It Is FINISHED

I am thrilled to write that I am OFFICIALLY finished with Chemo (now for sure, and Lord willing forever)!!!!!  My 4th and final round was on Tuesday, October 3rd, and I could not be more elated!  Thank you ALL for your prayers, your encouragement, your presence, your support, your cards, your calls, your texts, your front porch presents and your love.  I literally could NOT have made it through the past few months without you.  The Lord has been so very faithful to use each of you as a reminder of His goodness & faithfulness, and I am overwhelmed with how beautiful and tangible the body of Christ can be.  In my darkest hours, He provided hope.  Through my tears, He provided joy.  And in my weakness, He showed His strength in a mighty way.  I pray with all of my heart that cancer, illness or tragedy does not come your way, but if it does, I am here to testify that the Lord will carry you through it.  Our struggles on earth afford us a dependence and closeness to the Father that we do not have otherwise.  So while I wish so badly I didn’t have to walk this road, I am grateful for the intimacy I have experienced with the Lord over the past few months and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

To back up a bit, in my last post I had written that I was fatigued and a little frustrated that I couldn’t even stand during the last song at church.  I naively thought I would follow the pattern of my previous chemo treatments where I would have one bad week and two good ones.   That did not happen on round #3.  I was down for all 3 weeks.  After the fatigue, I developed an insane itching all over my body.

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I’ve never had poison ivy, but I think I can now relate to all of those who have.  And let’s just say OUCH.  It was maddening.  The nurse told me to take Zyrtec each morning, which helped a bit.  But didn’t completely stop the problem.

Then last Saturday night, we were planning on going to our friends, the Messick’s, house to watch the Aggie football game (we are gluttons for punishment).  But that day, I started developing severe chest pains.  WHAT?!  I was walking the dog with Trevor and had to stop about 4 times to lean over until the pain passed.   I learned that the pain would subside if I was lying down but would resume when I was standing up or moving around (thus, ruling out reflux).  I finally called the doctor and they told me to go to the ER just to have it checked out and make sure we weren’t missing something.  Yikes.  So Trevor dropped me off at the ER then dropped the kids off at our friend’s house only to circle back to me.  After blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray and a CT scan, all was clear!  Praise God.  And we even got to go join our friends afterwards and watch the Aggies get a win!!  (Yes, I learned that when you are a cancer patient plus you have chest pains, you are the first priority at the ER and get moved through at a pretty fast pace.  Nice perk.)  The best explanation the physicians could come up with was that I was experiencing bronchospasms due to my compromised immune system.  Given the other alternatives, I’ll take that one.

Sunday, October 1st, was my middle son’s 15th birthday, so we celebrated all day by watching him play baseball (his first and only love thus far).  My parents and in-laws joined us in Balch Springs (now THAT’s love) for the double header, as did my other two boys.  It was most certainly a banner day.

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Monday, October 2nd, was Hudson’s 16th birthday, so we geared up for yet another celebration the next day.  I always have that moment of feeling lazy for leaving the ‘Happy Birthday’ banner up, but really how silly to take it down at night only to put it back up the next morning, right?  My brain is so weird that it contemplates such things.

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Needless to say, I left it up.  Thank goodness Hudson was so excited to go get his drivers license that day, he didn’t give a flip about the banner.  And I got to spend the majority of the day with my eldest at the DMV waiting for our number to be called.  I’m not exaggerating when I say the line was approximately this long.

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But we persevered and walked out with an official license!!  It’s so surreal to have a child that is driving a real actual vehicle and not the motorized jeep he had when he was 3.

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I still don’t know how these boys are 15 & 16!!!

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(The original plan was for Hunter to get his drivers permit that day as well, but he told me he had 2 quizzes and he wanted to stay at school instead. Clearly, we are not related.)

Fast forward to Tuesday, October 3rd, and my 4th chemo date.  I want to start by saying that I had my strongest game face on and was ready to tackle the last round.  My friends and family were with me, my adrenaline was pumping, I WAS READY.  I felt like Rocky Balboa about to run up the last few steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to my final destination.

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I had my blood work taken then met with the PA before chemo.  She was very concerned about all the bad side effects I had during round #3 that she casually mentioned that Dr. O may want me to skip the 4th round (WHAT?!) or delay it (NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!).  I couldn’t deal at that moment.  The PA slipped out of the room to go call Dr. O to discuss and I summoned my prayer warriors via text from the exam room.  I was so prepared that day to have my treatment and just wanted this all to be over.  Thankfully, she reentered the room a few minutes later and said that we were good to go for the day.  PRAISE GOD.

I went to sign in for chemo on the 3rd floor and had a corner full of love waiting for me when I got there.

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What’s a girl to do but feel so completely cared for and supported?!  I LOVE my people.

I finally got called back for chemo, where only a few friends at a time can visit.  And when I sat down in the chemo chair and was getting my first cold cap on, I noticed that my ankles were completely swollen.  (My body at this point feels like the craziest science fair experiment, I swear!).  We had to call the doctor to make sure it was okay to proceed with treatment (another hold your breath moment).  To be honest, I don’t know if she ever called back, but we proceeded nonetheless.

