Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Days 2-6 of My First Round of Chemotherapy

I despise negativity.  So, I really delayed writing a post about my chemotherapy experience until I could document some positive news.  Chemotherapy has been tough.  My body is just not used to toxins of any kind (except my daily morning dose of 12-20 ounces of Dr. Pepper, which I haven't drank in a couple of weeks).   So, injecting my 100 lb body with tons of toxins has been quite a difficult experience.  As days progressed since chemotherapy day 1, new ailments would pop up.  Unfortunately, the remedy has always been another pill/medication.   I hate the idea of taking medicine to treat the side effects of other medications.  Prior to this cancer diagnosis, I even avoided Tylenol, not wanting to put anything unnatural in my body.  After the lip and mouth swelling episode on Friday from the Neulasta injection, I received the steroid injection.  Then, over the weekend, I developed thrush in my mouth.   I am not sure if thrush normally feels like this, but my mouth has just felt as if I burned it with piping hot chocolate.  So, the doctor prescribed a pill to take care of that.  Apparently, it is pretty common to develop thrush around day 3 of chemotherapy due to the plummeting of the white blood cell count.  Then, combining that with the steroid injection on Friday probably just made its occurrence inevitable.  Now, I think I might be developing an upper respiratory infection, so I will probably need to take more medication for that.   On Day 5 (yesterday), I decided I have never felt as ill as I had on that day.  It is really difficult to describe the feeling:  imagine a terrible flu with body aches, a mouth that feels burnt, nausea that comes and goes irregularly, and absolutely no energy.  I couldn't imagine feeling any worse and I remembered the doctor said that patients usually feel progressively worse until day 7, and then things start picking up from there.   In addition to feeling ill, this chemotherapy has been giving me some scary dreams.  I awaken several times throughout the night from the dreams, each time feeling terrible pain and nausea.

Last night before going to bed, I confessed to Drew that I was scared.  I was scared of feeling worse.  I was afraid of the amount of time I would need to endure this pain.  I was fearful of what pains and dreams the night may bring.  We prayed.  Then, we went to bed and I fell asleep.  I did not awake until early this morning, and when I did awake, I felt somewhat like my old self.  For me, this was HUGE!   I was so excited, that I began going through a list of to-dos and things I wanted to accomplish today.  This is me.  I haven't felt like me since chemo started.  Now, once I started trying to tackle all of these tasks I realized that chemo is still affecting me.  My energy level is still very limited.  But, I have a sense of renewal.  Perhaps Day 5 is my low point instead of day 7?   I hope so!  I believe God answered our cries for help last night.   

We are thankful for prayers, and as I have said before, I believe in the power of prayer.  Given that, here are our current prayer requests:
  • Please pray that as my white blood count remains low, that I do not pick up any illnesses or viruses.  My WBC needs to be at a certain level in order to continue to receive chemotherapy.  
  • Please pray that I have the strength to endure the chemotherapy for 6 months.  Also, please pray that the chemotherapy side effects are minimal.
  • Please pray that this chemotherapy is extremely effective.  We are praying for complete healing!
This past week, I started feeling so badly for Luke, because we are not able to have the birthday party that I planned on having for him this year.  He turns three on 10/4.  Because we are in flu season and I am going through chemotherapy, having a party with lots of friends at our home or at a bouncy house is out of the question.  As we have attended birthday parties for family members and friends this past year, he has been looking forward to his party.  He knows which family members' birthday parties have to happen first before his birthday and his has been next in line for a few weeks.   Although we aren't able to have the type of party I had originally planned for, we are still going to have a fun celebration.  My parents are coming down for the weekend, we ordered a birthday cake, and we are going to have a little "Skype" party for him so some other family members can attend.  I am sure he will love his little party!  We also just ordered a cookie cake for his birthday celebration at preschool.  We are so excited to celebrate our little boy turning 3!  I am not going to let this cancer take over my life.  Although it does consume so much of our lives currently, life must go on.  I don't want to miss any special moments.  That means we have to be intentional on creating these special moments and savoring all of the special experiences as they happen.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for keeping us updated. I am praying daily. Your strength and courage is amazing and God is shining through you during this impossible time. You are a great light to the world and God is being glorified. Most people wait until they are healed to praise God but to see you praising Him ang giving him glory in the dark times is awesome. God is using you to change lives and attitudes already. Thank you Heather. We are praying for complete healing and an easy journey.