Reaching the end of a marathon (or half) can often feel anticlimactic after all of the ups and downs you experience throughout the race. You have fought through the hardest parts; miles 2, 8 and 10 when you feel you can’t possibly reach the end, wanting to give up and walk away. Now you can see the finish, just around the bend, .1 miles away – goodness you could count the steps at this point. Then you hit it, you cross the finish line, duck your head through the medal lanyard and walk away with the prized banana you earned after expending every last ounce of energy. At this point it is hard to gather up the excitement to celebrate the completion of what you have endured but then as you hit your final strides and you feel overcome with joy, elated and satisfied with a huge smile on your face.
Well I am here, about to round the corner and finish the .1 mile that lies ahead. And unlike the end of a race, I can hardly contain my excitement of reaching the end of this journey. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and head into Tennessee Oncology to sit in the “chemo chair” for the final time. It will be short and sweet and uneventful, but for me it will be incomparable to any other milestone I have met. Tomorrow marks the completion of treatment with the expectation that I will never have to endure this process again. I could not have imagined what it took to beat cancer and exile it from your life, and while I am thankful to be done, I am evermore aware of the person I have become.
The race to beat cancer has opened me up to a new appreciation of life. I have so much I want to achieve and do and know that I can live my life to help others live with a passion to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. This will come in time and I know I will be guided toward what is next now that I am closing this chapter of my life. As I look onto what may be next, I am going to keep a bookmark on 2018. This year has brought me much more than it took and I want to hold these lessons close as I look ahead and live for everything I have.
My journey does not end here, I am just going to go down a new path. Thank you for sharing this year with me and for the constant encouragement. Tomorrow and for the next few days I will celebrate and embrace this milestone as the year comes to a close. No matter the journey, this year surely brought each and every one of us challenges and lessons. I am wishing you each take the time to appreciate where you are today and what you have overcome. Cheers to 2018.