We are here. Zoe’s final scheduled chemo treatment was today. It is an enormous relief. But where is here?
After today, more blood tests, a week of injections, a chest x-ray, an MRI and then?
They save two thirds of these kids. In almost no cases does the cancer progress during treatment, the ones they lose are from relapses.
So we wait. An early relapse is very bad. A relapse years down the track has a better prognosis. The curve for relapses doesn’t drop off for a number of years. 5 years is a milestone.
So we wait. We start our lives over. For Zoe, this means a return to the things she loves. The kids and teachers at Centre 3, swimming classes, maybe soccer, maybe dancing, lots more socialising with other kids.
For me, it really is starting my life over on new terms. My parents will be going back to their own lives and I need to make my own life as a single mum. I want to give Zoe a world of experiences now, but I can’t. I’ve got a mortgage to pay, and besides, what is important to her are the everyday experiences of being a kid, developing at her own pace, having a secure family life.
I live for her, but have to live for me too (mainly because I think I need to be a good role model for her; some kind of circular logic).
We have survived this journey so far. We have found strengths we didn’t know we had. We are building a life based on finding the joy in each day. We will celebrate what there is to celebrate. We will find ways to give back to all of the people who have wished us well and eased our way.