Monday, March 19, 2012

Ooooohhhhhh, we're halfway there...

I know several of you thought you missed an entry prior to my last treatment, but I was really tired that week and didn’t post an update. I’ll try to update on the last two treatments and what’s been going on with me the last few weeks this go round.

I had heard mixed reviews about the side effects of treatment 3. I had heard that some people get really sick because the drugs have built up in your system or that it could be the same as the previous two treatments. I guess I went in expecting the worse, but praying for the best. When we got back to the chemo room I felt so tired and wanted to sleep. I should have known this was my body telling me it wasn’t operating at 100%! I got my treatment, came home, and started feeling sick. I did get sick (the only time I’ve gotten sick this entire process). Since I got sick only once and then felt better the remainder of the week, my oncology staff seem to think I had a touch of a little bug. I actually recovered much better after treatment 3 than I had the previous treatments.

My birthday fell during the off week, so I had a week of celebration! All the celebrating made for one tired girl, but it was well worth it! The Sunday prior to treatment 4 I participated in a photo shoot highlighting individuals going through chemo. The concept of this book project is to have a picture of the chemo patient on one page with his/her story in his/her own unique way on the other page. I knew going into the photo shoot that I would be photographed with no wig…just me and my bald head. Since my hair had not fallen out completely in all areas, I wanted to fix it before arriving at the photo shoot. Since I have to be careful about cuts, I knew I couldn’t take a razor to my head. I knew that an electric trimmer, which we used to get my buzz cut, would only cut so close. I had the idea to take my electric razor I use to shave my legs and take it to my head…it worked beautifully! Once I had the head photo ready, I had to decide how I wanted to tell my story on a plain white 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. I wanted my short page to reflect who I am as an individual and how I’m getting through chemo. I am not going to share it here on my blog until after the book is published in October. I can’t wait to see the final project and hear all the other stories of hope. I’m so honored to be part of this project!

So with my busy off chemo week behind me, it was time to head into treatment 4. This was the last treatment I was getting my friend “the red devil” and the last of the shots to boost my white blood cell count! This was cause for great rejoicing in my world! I actually recovered better from treatment 4 than I did any of the previous treatments! I only took nausea medicine the first night. I was more tired after this treatment, which the oncology staff has assured me will be normal. I’ve shared before that Ashlee and I meet and talk to people each time we go for a chemo appointment, and treatment 4 was no exception. I think we met our most entertaining person at this visit…

We saw her in the waiting room moving from seat to seat looking for a plug for her laptop. They called us back within minutes of each other, and when I got to the lab she was sitting in a chair across from me. I use a numbing cream on my port prior to chemo, so I don’t feel them insert the needle. Since my port is about 3 inches below my collar bone, I have to put saran wrap on it to keep it from rubbing off on my clothes. Our little friend looks at me, once I sit down in the chair, and says, “You know you have plastic on your chest, right?!?!” I can be really sarcastic, and in my head I was thinking, “NO! I’m totally oblivious to the huge piece of saran wrap attached to my body at this moment!” I did not say this out loud to her, but tried to explain it to her. She seemed ok with my response and I thought I was done dealing with her. However, she left the lab and sat down next to Ashlee in the waiting area. When I came out, she was full of questions and comments. At first, the questions were normal cancer patient questions…what kind of cancer, when were you diagnosed, blah, blah, blah. Her questions soon turned into a little more than the normal…she asked me why I was getting chemo if they said they got everything. I don’t know a better way to say that I want to live a long life, and my doctor said chemo is my best option at doing just that; SO, I’ll take chemo and the hair loss and whatever else! She then proceeds to tell us about some kind of hydrogen peroxide she is drinking and some $60/bottle mushroom cream from Japan she is using to kill her cancer. Just as the awkward turtle was swimming at a rapid pace, they called my name to go to the room. The whole situation was amusing and sad all at the same time. I don’t know this girl’s name, but she could use prayers. She was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago. She had surgery and they told her they thought they got it all, so she opted not to do chemo. This past January she went to have a swollen lymphnode in her neck checked and the cancer has metastasized to her entire body. After one chemo treatment, she was once again denying chemo.

Before every treatment they do a little physical. My nurse practitioner keeps telling me how well I’m doing. Before this last treatment, she told me that she hadn’t expected me to do this well. She really thought that I would have a hard time and lots of complications based on me having to delay treatment a week in the beginning. I know the only reason I’m doing as well as I am is because God is walking with me on this journey. I haven’t been shy about telling her that it’s the power of prayer. She said it was luck. Clearly, this is a mission field and God has placed me there for a reason. I think it’s really cool to see how God orchestrates things. I have a friend from college who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Without any prior communication regarding my doctors, she went to the same breast surgeon and is now seeing the same oncologist. This means that she will see the same nurse practitioner. Our chemo treatments will overlap some, as she is beginning and I’m on my final 4; but this means there’s one more person God has placed in this office to be a light. Neither of us would have chosen this path for ourselves, but God’s plans are not our plans.