Monday, November 24, 2014

Doing Battle, Week 9

When I committed to sharing my cancer story online, I knew it would be challenging.  It is all deeply personal in a way that sharing a picture of my cute kids playing at the park is not.  And there is a lot of inherent ugliness to a cancer journey.

While I've always been honest here, as in, I've never lied, I've been convicted recently that I need to be more forthcoming.

Forthcoming: adj: characterized by openness, candidness

By nature I'm a seek-out-the-good, minimize-the-bad kind of person.  But I wonder if I'm missing an opportunity by not fully sharing my story, not being more vulnerable in this space.  I want to be able to share what God is doing on my good days and the bad ones, when I'm feeling like this ain't no thing and when I'm really, really scared.

It makes no sense that I have cancer.  But since I do, I am confident it is for a purpose and I don't want to miss out on that....I want to play an active role in what gets accomplished!

 In these last weeks when I've attempted to be real about how I'm feeling, what I'm feeling, I've held back.  I don't want to do anything to cause those I love unnecessary pain and worry.  Sometimes I'll go to type something and this scene will pop into my head:
But that's just not fair.  I've gotten nothing but love and support and hands extended and I think being honest and forthcoming is vital in building community and relationships.  So please bear with me as I look for the balance between sharing TMI (too much information) and portraying the perfect Facebook life.

This week really began on Sunday leading up to Round #3.  Because of the allergic reaction I had last time, it was not an option to continue with the drug that caused it.  The thought of starting a new, unknown drug made me very anxious.  Despite my best efforts, I spent much of the day dwelling on it.  What if I had another allergic reaction?  What if the side effects were more than I could take?  In my weakness, the  countdown to the unknown took its toll.

But even with my worrying, Monday came.

When my blood results came back, my white blood cells were low.  (Those are the cells that help your body fight infection.)  The doctor and nurse talked about it and decided it was ok to go ahead with the treatment because they could see my bone marrow had gotten the message that the counts were low and had started to produce in ernest.

A relief!  I don't want to be there, but I also don't want to not be there.  If that makes sense.

Sharon was our nurse again and she's wonderful.  The entire nursing staff is super friendly and helpful.  I've observed that they all seem to have a calling to be there....its more than just a job.  I'm so very thankful for the love and care they give.

 I'm given a 24-hour steroid before the treatments even begin to combat nausea and I have two other drugs to take around the clock at home, but it just didn't do it for me this time.  I stayed in bed for the bulk of the time I had the pump on and Shaun just checked on me every so often in-between trying to get a little work done and getting the kids what they needed.

We were incredibly grateful to not experience any allergic reaction and Shaun says this new chemo mix is only slightly less effective than the first.  And we know the first has been effective because my cancer pain is almost entirely gone.  Thank you Lord!!

Aiden got some good Pop & Kiki time while I was out of commission.  He helped Pop do some man work and they made applesauce together.  He also got to see Uncle Timmy, Trey and Wyatt.  They all helped deliver a treadmill to my house.

I stopped going to the gym because of the germs and I stopped walking outside because of the cold.  My dad said they had a treadmill they weren't using and I could take it over.  What a blessing to come home and find it in my basement!
This is the pump that we all dislike.  The girls especially are tentative about it.  When they came home Monday, Amanda carefully walked into my bedroom and said, Hello Pump-Girl!  Ha!

We go on Wednesdays to get it taken off and usually by that evening the nausea subsides.  Its also glorious to take a shower after two days.  :)
This is one of Uncle Lee's high school classes who were sweet enough to humor him for a picture to text to me.

Its representative of so many people around this nation who are thinking of me and praying for me...many who have never even met me.

 I'm learning the joy of couch sitting.  In the last two weeks there has been a significant drop in my energy.  It doesn't take much activity for me to feel like I need to sit and rest but its frustrating to not be at the level of activity I'm used to....I'm a doer and love to be busy.  Shaun is quick to tell me its ok, that this is what I need to be doing right now so instead of becoming increasingly frustrated, I am learning to look for the blessings in rest.

A huge one is the kids tend to find me and settle in.  Kids live in the moment and are not concerned with what their to-do list looks like.  They don't mind procrastinating on cleaning their room indefinitely so I'm taking my cues from them.

   My cousin Melody is so diligent about sending me love in many different forms.
My sister keeps me stocked in rolls.  If cancer is ever linked to carb consumption, then I'll finally know how I got this....I'm a life-long bread lover.  :)

 I tried out my new treadmill...I didn't get very far very fast and was tired later in the day but I don't know if that was from my mild exertion or the chemo or the day.  Its all a guessing game and the variables keep changing so I just get up everyday and see what the day holds.

 I'm so, so grateful for the meals that continue to come in...its a beautiful thing for my children to experience community so up close and personal.  We have been on the receiving end for more than a month now and my prayer is that this experience will make our giving all the more powerful when we get back to that position.

Thank you for the thoughts and prayers and the knowing that we have an army standing with us.  It matters.


Melody said...

LOVE this! LOVE you!

Amy said...

Loved the pic of Uncle Lee's class!

Ashley Beth said...

You are brave and strong and amazing, even when you don't feel like you are. Trust me. Just from my little blog view, you are all of those things. Praying, praying, praying for you!

Your "You can't handle the truth!" pic made me laugh out loud! :)

Amy Joy said...

Love your authenticity - it strengthens your testimony. Thank you for sharing it. Brings tears to my eyes. Love to you!
(PS I'm so glad you're staying stocked with bread and bread smells! Good job, Ame and Melody!)

The Bug said...

Pump Girl - our favorite super hero! It takes guts to learn how to listen to your body & go with the flow...