06/14/2019 By Brooklyn
Words cannot describe what an incredible woman Brooklyn is. Here is her story from CancerCon 2019. Still donning a feeding tube, she describes the challenges and feelings surrounding the decision to end treatment.
Hi. I’m Brooklyn. I have non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
All I can see in my head is a slideshow of images. Photo after photo of people holding up homemade signs bearing phrases like “Last Day of Chemo” with smiling faces, balloons, and general celebration. The ringing of the infamous bell at the end of cancer treatment.
I don’t know why that’s the image that keeps overtaking my mind. I guess I just always envisioned my cancer experience ending with one of those signs surrounded by my loved ones celebrating.
Today is my last appointment to remove my central line. I hold my breath as I feel the pressure and see the long tube being pulled out of me. By the time they got it removed from my chest, the bleeding has stopped. The line is gone. All that is left is a small bright red hole in my chest. My lifeline. The line that has been used almost daily to deliver countless medications and blood products to keep me alive. Gone. In under 5 minutes.
I find myself wanting to argue. To beg them to put it back. It’s mine! You gave it to me, and I’m not ready for you to take it again.
It seems surreal to look around at the walls I won’t be seeing every day anymore. To look down at my chest and there not be tubes feeding from it. To look at an empty IV pole bearing nothing but an infusion pump, knowing that my last medicine bag had already been pumped.
I don’t know how to face everyone. I feel like such a failure. I’m so disappointed. How could I have done all of this from day one for 2 years? How can none of it have cured me?
It’s not fair.
Today I’m not celebrating as I anticipated 2 years ago. I’m frozen in the middle of a shock of different emotions that just left me shaking, sweaty, weak, vulnerable. I feel dizzy trying to process what has happened over the course of this journey. It’s over but choosing to end it was harder than anything during it ever was.