I didn't voice it much during the time, mostly because I didn't want to get on this blog and talk about God and His strength and all my blessings and then whine when something went wrong, but the 1st week of chemo was AWFUL!
OK.....looking back it wasn't THAT bad, but when I'm in the heat of the battle, my tendency is to flee the scene. Quickly. I can remember as a child, I would be working on a homework problem or I'd ask my daddy to fix something for me and when it got tough I'd say, "Oh, just forget it." I can't tell you how many he'd look at me and say, "Baby, you give up too easy." (I love that my daddy STILL calls me baby!)
And he was right. I do tend to give up too easy. I believe that's why God, at times, keeps me on a short leash. He tends to make some things in my life very difficult because He's teaching me to fight instead of flee, and to lean on Him.
During the 1st few days after chemo, I suffered a sinus infection, a double ear infection, acid reflux like no one has ever had before (ok.....not really, but it was painful!) and I thought I had a bladder infection. The antibiotics they gave me had their own, really gross side effects, which I am choosing not to disclose. :) The anti-nausea drugs they gave me made me very dizzy, which made me nauseated. Go figure. And I was only taking them as a precaution. I never felt nauseated once!
By day 5 after chemo, I was ready to call Dr. Yardley and tell her she would not be seeing me again.
I seriously had visions of them trying to nearly kill me to heal me. Chemo messes with your head a little. Or maybe it was just Satan trying to weasel his way into the mix. Either way, I was not happy during that 1st week.
Chemo #2 has gone a LOT better......so far. I had one of the best conversations with Dr. Yardley I've ever had. She spent a lot of time with me, asking me questions and answering mine. She seemed very concerned about the acid reflux and even lowered the dosage on one of my chemo drugs which can cause acid reflux. She added an extra dose of Prilosec each day for the 1st week after chemo and also added another prescription (which I call glorified Maalox) to take the 1st week. She also changed one of my anti-nausea drugs. She said for most people it makes them sleepy and sedated. But for a few select people (that would be me) it makes them a little hyper and doesn't combat the nausea.
We decided I would be her problem child right now. (My words, not hers).
We had a really good visit. Possibly because she also told me 3 things, which were music to my ears: 1) the nausea will not get worse. I was taking the nausea drugs as a precaution, but I'm not doing that this go around. She said typically, however nauseous you are the 1st treatment is what you'll experience the rest of the time. I could've kissed her! And I wasn't nauseous (until I took the anti nausea drug, which she changed. Confused yet?) 2) "Your numbers and blood work are phenomenal. On paper it doesn't look like you've had chemo". 3) "You will become more tired, but right now, you look great. You are wearing the chemo well".
So I walked out a little happier and a lot more relaxed.
I went straight to the chemo room. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. I told y'all last time, Barbara the bread lady comes on Wednesdays. I seriously think that's one of the reasons it's so crowded. (This week she had banana bread, chocolate chip banana bread and zucchini bread, which I picked. YUMMY!) But because it's so crowded and I believe because she changed one of my dosages of chemo drugs, they had to enter it in the computer and it just took longer. Plus it was just packed. I was 6th in line but those 5 people ahead of me could've been newbies (or probies as Tony on NCIS calls them). When you're new, they have to get you to sign some paperwork and give you a welcome packet and go over all the drugs and side effects. It just takes awhile. So I sat and talked and waited. 2 1/2 hours later, they finally got to me. It really did fly by for me (but you might want to ask Scott and Angie if it flew by for them). By the time I was finally done with all the IV bags and syringes of drugs, it was 4:00. I had arrived that morning at 7:45. It was a LONG day. We're gonna seriously have to find the pizza delivery guys number.
I felt fine when I left, other than being extremely hungry. We went to the Macaroni Grill afterward and once I got some food in me, I felt human again. My sweet friend, Pam, fixed dinner for us, which we will eat tonight: pot roast with potatoes and carrots, rolls, cinnamon fried apples, frozen fruit salad (pink stuff as I call it) and for added comfort: banana bread. Y'all need to be friends with Pam. She's a great person and a great cook!
Today I have felt really good, other than I didn't sleep last night. I went to bed at 9:30 and fell asleep, only to wake up wide awake at 12:45. I never did go back to sleep. I didn't even doze for a few minutes. I'm pretty sure it's the steroids they give you before the chemo drugs. It stays in your system for a day or two, then it will go away. It's 3:37 in the afternoon and I'm not that sleepy. Just a little tired.
So I'm going into this next 3 weeks not quite as scared. I've lost my hair, I've not been nauseated, I'm armed to the tooth with acid reflux meds and my sinus and ear infections are pretty much gone. Unless a new side effect occurs, I'm feeling pretty good about it.
Now y'all know I have to leave you with a bible verse. My niece, Jennifer, wrote on my wall on Facebook yesterday and said this: "You are 'wearing the chemo well' because of your faith and the power of prayer. It's time to use our weapons that God gave us to get through stuff like this." And she's exactly right. One of my favorite quotes is from John Eldridge. If you've never picked up one of his books, I'd suggest you start with Waking the Dead. This quote is long, but please read the whole thing. It's great: "Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war? You've got to be kidding me! We gave up the hymn not so much for musical fashion but because we felt ridiculous singing it. We don't sing it 'cause it ain't true! We have acquiesced. We have surrendered without a fight. We've exchanged that great hymn for a subtle but telling substitute, a song that is currently being taught to thousands of children in Sunday school each week, which goes something like this: 'I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. I may never fly o'er the enemy but I'm in the Lord's ar-my. Yes sir!'......There is no battle and there is no war and there is no Enemy and your life is not at stake and you are not desperately needed this very hour....but you're in the Lord's army. Doing WHAT, may I ask?"
He's right. We have acquiesced. We have given up without a fight. But we're in the Lord's army.
OK.....so with God consistently teaching me to fight, here's the verse I found very comforting. King David must've struggled with this a little bit too, even though he was a man after God's own heart and eventually, was a great warrior. Psalm 144: 1-2, 5-7 reads, "Praise be to the Lord my rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge. Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains so they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me!" I love that he starts out saying, "You train MY hands and MY fingers." But then toward the end it's almost as if he's saying, "But God....why don't you just come on down here and fight this battle for me. I can just fight by you or maybe I'll just go to my fortress. C'mon God....deliver me and rescue me (translation: get me outta here!)" I love that David was so easy to understand because he sounds a lot like us, doesn't he? You've gotta love somebody who's honest enough with God to say, "I love you and I want to be close to you and I need you but can we just skip this lesson God? And by the way......I've got a bone to pick with you." And they just lay it all out there. And really, isn't that what God wants from us? A relationship and not just a religion? You might as well tell Him what's on your mind. He knows it anyway. It's not like you're gonna surprise Him with some information He didn't already know. Plus when you confess it, and I mean confess it ALL, it gets it out of your system and makes room for His healing and His love and His Spirit to just flow through you. And you might just sleep a little bit better and walk through your day a little bit lighter and a whole lot closer to our loving God. Amen?
Everybody have a great rest of the week and weekend and get out and enjoy what I call "the most wonderful time of the year". -