Sunday, May 28, 2006

#4 is Done

I'm so glad this one is done... this time was tough.

First, the easy stuff....
I had a port-a-cath put in on Friday. This is a central access line that will allow them to give me chemo through this spot without putting in new IVs all the time. My veins are pretty much shot. They were in rough shape from my previous chemotherapy 22 years ago and haven't really recovered. This past chemo I only needed two IVs - and I had a good nurse so no extra pokes. But the time before I needed 3 IVS and two tries. The IVs are good for a bit, but then deterioriate, and because the one drug I take is quite dangerous to tissue, they need an entirely clear line. I'm looking forward to not being so much of a pin cushion.

I got back from chemo on Friday afternoon. And as I said, it was a rough one this time - physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm not sure why that is but the nausea was tough this time and then that leads to a tougher time mentally as well. I'm wondering if a big part of it was my frame of mind going in. I had a few worries on my mind and a few things were different:
- my non-verbal 5 year old and his new babysitter alone together for an entire day. I knew she'd take good care of him and he does communicate quite well without words, but still... she doesn't know his routines, his likes/dislikes etc etc etc etc (But, of course, they ended up getting along wonderfully and both boys are apparently in love with Kathy)
- the yet unknown results of my CT scan
- ending up going to chemo by myself (now before all my local friends remind me that I should have called them, it was just easier at the time and in the circumstances that I drive myself). I missed having Tom's presence by my side.

Looking back, it really is a short time that I'm feeling so terrible... just over two days... not a huge stretch of time. And even now, a few days later, it really doesn't seem that bad (somehow this seems reminiscent of all those stories about giving birth and how you don't remember the pain afterwards!) But when you're in the middle of it, time seems to go slower. I couldn't eat or drink. I couldn't even bear to have the food tray brought into my room this time as every smell was horrible. Sitting up was too much work. I just couldn't imagine how I am going to get through another one. I couldn't even manage to pray. All I do is say "Lord, carry me right now because I can't do it" and then just "Carry me Lord". I have a little 3 word "prayer" or mantra I say in my head and it helps me to relax... and then I sleep. Wonderful, restorative sleep. Unfortunately, for me, I couldn't sleep 48 hours in a stretch and had to wake up at some point.

I'm not telling all of this to have people feel sorry for me. That's not what I want. I hesitated about posting this as I don't want people to feel sorry for me... I've written, deleted, rewritten, deleted again.... but ultimately what I'm writing is my experience and I wanted to share it. And I think there are a few reasons for this:

1. That you'll keep me in your prayers that I can rebound quickly and that the next round is easier. Pray that, to paraphrase from the poem below, the Lord will help me to persevere through all these days, knowing that this chemo is making me better and it is working towards the end that I'll be free from this dreadful "C""

2. To let you know that I do have my not-so-good days. I've been told many times how "strong" I am. And I think I am. I'm optimistic, hopeful and am enjoying life even in the midst of this crap (yeah, I know... I could have picked a better word, but you know what - it IS crap!). And those not-so-good days are when I desparately need your prayers for strength and peace.

3. To share my faith... How I'm learning that God is my strength and support. When I can do nothing but pray "help", He is there for me, enfolding me in love. "Be still and know that I am God".

Here's another poem by Angelina Fast-Vlaar that is so appropriate for me at this time:

Black Thursday
Days of feeling well
enjoying life and all its joys
are abruptly ended by the coming of Thursday
A few pills, a needle pulsing
poison through my veins
are enough to collapse the wellness
and I am catapulted into a world
where the air smells foul,
where the water reeks,
where food and drink take on
a strange metallic taste,
where my stomach revolts,
my mouth breaks out,
and my muscles turn to lead.
I curl up by the fire on the soft sheepskin rug.
How sick can I get? Will I bounce back before next Thursday
already looming black on the horizon?
The glowing fire warms my shivering frame and I remember reading,
"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance."
As my body relaxes in the fire's warmth, I let my heart relax in the warmth
of God's love and I muse how Christ's long dark Friday turned to "Good" because
He persevered to work a great salvation. But how can I persevere through a
whole year of Thursdays coiled before me like an ever-circling, menacing maze?
And so I cry,
O Lord, direct my heart that I may learn to persevere through all the "good"
Thursdays, and may they work towards the end that I'll be free from this
dreadful "C". DV


Clare said...

Hi Annette, I'm sorry that this one was so tough on you. I continue to think about you daily and hope that things get easier. I hope you will be well enough to come to the picnic -- hope to see you there.

Jennifer and Alan said...

