I suddenly felt like I had a cold coming on. You know how that feels…you start to feel the drainage then get tired and then comes the congestion. Amplify all of that just a bit, and by that night, I felt like a truck came and just slammed right into me. I remember the day clearly because my cousin had come to see me from Alaska. I hadn’t been feeling well enough to see her until that day. But by the time the night came, I knew I wasn’t right.
The next day, I broke down.
09/10/2018 “I’m tired of not feeling good, it’s getting old. Kaleb and Sue were taking the kids to church and I couldn’t even go. My energy is just zapped. So I had a total cryfest and meltdown, I think it’s like my third of the week, lol! I know that I need to rest and I’m totally ok with that and I get it. But being in bed for days on end is OTUGHT and it gets so uncomfortable! I mean my body ACHES from it.“*
I was not used to being laid up for days on end! It played with me mentally so badly. I made an appointment to get a massage; my body hurt all over and thought it would help to get me comfortable. I was so dang tired that I couldn’t even drive. So I had my mother in law drop me off and pick me up…THAT is tired!!!
My first round of a new chemo was the next day.
I had completed my 4 rounds of Red Devil and now it was time to move onto 12 rounds of Taxol. Previously, I was in the chemo chair eery other week but now it would be weekly. The good news is that this next medicine was known as ‘chemo lite’! Whew! What a welcomed phrase! I was SO glad to have the other behind me and get to move onto something a bit gentler on my body.
I loaded up on my steroids to get ready. I had to take 5 that night and would have to take 5 the next morning too. I pounded Advil and took breathing treatments to clear myself up. Remember how I mentioned that I got labs done each week? Well, they take them prior to every chemo infusion also. If your numbers aren’t where they need to be, they push back your treatment…that was the LAST thing I wanted! I had a plan…4 Red Devil, 12 Taxol, have my surgery then move onto radiation all before the year ended.
That next day I woke up feeling SO much better!
I even got in a quick workout! Y’all I know it may sound crazy as you read these posts and I tell you about working out while half of the time feeling as if I was on my death bed. BUT you have to understand how good it made me feel. Do I think it was the right thing to do? Maybe. I don’t know, this was my first go round with cancer and I just wanted to feel NORMAL! What did that mean to me? Working out, coaching classes, pouring into others, being a wife, being a present mom, and trying to have some sort of presence with friends. Was I able to accomplish it all? HECK NO! But on the days I could, I took advantage.
That day of my first new chemo was also the first day of school for my youngest. I am SO thankful that I woke up that day feeling better so that I could take her first day of school pictures and be with her. She was SUCH medicine for the soul. God placed her in our lives for a reason and this was proving it more and more.
It was go time! My best friend of over 20 years came to be with me for this one. And luckily, my labs came back good enough to get my infusion!!! As I sat in the chemo chair, they prepped my IV with steroids, Benadryl, Zantac and Pepcid to help prevent any reaction. Apparently with Taxol, some people can have allergic reactions. So they add H1 and H2 histamine blockers as well as drip it over a very long time. They do it slowly so that they can test the water and make sure that there is no adverse reaction.
Thankfully, I passed with flying colors!
The worst part? Taxol can also cause neuropathy and nail discoloration in the hands and feet. So to prevent this from happening, you ice your hands and feet for the entire treatment. So there I was, with my bald head in a chemo chair wrapped in blankets with ice mittens and iced booties on. Although it was still warm outside, I was like a dang eskimo! As if battling cancer isn’t bad enough, then there are all of these side effects!
“I was tired during treatment BUT I felt so much more normal after the fact! I didn’t have to lay in bed the rest of the day and be in a coma. NO SICKNESS! I am so thankful that the nausea is supposed to be gone now!!! I can deal with the other stuff so much better. I’ve heard the fatigue sets in on day 2 or 3 so I’m really curious how it will affect me. But I’m also hopeful! I teach 3 classes on Wednesday so I’m praying it’s not bad so that I can get back into some sort of normalcy and routine!”*
I remember thinking about my grandma so much during all of this.
“Just imagining her sweet body fighting all if the way I have had to so far. I can’t imagine how she did it. I remember her laying in bed and forcing herself to just get to the kitchen and back. I just don’t know how she did it. I admire her even more!!!“*
I was so glad to have turned a page and be onto this new chapter. I was hopeful to feel like a normal human being during this next process.
But that proved to be wishful thinking…the worst was yet to come!
*excerpts from my personal journal during my journey