Tag Archives: God

T-366 days-1st Chemotherapy Infusion–November 16, 2012

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IMG_2631                                                                                          My mom and Me during my infusion

I tossed and turned in my sleep.  I cried….dreading what was going to happen to me.  I took the prescribed steroids and I felt like I was on speed, everything was racing.  Feeling like a baby who wet the bed,  I sweated through my pajamas and the sheets.  Is this what steroids are supposed to do?….no one talks about this when they talk about cancer treatment.  I change out of my wet pj’s and try to sleep thinking of the imminent poison that is about to be put into my veins.   Laying there in the dead of night I start praying to God and ask him to calm me, soothe me, comfort me….and finally my eyes shut.  It seems as if an hour had passed and the alarms begin ringing,  the house is bustling with everyone getting ready to go to school.  I say goodbye to my babies and reassure them that I am going to be ok and will see them very soon.  Once everyone leaves, I embark on the task of getting dressed for my infusion. What does one wear to a chemotherapy?  I grapple with my wardrobe for a moment and turn on fun party music.  As I am singing along to Lady Gaga I decide to go with the fashionable yet practical ” loose and comfortable look  with a splash of pink”. On my wrists hung my breast cancer bracelet and my bracelet with my kids names on them, from my ears my 80’s pink earrings.   I was determined to walk in to the hospital with my head held high and a fearless attitude.  When Travis came home I told him “Let’s get this party started”.  Thus, the party began, we left the house armed with our bags filled with endless hours of entertainment; computers, cards, magazines, books, snacks, beverages.  We were prepared for anything and everything.

I am not certain if I was more anxious about how the chemotherapy was going to feel when it flowed into me OR what everyone else in the infusion clinic would look like.  I continued to want to live in my fantasy world of cancer.  I didn’t want to face the reality of seeing cancer patients who looked as if they were knocking on death’s door.  My anxieties were lessened when I was greeted by my chemotherapy nurse Char.   She shared with us that we would have a private room since it was my first infusion.  Yes!  I could continue to live in my fantasy world of cancer a little longer!  What is even better is I know Char, I have known her for years.  My fears diminished tremendously.  Char begins to tell us how the day is going to run and what we should expect.  She explains that she does not want us to be alarmed when she is wearing a plastic mask and gloves when handling the chemotherapy bags.  She says that she must do this to protect her from the drugs toxicity, since she is exposed to them everyday.  Ok, wait a second!?!  My nurse is going to wear a Hazmat suit to touch the BAG my chemotherapy drugs are in…..the same drugs they are going to intravenously pour into my body……..should this comfort me or make me think that I have lost my mind agreeing to this?  Thanks to the steroids and the tazmanian devil levels of energy it gives me, my mind quickly shifts to another thought……Squirrel!

 

Travis and I at my 1st Chemo Infusion

Travis and I at my 1st Chemo Infusion

As you can see in the above picture we had a pretty cozy set up.  My own bed, complete privacy, a nice little lamp….it was like the Taj Mahal of chemo infusions.  It was time to begin.  They needed to put the needle (which looked more like a fishing 

hook) into my port.  My port is on the inside of my right arm.  Char asked if I had put the numbing cream on my skin, I bravely told her that I didn’t think I would need it.  Shots, and pricks in the arm are not a big deal to me….well let me tell you when Char drove the “fish hook” into my port I thought I was going to scream….no wait I did scream.  It was the most torturous part of the entire day.  For some reason I had this illusion that the port was supposed to me my safety tunnel into my veins, the safe passage way, like the gumdrop pass in Candy Land.  NO!  It was like the Go To Jail card.  After the initial shock and pain of the insertion, they began a saline drip on me, followed by a anti-nausea drug, followed by another anti-nausea drug (I think they don’t want me to have nausea).  Then the party was truly about to start.  They first began with the chemotherapy drug Taxol.  With her hazmat suit on Char hung the Taxol bag on the hook.  I waited to feel something, anything..but I didn’t.

As the Taxol was coursing through my body along with the other drugs that were put in me I had many visitors in my room; my mom, my dear friend Kevin, my nurse angel Karen, the hospital deacon, my dad.  I may have picked up a tinge of annoyance from Char of the constant party like atmosphere in my room.  All we needed was a strobe light and some bass.

Chemotherapy Infusion Party

Chemotherapy Infusion Party

The next drug invited to the party was Carboplatin.  Char hung the bag of Carboplatin up on the hook.  Drip, drip went the drug and again I waited to feel something…..nothing yet.  Continuous monitoring took place.  Everything was on course.  The party was really going to start with the liquid benadryl they were going to give me.  The purpose of that was to combat any potential allergic reaction that I could have to Herceptin which would be the final drug of the TCH cocktail.   As I was biting into my salad lunch I was hit with a tsunami wave of exhaustion.  I couldn’t end the party by sleeping so I continued to attempt conversation while sounding like a sloppy drunk.  Travis and my mom broke out in laughter as they tried to piece together the garbly gook that was dripping out of my mouth.  Char entered the room with the final cocktail mix; Herceptin.  She reminded me that they would keep a close eye on me to ensure that I didn’t have an allergic reaction and if I were to have one it would be immediate.  She hung the bag and I waited in breathless anticipation to breakout in a rash of purple dots but alas I sailed smoothly through the choppy waters of the Herceptin test.  As the time continued to tick away I realized we had spent over 6 hours in the infusion lab and not once dove into our bag of party goods.  We had been kept so busy with teachings, monitoring and visitors that the party bag collected dust.  My first chemotherapy infusion was drawing to a close.  Other then being drunk on benadryl, I felt no different. As we walked to the car I felt the wind rustle through my hair and I became melancholy knowing that in hours it would be gone.  One major step today and another big one tomorrow.  One step at a time…