Hi Annette,
Alan and I just finished reading your updates and there is not a dry eye in the house. When I read the poem with regards to raising children it brought back so many memories. Some embarrassing but mostly happy memories. A wise old woman once told me that they would be the greatest years of my life and she was right. I do miss when the kids were young and I'm glad you are wise enough to stop and smell the roses with your children. My greatest memories are the times I spent skiing and going to the cottage with my own.
I hope this is the worst of your treatments and that it will get easier for you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you each and every day.
Jennifer and Alan

Barb said...

Hi Annette:

Just a few lines to let you know I check your blog daily and to let you know you are in my prayers daily.

I went through surgery for the big "C" but not the chemo or radiation. Just keep the positive attitude, and, with all that are praying for and with you and your family you`ll come out a winner.

Love and prayers Barb {Nadon}

Barb said...

Hi Annette:

Just a few lines to let you know I check your blog daily and to let you know you are in my prayers daily.

I went through surgery for the big "C" but not the chemo or radiation. Just keep the positive attitude, and, with all that are praying for and with you and your family you`ll come out a winner.

Love and prayers Barb {Nadon}

Tara Marie said... know that you are so very close to me in thought and prayer...every day and every night. If I could take this crappy experience away from you, I would in a heartbeat. I think it is so very important for you to write exactly how you are feeling and going through.....I know it helps you to get in down in writting, but it also helps me to better understand exactly what you are going I can send you extra positive thoughts and prayers.

Are you having as hot and humid weather as we are having...I hope not,,,,I hope that cool Canadian breezes fill your home so that you can rest in comfort.

Hugs to you my dear friend....

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry this round was so much tougher on you. I think you're right in what made it tougher were the worries you had on your mind. And now that you know your boys are fine with the new babysitter maybe you won't be stressed about that next time and it'll go a little easier.

I think you're right to share every aspect of this journey. I've never been through it, but hearing from people who have yes it is crap and it isn't any walk in the park. So you shouldn't feel like you have to report only the good, report the bad days's ok to get it out and vent etc.

You are constantly in my prayers for strength and healing. I check in often to see how you're doing.

Mis said...

Oh, I wish that I could take this all away from you! After watching my mother go through all of this; it's not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I am always thinking of you and your family. Lots of love coming from our house to you...
Melissa (and Bill, too)

Anonymous said...

hi Annette. Wow That brought tears to our eyes and so glad that the kids liked Kathyand things turned out wellBestill and know that lord has also been my specisl verse from the Bible
We Keep on praying for you. Love Mom

Tammy and Parker said...


I am so glad that I was able to visit your blog today. I understand so much of what you are expressing.....especially the mantra part. I have my own mantra as well.

I have friends who have had a porta cath, and it made such a big difference.

You are doing GREAT! One day soon you will read over this posts and it will all seem like such a long time ago. As you continue to get better the bad stuff seems to take a little bit more of a second seat.

We will remember you in our prayers.

Lisa (Lily's mommy from T21) said...

Hi Annette,

I just wanted you to know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers daily. I know how difficult this must be on you right now and know you have lots of people rooting for you!

And also - you absolutely have every right to write exactly how you feel - it is your experience and I know writing can be such an incredible release. Also, it helps others to understand...

I completely could relate to the comment you wrote about God and that he was all you had - I have felt that way a couple of times in life - once when I was going through Breast Cancer and then when I was told that Lily might not make it. You are absolutely right it is in those times of darkest hours and there is no one else who can hear you or help you that God is the only one - and your faith becomes greater and greater...

Please keep the faith - I know he is watching over you - and I know he can make anything happen - just look at my little miracle Lily! I know it is not easy right now - but, know we all care and are here for you!!!

Big hugs!


Anonymous said...

HI Annette, If only your family and friends could take some of this on to ourselves so it could be easier for you, everyone would do it in a flash.
What we are doing, is praying and of course you know how much power is in prayer. And I can hear in your words that your faith and every ones prayers are carrying you through this difficult time.
God's Grace to you Annette
Love from Aunt Terry

Anonymous said...

Annette, you are in our prayers ... may God grant you strength and healing.

Love Katrina & Brant

Kris said...

Thinking of you always. I remember a certain level of what you are feeling and know that I had forgotten - which is a good thing. I am sure you know this from your first bout with chemo. My treatments only lasted 4 hours not 48, so I cannot imagine your strength and resolve. Just hange in there each second at a time, breathe through it, talk through it, keep going through it. You can do this, even when there are times you think you can't. You will do will get there. All my love,

Anonymous said...

Never stopping in holding you up in our prayers with love and support. Glad you are feeling better now. Hope to see you soon!

Mauzy said...

praying along with you and wish I could be closer..........