Obviously, the reward is sweet: remission. It means no daily trips to Seattle, no weekly visits with the doctor or weekly pokes for blood draws and port accesses, no more medicine cabinet full of antiemetics, pain meds, acid reducers, and muscle relaxers. However, it also means that for the first time in 49 weeks, I am doing absolutely nothing in terms of killing cancer cells or preventing their return.
For as happy as I am to be done with treatment, I am nearly equally as scared. A lot of cancer survivors really don't like being referred to as a fighter; that cancer is some kind of battle to conquer and beat. It implies two things: that we, as sufferers of this disease, had some sort of choice in the matter; and that those who succumb to cancer didn't fight the battle hard enough. Obviously, neither of those is true. However, I kind of feel like the allegory fits me and my military background better than most. I was at war with a disease. I fought it with the support of my medical cadre and the love of my family and friends.
The battle is over; the enemy is gone. But the carnage remains. I come off of the front line with my head held high, exhausted from the fight but still proud. I have suffered wounds...some are visible, some not so much. I know that time will heal both, but I will forever, both physically and emotionally, wear the scars of a breast cancer survivor.