The Time Had Come…

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July 12, 2018…this was the day.  That Thursday would be my first chemo treatment and my PET scan.  As I woke up and did my daily routine, we found a huge yard sign waiting for us in the yard.  #TeamTuman as big as life…once again feeling the love and the strength of others as we were embarking on something completely foreign to us.  It was amazing! 

Our #TEAMTUMAN sign from Sign Gypsies

The peace and just fortitude to FIGHT was pretty incredible. 

Sure I was sad and SO freaking irritated that this was the journey I was facing!!! But, I was at peace with it. A crazy cool peace.  I felt my faith growing stronger than ever, my relationships being strengthened and it all being well with my soul. 

The PET scan was first so that there would be something to compare to as a baseline.  I drank a radio active liquid while taking anti-anxiety meds for the fear of being confined to the tube that was staring back at me. I  sat and waited with a warm blanket over me…waited for my insides to light up and my anxiety to be put to rest.  

A PET scan is NO place for someone who is claustrophobic!!!  I can’t hardly talk about it without feeling the tightness in my chest and my heart rate pick up as I get all clammy…and shudder.  UGH! But I made it through!  With my mom by my side and chauffeuring, I made it through and back home to meet my husband to go to my first chemo treatment. 

We got to the hospital ready to go…

I had my chemo bag in tow full of blankets and hard candy and books and a journal and ALL the things that so many people gifted to us for the journey ahead. They take your blood work before each chemo treatment to make sure your body can handle what it’s about to get put through…so that was first.  Then they took me into the chemo lab where it’s chair after chair and patient after patient getting pumped full of IVs of unknown liquids. 

Some people are alone, some are with loved ones, some are quiet, some are laughing, some are seemingly far off, some are so in tune with every drip of the fluid.  You find an open chair and sit and wait.  Wait again for the unknown…and feel the fear.  So much fear that you want to just get up and run.  You want to cry and run away and never be found.  But you can’t…you have a family counting on you and you are strong.  You are brave and strong and courageous…because that’s what you’re told.

Chemo session #1

I  remember the nurse sitting with Kaleb and I to explain every little thing…

My lip quivered and my tears just streamed.  It was fear, that all too familiar emotion.  Fear of the unknown and finally meeting that journey head on.  She would explain what was happening as she stuck the needle through the port in my chest…as the pre medicines full of steroids and fluids would drip…as the taste of the saline would overwhelm as she flushed the port…as the smell of the premed would envelope your senses and hit your gut…as the red devil chemo was pushed through over the course of 10 minutes…and then as the next medicine would slowly drip for more than an hour.  

AC chemo (aka ‘Red Devil’) that was administered by IV push rather than a drip

The next step was getting on body injector placed on my body. 

My husband and I watched a video explaining this contraption that I would wear over the course of the next day.  It was taped to my body to inject a bone marrow booster the following day. The nurse filled it with medication then it felt like a rubber band flicking me as the  catheter inserted into my lower stomach. 24 hours later it would start beeping and then it would gradually administer the medicine over the course of an hour. After that I  could remove it, throw it away, and SHOWER!!  Whoo hoo!!!  Yeah, you can’t shower with that on 😉 

The Neulasta on body injector that made me feel like a ticking bomb!

Anyway, we left, with an appointment to be back in a week and with our next several chemo appointments all typed up.  That would become my home away from home…the place I would be pretty much weekly for months upon end. It would become a place I would both dread and crave all at the same time. And it would become a place that would flip my stomach just at the thought.

That night my daughter had a basketball game…

I didn’t want to miss one minute of my kids’ activities! I wanted life to be as normal as possible for them. I ran home to eat, and then went to her game. It gave me so much joy to watch her do something she loved. Even more than that, each girl had on bright pink socks and had made me a poster…it was incredible. 

Our sweet Defenders basketball team

Y’all, the good in humanity is so real. 

I  don’t think I’ve touched on that enough! But is SO good and SO real.  Our family received gift after gift, meal after meal, message after message…it was overwhelming.  I would lose track some days of what had arrived in the mail or at the door as I tried to keep up with thank you notes and lists.  But it was good, and it was refreshing and it was empowering and it was amazing…it humbled me to the core. 

To know that there are so many people out there who GENUINELY care was just unreal.  It’s something I  will never be able to duplicate or repay people for, but I still spend every single day grateful.

Some of the bracelets I was given and wore to every treatment

Our first treatment was behind us…now what would happen???  It was unlike anything I ever anticipated…

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