Radiation Graduation Certificate!

I have had the honor of earning quite a few graduation certificates in my life (because I loooooove school!). I can honestly say that the one I received yesterday means as much, if not more, than all of the others!

Yesterday was my LAST day of Radiation.  My last day of daily F-bomb treatments.  Whoa Nelly. I just realized that there’s a whole lot of emotion packed into that sentence. Walking out of the hospital was one of the more freeing experiences of my life. I felt an array of emotions, including sadness, anxiety, confusion and (obviously) joy.  Like I said, a whole lot of emotions!

Sadness because I will miss seeing the array of people who have cared for me for such a long period of time. Anxiety for wondering whether “is it really gone”and for wondering when I will start to feel like myself again. Confusion about what “myself” now means as well as what the next chapter of my life holds.  And I presume that there’s really no need to explain why I feel joy…

The Silver Lining news is that after 5+ weeks of radiation, my skin is looking good.  It’s as good as I could have hoped for, actually.  Though it is red, crispy and sunburned, my skin is fully intact. No blisters, holes or gaping wounds.  Wahooo!

So, a little sunburn?  NO problem. Piece of cake. I spent my entire youth sunburned, so I know how to handle it. Actually, better this time because I have been prescribed mediations to offset the redness, itching and peeling. I am also still dealing with this pesky lymphedema and the hot flashes. Ohhhh, the hot flashes….but I know that I’m on the yellow brick road of recovery!

The HOTY came to San Francisco to pick me up. More joy. I am now home and reunited with the HOTY and Finally Five.  We are home for only about 15 minutes to unpack and repack because we are going on a family vacation.

I’m looking so forward to the down time.  I can’t begin to describe how tired I am. Exhausted. Fatigue. Nothing quite seems to capture the level of drain that I now feel.  I took 2, two-hour naps today and am falling asleep as I write this.

When I return from vacation, I will begin the next round of medication: Tamoxifen (I’ll write more about that when it’s time to begin).

However, in the meantime, the Silver Lining is that it’s NOW time for some recovery.

Though I’ll continue to write, please know how deeply appreciative I am of  your support and for reading the Brookside Buzz.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.  I can choose which it shall be.  Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.  I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.

– Groucho Marx

…or as the HOTY says, “One day at a time…”

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  1. ginny simon says

    Hollye, my darling friend- I have tears and goosebumps as I finished today's blog. Enjoy Aspen, may all the nature be a beautiful start to all your healing. You, the hoty and finally 5 deserve to curl into each other and just be..and be so more. How happy I am for you guys.
    We miss you tons and tons.
    Hugs and embraces to all of you.
    Much love,
    Ginny (and Steve too)

  2. Theresa Edwards says

    I have been "mia" so missed this very important day!!! Well done is "just" not gonna cut it … so *beaming from ear to ear* I bestow a huge "HUG" from across the African waters from me to you ….

    Watch this space and send me one next Wednesday ….. that's *my*day ….all done then …. Red, itchy, bumpy …. but hell who cares …. we done

    *Air Punches*


  3. Gillian says

    Congratulations!! This is fantastic news! Your blog is such an inspiration, as I'm about five weeks behind you. It reminds me that I can and will get there. I love the idea of a certificate. Have a fantastic holiday!

  4. Nan and Hilary Jacob says

    Yippee..another graduation certificate and you so truly earned it! Pack your favorite things, and have a wonderful, restful and rejuvenating vacation!

  5. says

    Well Done Hollye!! You DID IT! and with so much grace and humour to boot (no doubt a Louboutin :) )

    I hope you have a beautiful holiday with your family!!

  6. Jo says

    Wonderful news! Thank you for sharing your journey with us – I've been awaiting this graduation post with great anticipation! Hooray! Have a wonderful trip!

  7. Christine Schindler says

    Congratulations, Hollye!! I hope you have an amazing, invigorating, and joyful vacation! You sure deserve it!
    All my best,

  8. joanie says

    I know you are developing a love for poetry…perhaps Rilke has come your way…

    "Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day." Letters to a Young Poet”

    You are a blessing yourself, but blessings anyway on your vacation with your family. Congratulations on work completed with grace, courage, and panache!

  9. Mairead Donohue says

    Congratulations!! I have been reading your blog all the way along your journey. I started my own journey just before Christmas. Whenever I was down or tired I read your posts. It seems that you often had it a lot harder than I did, especially with the nausea. So, I would shake my head at how hard you had it and be grateful that I didn't have it as bad. I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer, so the treatment plan was chemo, surgery (a lumpectomy because the tumor reduced) and I start radiation today for 30 treatments.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration! Congratulations again!!


  10. Kathi says

    Bravo! This reader adds a "summa cum laude" to your diploma. Thank you for the insight, the humor, the candor and for sharing so openly and beautifully. Have a wonderful and well-deserved vacation! xoxox

  11. Cynthia says

    Woo-hoo!! Congratulations on your graduation! Seems a celebration is in order :). Rest up dear. Xo c.

  12. Kim says

    Congratulations!!!! Have a lovely holiday!A well deserved rest!!!
    I had a hard time when I initially left treatment too. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  13. Carol Sacks says

    Warmest wishes and congratulations to you on this important milestone! I've read this blog nearly every day since you began, cheering you on. I am so happy to read this morning's post! Have a wonderful vacation with your family and feel the support of your community as you move forward.


  14. Mary Beth says

    One day at a time is so wise as that is how time is given to us. I celebrate your crossing this threshold and for all of the silver linings you have brought with you and have so generously dispensed along the way.
    Enjoy time on vacation! Xoxo