then started my subcutaneous injections on June 29, 2015 and did these 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for 48 weeks. 48 weeks + 4 weeks = 52 weeks total. My last injection was this past Friday, May 27, 2016. That means that my body had Interferon injected into it 164 times in total.
On Friday, my friends Jenny and Shelly came over for a visit and brought me chocolate and the cutest floral arrangement, two of my favourite things! I went out for such a nice celebratory dinner with my parents and Emily then I came home to do my last ever(!!) injection in my tummy and then released black balloons.
Black is the colour of melanoma and it was so symbolic and euphoric to let black balloons go on my last day of chemo and on my last day of having toxic drugs injected into my body. I let go of the fight and let go of melanoma.
Here are a few photos from Friday.
Back in October, I wrote this post, and I remember feeling so discouraged and I didn’t know how I could continue on with treatment. My body was sick and tired and didn’t want to be stabbed three times a week anymore (and I was only in month 4 of injections at that point). I ended up going to the hospital later that day (after I wrote that post) because I was sick with a virus in addition to the chemo symptoms. At that point I wanted to stop treatment and I remember talking to Justin and Emily about it and they both encouraged me to keep going. My parents were behind me fully and said they would support me whatever I decided and that ultimately it was my decision to make.
Throughout my journey I didn’t talk very much about how horrible and awful it really was. The side effects. The lost friends. The lost family. The lost life. People always want you to be positive and it’s hard to be honest in front of everyone but in October I was ready to stop my injections and I kept asking if the risks of doing this treatment were greater than the reward.
Emily gave me this push in October that was so needed.
I remember talking to one of my best childhood friends, Kelsey, who also fought and she gave me advice that helped me to push through as well. I’m so thankful for her support through this.
I decided to continue on but I still found myself asking if it was worth it. Were the risks greater than the reward?
I completed a treatment that has been clinically proven to “greatly decrease quality of life” because of the side effects associated with it.
My quality of life was so low that I found myself asking if it was worth it and I found myself in many situations where even medical professionals would question if it was worth it. Were the risks greater than the reward?
I don’t know the answer to that question yet.
But I do know that no matter what happens, God has the final victory, always.
I pray that my melanoma never comes back. I pray that this year of Interferon will be successful and worth it. I pray that I never develop another cancer.
Although doing this treatment cannot guarantee that my melanoma will never recur and that I will never be diagnosed with another cancer I did this treatment to boost my immune system so that it can better fight cancer cells and to destroy cancer cells in my body.
“You split the sea so I could walk right through it.
My fears were drowned in perfect love.
You rescued me and I could stand and sing.”
God is good and so faithful. I know that I made it through this year of treatment because of Him. I am so confident about that. I found God in the people He put around me. There were moments when I could literally feel that the prayers people were praying for me were working and I am forever thankful.
I would have never imagined having to go through this fight and there were moments when I couldn’t fathom continuing on or making it to this day but I fought like hell and I am here. I made it. Thanks to my support system and my God.
Today is Monday and it is the first Monday in 48 weeks that I will not be injecting myself with Interferon. I can’t tell you how exciting that is. 48 weeks is a very long time. My bruises are healing and my heart is too. I am so excited to have my life back.
I am free.
If I could ask you could pray that I recover well that would be amazing! Thank you so much for reading, and for your prayers and well wishes throughout this journey. They mean more than I can say.