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:
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