Receiving Chemotherapy for Colon Cancer on My Birthday

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At first, I wanted to avoid receiving chemotherapy at all costs, but I realized taking it would be the beginning of staying cancer-free.

Illustration of a woman with long light brown hair and light brown eyes.

Chemotherapy! Never in a million years would I have ever thought that it would be part of my personal journey. That word alone was very terrifying. All I can think of was hair loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, appetite changes, constipation and other side effects. The simple idea of how my body was going to react and how it was going to impact my family petrified me. During that time, my brother, who was doing his medical residency, decided to do a family reunion to discuss what was best for me.

I must admit, I genuinely did not want to do chemotherapy, but after a long conversation with my family, I finally decided to go on treatment, which consisted of oral and intravenous chemotherapy. I had the option to be treated with both doses which would be a shorter period. However, I informed my oncologist that if it was too much for my body to handle, I was going to strictly stay with oral medication even though it was a longer procedure. My treatment was going to consist of taking medications for two weeks straight and one week off as well as doing blood work and check-ins every three weeks. My mindset was to stay strong and optimistic throughout this journey.

April 3, 2020, was my first day of chemotherapy, which was also my birthday. I turned 35 years old. I had so much emotion that day. I woke up that morning feeling depressed, crying and not wanting to do anything. I was in disbelief because I was still grasping the idea of being diagnosed with cancer. I recalled asking myself, “Why did I have to start chemotherapy on my birthday? Out of all the days in the month, why this one?” Even though it was a day to celebrate my birth, I couldn’t help but feel uncertain and anxious because I did not know what to expect.

I remembered taking my medication and within an hour, I was feeling weak and extremely fatigued. I just wanted to sleep all morning. It was definitely not how I envisioned celebrating the start of my birthday. As time passed, however, I took all the strength in me to make the rest of my day better. My nieces and sister tried their best to make me feel special by cutting me a cake and singing Happy Birthday. Towards the end of the night, I felt happy and filled with gratitude.

To conclude, my first day of chemotherapy was a day that I will always remember because it was the beginning of staying cancer-free. It just so happened that it started on my birthday. Now every year, I have the blessing to celebrate not only my birth but the fact that I am alive and well. A prayer that I wrote and made me feel inner peace during that time was as follows:

Dear God,

I am grateful for the success of my treatment. Even though I was scared of the unknown, you gave me the inner strength to overcome the challenges that chemotherapy brought. You have protected and blessed me throughout this journey. Thank you for allowing me to blossom into the woman I am today. FOREVER BLESSED!!!

In Jesus' name, Amen.

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