Button Banner

Button Banner

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Survivor Files: Chemo #2

I started my day making a couple of phone calls and updating our family calendar now that the three soccer players have game dates and times. That pretty much took up all of the rest of the white space on the screen and now we have reached the point where my sanguine weakness of becoming overwhelmed when I view something cram packed like the family calendar will render me useless until I break it down to one day at a time.
Still smiling...and actually a lot of
laughing today.
This isn't all that bad. I have learned in my 46 years that the best way to go through life is one day at a time building on the past and letting God take care of the future since He is already there anyway. Today is my focus and it was a good day.

Again, Mom joined me and I started upstairs with my trainer. His name is Matt and his job is to help with all setbacks to physical activity that we deal with on the cancer journey. Our talk was a little different this morning than it was three years ago although I am stronger now after two surgeries and (at the time this morning), one round of chemo than I was doing two months out from a double mastectomy in October of 2013.

Things were too busy last time to get
out my comfy socks but not today!
Since his name is Matt we refer to him as "Trainer Matt" at home because we don't want anyone to be confused, especially the resident Matt. He is going to put together some exercises that will help regain range of motion in my arm where the lymph nodes were removed and stretches for my neck and shoulders where most of the bone pain was during the first round. (that comes as a result of the injection I get the day after chemo to help my body release the white blood cells it needs.)

We moved downstairs to oncology/hematology after that and I was cleared for chemo. Potassium was a little low so I will be eating a few extra bananas this round. Maybe some orange juice and other fruits mixed in a smoothie or something to make it interesting! I was perplexed because this past week with the three helpings of garden grown potatoes and hamburger gravy I pigged out on I figured I had gotten my potassium for the week at least! 

There was a little not so great excitement right after the saline flush was hooked up. Mom and I heard "doctor to chemo" and then a rush came from all directions as they attended to a woman that was having an adverse reaction to one of her drugs. I prayed that they would be able to help and they got her to the hospital for observation. She was doing much better when she left. It was comforting in a way to see how closely we are watched and how quickly they respond if something isn't going well. I know, that may sound weird but I am thankful.

So far, at the end of day one I am a lot more tired than I was the first round. I was pleasantly surprised and I could feel that the steroids were helping to give me energy. This time, I am not feeling that at all. Maybe magic will occur as I sleep. Mom and I spent most of our time on Facebook sharing funny stuff and keeping up with our Dice with Friends games. We had one post in particular that had us laughing that I thought I would share with all of you. I did post it on Facebook because I couldn't pass it up! Mom first cracked up when she read "what's an artificial triplet?" Exactly!!! Then mostly giggles through the first few letters until she got to "No, I don't watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight!" It is all things that I have thought as come backs when total strangers ask about my kids. Thankfully that doesn't happen much as they turn 14 next month since they are all so very different in size and personality but I will always remember the triplet stroller days when people came up and said things before they thought about what they were saying. The most appalling thing was one day in an elevator in May 2002 when I looked like I was going to give birth any day but was due in OCTOBER and I had this conversation:

"Due any day now huh?"
"No, actually I am due in October, we are having triplets."
"Oh man! If I found out I was having triplets, I would shoot myself!"
(we had reached the third floor and the doors were opening...as I stepped out I replied)
"That is why God gave them to me" and I walked out.
So, my one time in life when I had that great comeback. But unfortunately that doesn't happen very often. But, I digress...here is my mom still enjoying the funny things we remembered from the triplet days and the things that I could have said! I really love her, I am glad that she wants to hang out with me.

We both get uplifted by everyone there. One of the nurses told me that she is so inspired to see how each person walks through this kind of diagnosis and treatment. They always ask about the family and how are the kids. I give a few examples of interactions I have had with some of them. It takes awhile, and sometimes it is entertaining. She told me that she thought I sounded like a good mom. Well, I try to be. God fills in the rest.

Everything went about as well as it did the first time while we were there. Got up feeling a little shaky but I had been sitting for three hours so that was okay. I was able to come home and help with homework and hear from everyone how their day went. I was thankful for the extra spaghetti sauce that I put in the freezer last week so supper was quick work. And everyone loves spaghetti in the house so that is always a plus!

Matthew over there tries so hard to sit still and get his homework done. I see about as much as the picture below as he remembers something that he "has to do" and runs off saying "I'll be right back" It eventually gets done and I know since he started moving in utero that this boy is not a stand still kind of kid.

Zachary in his "middle school" maturity does better to get the work done. We are trying to learn how to "show your work". He does a lot of the simple math in his head and teachers want to see the work. So I told him to just write down what happens in his head when he thinks about the answer. I think he did pretty good for the first time.

I can't end today's post without mentioning this little man again. After his homework he was messing around with a gallon jug "watering" plants all around outside our house. I told him that I am going to get the tomatoes prepared for canning tomorrow but I needed someone who could go out and pick the ones that are red in the garden. He took a bowl and out he went. This mom was so grateful to not have to go outside with my internal thermostat set on perpetual high. I am thankful for his willingness.

On another note. The ratio of hair staying on my head is still more than what is coming out, but it seems like the race is on. No "handfuls" yet and no bald spots to report so but the pace in picking up, lets just put it that way. I have stopped "yanking" to see how many strands I get...last count I stopped at thirty. It is part of the process and we are all processing it differently. I am honoring those family members that don't want to talk about it, and those who want to talk about it every day.

Thinking about remaking the song "Nothing Compares 2U" by Sinead O'Connor. I have a partner in crime that may just be able to help me pull it off. If I remember right, it is in my range! For tonight though, I am going to let my body rest and the chemo search for any of those cancer cells that could be hiding. I am going to let the other meds do their job and I am going to pop up at 6:45 and wake up my kids. Oh, and I am not going to think about my thyroid ultrasound until Thursday! (yes...it is that time again if you want to know some of that back story, you can read Once Upon a Thyroid I had no idea what was coming a few months down the road)

If you are praying for us, here are some specifics for this week:

  1. That the lines of communication in our house continue to stay open...tonight was a great night!
  2. That we all get to the other side of this "hair loss" transition because I am pretty sure that we will rock the new normal when it becomes our new reality.
  3. Precious time in God's Word for me...days are just better that way!
  4. Rest...I am a doer and there are always things to do. Tomorrow is tomatoes and I am only going to let myself skin them and get them ready to can. I don't have to do the whole thing tomorrow. (I am running out of quart jars so that will stop me quick til I can get out for more)
  5. That the ENT on Thursday isn't concerned about the PET scan uptake in the left node. And that none of the nodules have gotten any bigger and I can keep my thyroid for another six months!
  6. That Jesus can continue to come through my every conversation and interaction with people from those I love to the complete strangers. I just want to let Him. He's way better at this than I am. I will rest in that truth.
I love you all and thank you for you. Whether you are checking in, thinking about me, are part of my prayer warrior team or just curious. Thank you! I feel the peace in this storm and it really is beyond comprehension. He is so good even in the bad. I am so blessed by you all!

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13


  1. Thank you for sharing. Every Sunday at our church we have a yellow slip to fill our for attendance, and a place for prayer requests. I put name was on it for your chemo yesterday. Continue to pray for you. Enjoy your abundant garden. I have lots of zucchini to share, and your Mom know where I live. I make some good soups with it.

    1. Thank you for stopping by with the jars! What a wonderful surprise!