I want to say that the steady stream of visitors throughout the day made this process go by so quickly.  As did ALL OF YOUR PRAYERS.  No kidding.  I had so many sweet texts encouraging me and with every word I gained more strength and acquired more grit. You have no idea how big of a role you played in getting me through!!!

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Ashley, me, Casey & Jennifer (friends for 20 years); Ashley flew in from Florida just to be with me and Jenn drove from Tyler.  I’m so thankful for these ladies!!!!

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Me & Amy (friends since 1st grade); Amy was with Jen through all of her chemo treatments as well.  It’s safe to say we’ve been through it ALL in our years of friendship.  

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Meredith, me, Lezley & Stephanie L  (college friend, and breast cancer friends); I could not have made it through without these gals.  {Please note that my hands are in ice (as are my feet) to combat neuropathy.  How am I still smiling?!}

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Me & Stephanie B (friends from aTm); Steph noted that she looks like she has no limbs in this photo as I remarked that I look like I’m setting a “pick” in basketball terms.  We clearly need posing intervention.

After the final infusion was over, I was able to participate in a ritual they have for chemo patients.  When a patient is finally finished with his/her treatments, they are allowed to ring a gong.  It sounds corny, but I was so excited that my time had finally come.

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It’s so sweet because everyone claps and cheers for you.  What a special memory.  I guess I really did channel my inner Rocky.

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Man, it feels SO GOOD to be finished.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of modern medicine and good health.  I made it to the top of the stairs!!!!!!  Hallelujah!

Trevor ended up surprising me towards the end of treatment (I think he was having FOMO), which I greatly appreciated.  Oh how I love this man.

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And he loves ME…silver mushroom hat and all.

We all made our way downstairs to get ready to leave Baylor and grabbed one more pic (cause you obviously can’t have too many pics).

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Casey, Jennifer, me, Jennifer, Ashley, mom & Ashley; yes, it’s confusing

I went home and finished out the cold capping with sweet Sandy (my cold cap concierge and also a breast cancer survivor).

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My last cap came off around 7:30pm and pray to God I never have to wear that thing ever again!!!

So…many of you have asked about next steps.  I have an appointment with my Dallas dermatologist next Tuesday, Oct. 10th to review topical chemotherapy for the skin cancer on my leg.  Then I go to MD Anderson the following Tuesday to do the same.  After that, I will determine how to proceed and hopefully it will be an easy and fast fix.  I figure if I can freeze my head for 8 hours at a time, surely I can rub some cream on my legs.

And lastly, I have my final reconstruction on December 6th (removal of expanders and insertion of implants).

This journey has taught me so many valuable lessons that I hope I can remember and apply from here on out.  I’m so happy I didn’t have to walk this road alone, so thank you for being my sounding board and my audience.  You have cheered me on in a way that is so overwhelmingly beautiful, and I AM GRATEFUL.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count!

Jamie

“Praise the Lord.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 106:1

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “It Is FINISHED

  1. Just thrilled that it is OVER! You have been a real trooper little Jamie. Love you tons and will continue to pray for your complete recovery. Love….Sis

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  2. Praising God! You are so strong and brave. So glad your mission is complete! I love the mushroom hat, you look precious! ❤️ You so much and giving God the Glory!!!!! 🙏🏻

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I love reading Jamie’s blog. I praise God for her wonderful, positive spirit. She has been a real warrior during this ordeal! May she experience complete healing in all aspects of her life.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  4. Congratulations on finishing the last chemo!! Please know you are continually in my prayers – I pray these last side effects are minimal as you move forward!!

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  5. Don’t know you Jamie, and just randomly came across your post and blog. Congratulations on finishing the last round! Peace to you and your family!!! Numbers 6:24-26

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  6. I also don’t know you Jamie but have been following along on your journey. All the praise hands that you are finished with chemo and prayers for continued healing and recovery. As a side note, your humor is just the best!
    Prayers from Michigan, Julie.

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  7. Dearest Jamie, You are such an inspiration to us all. Even though we can’t be there with you physically you make us feel such a part of what the Lord is doing your life. Much answered prayer as the Lord has so beautifully stepped into this journey you are on. It was great to see your Mom Saturday with stories from her perspective. We love you and your precious men. We will be watching out for Hudson and Hunter on the streets of Big D!!

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  8. So happy for you Jamie! I pray for continued healing! Thank you for sharing your journey and your spirituality! I have learned much this year from my dear friend Kay and from you! I feel closer to God because of the two of you! What a beautiful thing!

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  9. Jamie, you did it. You are superwoman. I”m sure it feels so good to know this time the days/weeks of recovery from a chemo treatment are for good. No getting knocked back down three weeks later. I have LOVED reading your posts. You have me laughing and inspired every time. So happy all is GREAT, my friend. Love to Trevor and your sweet boys! A driver! Oh my goodness.

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    1. Haley! Thank you so much for your encouragement and for following my journey! I know you understand it all!!!! I appreciate your prayers more than you know! Much love to you, Kevin and your sweet family!

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