It feels so incredibly unreal that in just a bit more than a month we will be done with chemo. It is hard to imagine that in one month from now our chemo / medicine shelf will be mostly empty. Yes, we have a chemo / medicine shelf. It is a dedicated shelf right at the top of our pantry (and yes, we have a baby lock that we use to lock the pantry doors with). It will be weird not to have a supply of rubber gloves and not to have bottles of chemo medicines and pill cutters in a sealed container and stock of Acyclovir and steroids and Omeprazole and plastic cups sitting there waiting for us. It was a big part of our lives. We lived our lives and created our routines to fit in with Bianca's medicine schedule. It is so hard to imagine starting to live differently.
I must say that this past week was a week where I reflected on many things.
One of the hardest things we had to learn during this journey was that not all the family and overseas friends we thought would be interested were all that interested. Certainly, despite asking way back at the start of our journey that they please keep in touch with their normal news and updates, very few actually did (I do have to make a special mention about my mom who writes to us on a weekly basis and that means the absolute world to us). But that's okay, that's life, from our side we made the effort to share as much as possible, to share photos and general- as well as medical news. When I look back I am so impressed with how well we coped with our journey. We managed to find solutions for specific situations and we stayed strong as a family unit. As a family unit we have come so far and have achieved so much. We proved to ourselves that we were able to do this, to handle this incredibly big thing with a positive attitude. And that is something that I hope Bianca and Caitlyn will take with them going forward, that you can do anything and that nothing is impossible, that we can't choose what happens in life, but we can choose how we handle it.
Another aspect that I reflected on is where to from here? What goals do we need to set for ourselves, what would be realistic, how do we pick up the pieces and enter the new chapter? Where does that leave me? Just before Bianca was diagnosed I was quite career-driven. I spent a few months prior to that doing intensive research into career-growth opportunities, I felt ready and even found what I thought was the perfect job that would open doors for me. But now? I have this massive big gap on my CV, Bianca will still have regular hospital visits at least for the first year or two, for the first 6 months (at least) she might very well still get quite sick and land up in hospital and she is still very much an oncology child. Things are still not simple and straight-forward. The change, this time, won't be as drastic and sudden as when Bianca was diagnosed, it will be gradual, but still, we won't be the same people we were before Bianca became sick, we had to change, and along with that our goals had to change. So I guess it is figuring out what life will be like beyond chemo.
And of course I am starting to reflect on when it would be appropriate to end this particular blog. It feels as if in many respects it served its purpose. I think I will still be interested in blogging, but perhaps a different blog with a different focus.
But anyway, I always knew that it would be like this when we came to this point. For so long we had to force ourselves not to think beyond "today", because the end date felt so incredibly far away and if we allowed ourselves to focus on that too much it would become too big and too difficult and so we forced ourselves just to focus on "now" and get through "today" and I knew that I would start looking back and be amazed at how far we've come. But of course now we have to start thinking beyond "today", we have to pick up the pieces and figure out what the next chapter will be like. And as exciting as it is to get to this point, you do realise how exhausting this journey has been and it also feels a bit scary having to enter a new "unknown". But mostly it feels exciting, very exciting. We simply can't help wondering what possibilities wait for us around the next corner.
On a different note - tonight as Terence and Bianca were watching some or the other show on TV, I suddenly noticed that Bianca in her school uniform looks the same as Terence in his work clothes. I thought it was so cool.