I started the chemo journey with my dad and Don at a chemo class. Learning of all the nasty side effects: hair loss, fatigue, nausea, numbness in your fingers and toes, loss of appetite, loss of taste, losing weight. The scary list went on and on. Of those side effects, I took them and tossed as many as I could directly out the window. Who has time to be tired with 2 kids to care for? Loss of appetite? If I have to have cancer, I'm going to eat everything. This was my initial plan, that I then read about and learned it wasn't the best thing. But to discuss appetite a little, mine has never gone away. Nausea, again I took the medicine while I was on the first drug, but after I switched to weekly treatments, the drugs have been so much nicer to me, I have taken anti-nausea 3 times. That is AMAZING! I think when people think of chemo, they think of someone hugging the toilet, I NEVER DID! I could not get past the hair loss at first, but I have come to terms with that and it is growing back at such a rapid pace that it almost gives me something to look forward to each morning when I look in the mirror without anything on my head. I do still do the shocked look too that I will describe as "WOW, oh my God, it is real, I don't have hair and I do have cancer". You wake up daily as a cancer patient and hope it was a bad dream.
This past week, I started to get almost every side effect listed above. My taste buds have been cashed for the past few weeks, but I am a huge fan of spicy foods, so I have been able to keep them satisfied as much as possible. The fatigue was killer this week. It reminded me of taking the first round of drugs where I felt like I could close my eyes where ever I was and I was out. The numbness in the finger and toes.....HOLY COW! I can't open things well this week and they feel like they are asleep all the time. This is probably the most annoying thing. The Doctor feels that since this side effect visited so late, it won't stick around too long and with my age, it will eventually go away, but OH MY! This can disappear at any time. I look weird and can't stand it. So if you notice me struggling, just help me would ya?! I caught Whitney laughing the other night as I was trying to use a fork and my food kept slipping off of my it. I laughed too:) Have to laugh! I have decided that my side effects may have been around all along but maybe I have been able to block them out. Who could complain about this stuff 20 weeks ago knowing you have 15 more cycles of drugs to get through? If you are tired at the beginning of a race, that is going to make the race 10 times longer. So I do wonder if I am just now allowing myself to say I'm tired or that I'm numb....So maybe I just want some attention. Sue me:)
It was bittersweet that my dad and mom are here this weekend to complete this journey. More so that my dad was my partner since he was there at the beginning of this too. Again, since he was at the initial class, learning along with me and watching me cry because I was so damn scared to lose my hair and lose control of things but mainly the hair. Then to come today and watch me go through this like watching me do a routine of changing a diaper or something. I have come so far and I have accomplished so much! I would still prefer to not add this stuff to my life's bucket list, but I DID IT! I am so proud of myself! And as much as it was not easy for him and my mom to have their daughter do this, I know they are proud of me too. Probably just as proud of me now as they were to watch me graduate high school and college, or getting married to my best friend or giving them 2 sweet grand boys. The bitter part is this is not something a parent ever wants for their child. I know this because as a mom, I would be crushed! I would be on a lot harder of a drug than chemo to get through that. So I am just as proud of them! They have watched me struggle, cry, laugh, scream, crawl in bed with my mother because I was so scared those first few days. I haven't done that in I think at least 20 years, right mom? And let's not forget, I think I may have thrown things at first too out of anger, not so proud of this one, but it happens. Bottom line, they have listened, cried with me and cheered me on! l remember their words from the beginning when I said I was too weak of a person to get through this, they continued to say over and over: You will beat this. We have no doubt....YOU WILL BEAT THIS! I remember this and when I do forget or get scared, I think of it often....YOU ARE DAMN RIGHT I WILL BEAT THIS!!!!
|Certificate of Accomplishment that I have Earned through Edwards Cancer Center Today|
|Mom and Dad This Morning -Dad and I on our way!|
Whitney....Oh Whitney......I still owe a blog about her, but I was afraid someone would offer her money and take her away. Seriously can you say Mary Poppins? Only cuter that that! Whitney is a mother to my children right now. I sometimes see the way they look at her and if it were a given day, being the real mom, it would probably make me so jealous, but I know why she is here and I know why they look at her the way they do. They know she isn't a mom, they know she is an angel!! She has put her life on hold to care for me, Don, Justin and Ryan. She is 25 years old. She I'm sure complains to someone, it isn't me, because she has taken the role of a mother and wife around here and rarely gets down time and if I stayed home and did this and didn't have work, I would have some one's ear about it. Even when we are home, she is helping out. I feel so guilty at times, but I know that is what a sister is for and while the job is tough, she knew that going in and I will say it again, I did not tie her up here and force her to stay. Her departure will be difficult. While I'm sure she looks forward to going back to a 25 year old, I also know she will miss my boys like they are her own. She will be mother of the year one day! But for now, she is aunt of the year! She will get her reward someday!
|Dinner for Whitney's 25th birthday|
My in-laws Don and Wendy have also walked by my side through all of this. They have taken on more than anyone should have to this year. With the loss of Don's sister (big Don, my Don's Aunt) 2 days before Ryan was born, celebrating Ryan's birth and first 3 months and then stepping back into the cancer world! Why? That is crummy! Having to witness their son go through this and be at a loss of words and their daughter in law who was probably viewed as stubborn before all of this.....I went from never wanting to ask for help to needing help at the drop of a hat. They have always stepped in and have given Whitney the break she has deserved and sometimes this comes with little to no notice. It is just amazing!
There are many of you I want to personally write about, but that will take me years and although I have those years, I need to get out there! So I know you get it, but I hate personalizing because I am seriously at a loss for what all have done for us. I will be and have been paying it forward because I do not know if I had not had to stop to smell the yucky roses, if I would have slowed down some and realized on a daily basis an individual can struggle through so much and sometimes a card, phone call or e-mail can just put that smile on some one's face. I am just so touched at people's compassion, effort and creativity through this.
This road has not ended, as I still have a lot ahead of me, but we are continuing down it. It is nice to put the chemo behind me. I plan to keep up on my weekly updates as I think it helps to let you all know how we are doing and it helps me put my thoughts out there. So stay tuned to Chapter 2: SURGERY!
Love you all!!
|My boys giving me a final pep talk before chemo|
|My good-bye to Taxol today! FOREVER!!!|