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T-396 days Lumpectomy

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My alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m.  I’m not nervous.  I’m eagerly calm.  I want this cancer out of me, all of it.  I put on my comfy clothes and get ready for the long drive to Chelsea.  I can’t imagine going here without Travis, my mom and dad are meeting us.

It’s still dark when we arrive.  I head back for the first step of the surgery.  Before the surgery, they put a guide wire in me to lead my surgeon right to where the tumor is located.  I go into my most favorite machine nowadays; the mammogram machine, and they take many pictures marking me with markers so they know where the radiologist should insert the wire.  The radiologist walks in, we both say a warm hello and are surprised we already know one another.  It is the same radiologist that spoke to me on the day of my ultrasound.  It was comforting to have the same person; another sign that God was working his wonder.  She numbs my breast and then inserts a thin silver wire into my breast, more pictures are taken to verify it is in the correct position.  It is, I look down and see what looks like a thin antenna coming out of my breast.  I feel like something out of Star Trek.  They then cover it up with gauze and tape me so that I don’t knock it out of position.

Now I am transported into a van to the hospital for the surgery and I see all of the people I love sitting in the lobby.  They ensure that they will be able to visit me soon.  I get wheeled back to the surgery room where I begin to see familiar face; Gabriella’s ENT surgeon, my anethsiologist from my hernia surgery, seeing people I somewhat knew was nice.  I laid there answering questions, getting prepped up; feeling incredibly calm. Travis and the pastor came back first.  A prayer was said; it was wonderful to have that moment before my surgery.  Next, my parents came back.  I could tell they were all nervous, I think they were all more nervous then me.  We all  just sat and talked about this and that, things were delayed for awhile.  Finally, my surgeon came back and said hello to everyone and reviewed what was going to be done.  It was time to say goodbye to everyone, many kisses and tears.  Not one part of me was nervous, I could feel everyone’s prayers and thoughts lifting me up, I could feel the presence of God, I could feel the love of my family and ALL of it gave me tremendous comfort and peace……then I drifted off to sleep.

I hear voices and beeps, I open my eyes and see a nurse.  She says “How are you feeling?”  I ask if I am all done and if everything went well and she said yes.  Tears started pouring down my face. Tears of joy and relief. Travis comes back with the nurse.  We both start crying together.  He tells me that my surgeon thinks that my lymph nodes were healthy and that she got all of the cancer out.  I keep crying.  I hope, I believe, I think that all of the cancer is out of my breast.  I want to find my surgeon and give her a huge hug and tell her how much I appreciate her amazing work.

Eventually we head home and I am comforted with a incredibly special night with all of my family, my sister Alethea and Isla, my mom and dad, Julie, my kids, Travis, Travis’ kids. My kids come in with bouquets of flowers and kit kats and cards.  I can see the relief on their faces knowing that I am ok.  So many people that I love were all in my house  together, making dinner, eating together, laughing, talking; the sounds of family. I just sat there and smiled thinking that I would have many more years of those special moments.

T-415 days 9/28/12 The Day God Spoke to Me

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I have been praying to God for awhile; to put me where he wants me to be.  I have said this prayer for sometime.  Now I understand why I could never see or hear him;possibly because I like control.  Cancer is a crash course in relinquishing all control.  You have no choice.  Like a leaky faucet, drip by drip I let go of trying to control what was happening to me and gave it all up to him.

Soon after, I was driving home with my kids and heard the song Redemption.  My eyes filled with tears.  In that moment everything became vivid and the road in front of me seemed to go on forever; one hill falling after the other until it was out of sight.  In that moment I knew why I had cancer.  God put me on this path so that when I am done with this journey I will take what I have experienced and make an impact.  I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I just know that is now my destiny.

This was my last day of true despair and sadness–rather I now have comfort in trusting in him.

T-420 days 9/23/12-Why me?

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Why me?  That’s a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.  I keep thinking how it doesn’t make sense.  I finally get to a place that is peaceful and serene and boom–The C Bomb is dropped in my lap.  As if God was like “Well, Monica your great at handling challenges so here is another one for you”.  I’m not mad at God and I don’t blame him but I just don’t get it.   I walk around and look at other people who don’t eat as healthy as I do, who don’t work out as much as I do and I think how do they not have cancer???  This thought has invaded my every thought–I can’t be out in public and not look at every single person and not think it.

How do you life a healthy lifestyle for so long to avoid exactly these types of diseases and then get slapped in the face with it?  It’s as if this cancer is mocking me and all of the healthy choices I have made.  I hate you cancer!!!!!  There I said it.  I hate you and everything you are going to do to me–what you are going do to my body, my hair, my breast, my skin….I hate you for what you are going to do my kids, my family, my friends.  I really hate you.