End of treatment. It sounds so final, doesn’t it? The last milestone, the final hurdle, the finish line. The final goal, where we can get back to normal, and never have to worry about treatment again. But, it’s only the end of part one.
For the first 6 months after treatment, if Hannah gets a temperature, we need to go straight back to the hospital, and hope that we won’t have to stay overnight. We must be cautious around other children, as her immune system is still weakened, she also has to wait to receive her immunisations, some of them she will have to repeat, from before diagnosis, and others she missed out on when she turned one.
Over the next five years, she will have regular check-ups, which will gradually decrease over the five-year period. These check-ups, will look out for any signs of relapse, late side effects, and secondary cancers. It will also be an opportunity, to raise any concerns we have about Hannah’s development, and mental health.
Hannah, will hopefully forget the worst that’s happened, but the first five years of a child’s development are the most important, and she has already spent two of those years on treatment, mostly in isolation. This will have a great impact on her mindset, and we have a lot of work ahead of us, making sure that the impact can be as minimal as possible. We intend to give her a childhood that she deserves.
For us, we will always be anxious about the cancer coming back, every infection, bruise, pain, and tiredness, will have the added question, “Has she relapsed?” We will do everything we can, to keep our fears to ourselves, the last thing we’d want is to give Hannah something else to be scared of, in an already scary world.
Cancer, is always going to be present in our lives, we know too much, we’ve seen too much, and we’ve made friends, who’ve gone through much worse than us. Those memories and friends don’t disappear once treatment finishes, they become a part of us.
End of treatment, does not mean the end.