Well, chemo #3 is officially in the books and it was by far the hardest one yet. I’m not going to pull any punches. My body is definitely feeling the effects of the cumulative treatment and I am downright exhausted. Physical weakness to this degree is something I’ve never experienced. Some days, I’m at the point where I hesitate climbing up my stairs for fear I might not make it to the top without a break. THAT, my friends, is super humbling. I am also still trying to take my daily walks in the morning, but my legs feel so heavy that it’s like I’m dragging weights. So strange! My sister, Ashley, took me to the mall the other day to walk and I literally had to find chairs in the stores to sit in while she shopped. Never have I identified so much with all the males in a mall as I did that day.
(Shout out to Nordstrom for some comfy chairs btw.)
In addition to weakness, I also had the lovely side effect of a swollen face this time around. And I’m not talking in my cheeks. My forehead protruded and my eyes were almost swollen shut for 3-4 days. I felt exactly like Will Smith in the movie “Hitch”.
SOMEONE GET THE BENADRYL!!!
My middle son, Hunter, and I were trying to have a face to face conversation one day and he stopped right in the middle of a sentence and said, “Mom, I can’t take you seriously like that.” (In the most loving way, of course ;)!
I don’t know exactly what the swelling was from, but I did learn that the last medicine administered during my treatment this time was given in 30 minutes vs. the usual hour, which I’m told can make all the difference. That little change may also be the reason for my nausea, my extremely fuzzy brain, my terrible insomnia, my skewed taste buds and my increased hair loss as well. Guess who’s NOT going to let that happen next time? Me. And Will Smith.
To make matters worse, my husband’s birthday fell right after my treatment (because what’s a cancer treatment/event of mine without a special occasion surrounding it, right?!). And to say I wasn’t in a place to make that day special is an understatement. Yes, I got a cake. But only because Kim ordered it for me and my mom brought it over. As you can see, I left it in the box WHILE lighting the candles. So clearly I’m in not in a good place.
I sure hope my fire extinguisher is.
Trevor has been an absolute rock star in taking care of me during this entire experience and I really wanted to celebrate him like he deserved to be celebrated. He really has been amazing. In fact, my friend Ellen and I had lunch this week and upon her asking, ‘so how are you and Trevor doing during all of this?’ tears immediately started rolling down my face. Right in the middle of the restaurant True Food. Now, if that would have happened about a year ago before I appreciated super healthy food, the tears may have been due to the fact that I had a bowl of quinoa sitting in front of me. But no. This was because she touched on something I hold so sacred. And even though I was surprised by my emotional reaction to her question, I know 100% why I had it. Trevor is a natural born care taker (it’s a good thing he’s a physician). But never have I been so appreciative of someone than I have been of him the past few months. Not only does he get up every single day and go to work at an ungodly hour, but he works all day long then comes home and immediately starts taking care of the kids. At this stage in life, that means making sure they have something other than oreos or pop tarts for dinner, shuttling them to their various activities and confiscating all of the electronics at night to make sure no one overdoses on screen time. He even attends the late night games in timbuktu while I lay in bed and watch Fixer Upper or House Hunters for the 40,000th time.
When you get married and recite your vows, you say “in sickness and in health” not really knowing or understanding the gravity of that promise. But I can say now that Trevor is not only the best example of knowing and understanding what that means, but he also does it without complaining and with sincere compassion for me. He makes me feel so loved even when I’m at my worst physically and mentally. I am so so grateful for the man I married and told him that we’d have to BOTH redo our birthdays next year as neither was even in the ballpark of adequate (hello, double mastectomy on mine).
(Breckenridge, CO // September 2017)
I love you, Trevor!
Now, with all of those crazy side effects and such, the good news is they usually pass (somewhat) within 7-10 days after chemo. So I’m writing to you from a better place. Or so I thought. I did have to leave church a few minutes early this morning to go sit in the car because I felt too weak to keep standing during the closing worship song. (Makes me happy I’m not an NFL player during the national anthem right now as I might have to kneel for an entirely different reason.) After I got in the car, however, I started to cry. It’s so bizarre at my age not feeling like I can even make it through 30 minutes of standing! And even though there’s a reason for it, it still feels pathetic.
This week, I pray that I feel as normal as possible before I go back in the Tuesday after next, October 3rd, for my last treatment. As tradition would have it, the special occasions surrounding chemo #4 are my middle son’s birthday on October 1st and my oldest son’s birthday on October 2nd. They turn 15 and 16 respectively, so we will hopefully have a permit and a license before I convalesce for two weeks or so afterwards. I really hope they like their new bumper stickers, too.
As for my skin cancer (yes, aren’t I the picture of perfect health?!), I will be going to MD Anderson with my sisters and mom on October 17th to see what the dermatologist recommends for treatment of my spots. The oncologist at MD Anderson believed that because chemo weakens my immune system, it creates an inability for my body to fight off squamous cells, thus the multiple new cancer spots. They have mentioned a topical chemotherapy, which I’m in favor of, over surgery. Please pray that that is a viable option. I’ve had more surgeries than I’d like this year and still have one more to go. If I can avoid yet another procedure or two, I’d be thrilled.
So, in closing I’d like to thank every single one of my incredible friends and family for running my errands, taking my kids places, dropping off food, etc. I also appreciate the continued texts, cards and words of encouragement from you all. Just on a day when I feel like I can’t keep going, I hear from one of you. God is so good to keep prompting you, and I’m grateful for your obedience and willingness to listen to Him.
Please continue to pray for me and for all of my fellow cancer fighters. This is not an easy road, and we could not do it without your support.
Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22