Chemo Chronicles

My second round of chemo began Monday May 8th, just two weeks after delivery. I was so disinterested in going to that first infusion, and not because of the chemo, but because I didn’t want to leave my little nugget.  The only thing that made it bearable was knowing lil’ bit was in good hands with my friend from work Robin, who graciously volunteered to keep her on chemo days.

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I mean, would you want to leave this cuteness?

The plan for this round is a two-hour infusion every week for 12 weeks.  I tolerated the previous chemo, aka the red devil, exceptionally well, so this chemo should be a breeze according to my physician.   I mean it is still chemo, my cells are still being obliterated, so there are bound to be some consequences.  Per my info sheet from the pharmacist potential side effects are: mouth sores, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, fatigue, “chemo brain”, hair loss, neuropathy, decrease in white blood cells (well, duh), and many more.

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Side effects

The first two weeks went by without any noticeable side effects.  As the treatments progressed I began to notice the fatigue, which may be amplified by the demanding infant care schedule. There were days when holding Yuri wore me out, and standing at the stove to make dinner felt like a workout.  My neighbor and I walk a couple of miles a few days out of the week, slowly I began to feel aches where I had old injuries. The shoulder I injured during powder puff football, the ankle I sprained playing volleyball, and the knee I injured playing sand volleyball just last year, all erupted into dull throbbing pain after each walk.

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Just as I was rocking my super short hair do, it started falling out.  It was much too hot and I wasn’t going to sport the type II male pattern baldness for a single second. Once again, I was in my bathroom getting a buzz cut.

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I have’ avoided the mouth sores, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite.  I did develop neuropathy in one toe on my left foot,  who knew that one toe can throw off your balance. The chemo brain is frustrating, but again it may be related to sleep deprivation. On my off days it’s as if my thoughts got on the elevator and decided to stop on every floor before getting to their destination.

Now the side effect I was not prepared for, or maybe I just didn’t read far enough down into the less common side effects, was “menopause like side effects”.  Y’all I am full on hot flashes and night sweats in this Florida summer heat.  There have been plenty of times that I genuinely believed I was going to spontaneously combust.

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At any given moment, fans blowing and AC cranked to freezing.

I only have two more treatments and all in all, I can’t complain.  I’m doing my best to stay active, I always keep a cool drink within arm’s reach, and Thursday is my designated nap day.  I am eagerly looking forward to getting my energy back, being able to properly thermo-regulate, growing some hair, oh and feeling my toe again.

Curve Ball

I had my follow up appointment a few days back.  I graduated from the obnoxious tube top thing to sports bras and was in very little pain.  I headed into my Dr.’s fancy new office and waited for the nurse to take me back.  I changed into the little robe and opened up my little book of prayers that is getting more and more worn as the days go by.  My doctor comes in with a heavy sigh and a “Hey kiddo”.

I tell her I peeked at my pathology report before I came in and already knew we were going to have some things to talk about. (My access to the pathology report prior to my appointment was totally a glitch, or was it?). “You’ve seen it, and you’re still smiling?”

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So the cancer had made its way to one of my lymph nodes.  They found two additional spots of IDC and several spots of pre-invasive. 

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I know, I know. Not what I wanted to hear at all.  I was feeling really good about all my fears I’d overcome in the past few months.  Basically, we are back to the drawing board another MRI and PET scan.  There’s a good chance that I am going to have to have chemo, which I was really looking forward to skipping.

The news was not nearly as hard to take this time around. I think because since June 20,2016 God has shown me over and over that He is with me. From not having a claustrophobic panic attack in the MRI tube, to the peace that passes understanding I’ve experienced, and finally keeping a sound mind facing my overwhelming fear of surgery.   There’s nothing He can’t do.  I told Him not too long ago, that I trusted Him with this, and I am not going to let some scary words, tests, and treatments cause me to go back on my word.

I went back to my parent’s house and broke the news to my mom and husband, sliding the diagram of upside down hand written notes across the counter. I can’t even really remember what all I said, I just couldn’t keep eye contact with Dave for too long so I tried to make it short and sweet.

And that melody that had been stuck in my head since I left the Dr.’s office persisted.  If you know me, you know that drives me crazy. Puzzles, trivia, “oh what movie is that guy from?” haunt me until they are solved.  What song is this? What are the words?    It was a couple of hours later while watching the news about the storms beating down on the east coast, the words came back to me.

“let the waters rise,

I will stand as the oceans roar,

Let the earth shake beneath me,

Let the mountains fall,

You are God over the storm,

And I am yours.”

(I Am Yours, Lauren Daigle)

Even when I don’t know the words, my heart sings out to Him.

So in the meantime, I will polish my armor, sharpen my sword, tend to my bow, and stock my quiver. The battle may not be over, but the victory is already mine.

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