Day 2, Chemo round 2, started out a little low key. As I slowly ambled into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door, I discovered the mere thought of eating my usual emulsified flax seed oil and cottage cheese mixture (the Budwig Protocol), for breakfast held no appeal for me. I was feeling a mite queasy, but, I just shrugged it off, and opted for a slice of toast with a little butter and jam. In hindsight, later in the day, I realized shrugging off nausea, is a huge mistake. I was determined to take my dog for a long walk, so hubby and I leashed up our two beasts and made it all the way to the end of our road and back. Whoopee, 3,000 steps, 1 1/2 miles. on my Fitbit app. We do the walk twice a day. I pushed myself to do the walk in the morning, even though I knew I shouldn’t, but, I was pleased with myself for completing it. In my family, you never give up, and you fight till you can’t stand anymore. That’s always been our way. When I feel like giving up, I can hear my brother Jerry telling me, “Come on girl, don’t be a wimp.” Lord, how I wish he were still alive and here with me. I miss him so much!
I was doing okay when I went off, though very reluctantly, to get my Neulasta injection at the Cancer Center. That job done, I went off to have a coffee with my best friend. We had a lovely visit and I was feeling pretty good, so when I passed by my favorite garden center, I could not stop myself from turning the wheel into the parking lot. The aisles under the arbors were filled with all manner of colorful blooms that drew me in like a magnet. Every kind of living, growing thing in that garden spot was like a healing tonic for me. I’m a nature lover and a gardener. Whether I’m planting, or weeding, or pruning, I feel as if I’m doing God’s work, cooperating with creation by making the world a more beautiful place. I was in my element, enjoying every minute and thanking God for this lovely respite where I could forget about my cancer and embrace the beauty that surrounded me. Of course, I went home with a truckload of flowers and shrubs that would need planting soon. But, no worries, I could do it, this was going to be my good week. Well, at least that is what the doctor implied when I asked him how the second chemo week goes. Perhaps, he didn’t want to scare me by telling me the truth?
After I got home I felt so energetic, I fertilized all my outdoor potted plants, took my dog for another walk, then went inside and fixed myself a simple salad for supper. It wasn’t until I finally sat down to watch a little TV around 9 p.m., after folding clothes and changing the sheets on my bed that I began to feel the beginnings of what I thought might be nausea. Nausea is not something I’m very familiar with, since before chemo I had rarely experienced it, so I wasn’t really sure if it was Neulasta pain in my ribs, or just plain old indigestion. But, as it progressively got worse, I thought to myself, “Yes, I’m nauseous, really nauseous.” It seems silly that it took me so long to figure out what was the matter with me, but, I tend to live in denial about my chemo symptoms. Then, I remembered that the chemo nurse told me to keep on top of nausea by taking my nausea meds at the first sign of it, otherwise, it would be more difficult to get rid of it. Turns out she was right, I waited too long.
Day 3, of Chemo round 2, and the nausea meds are keeping me from throwing up – that’s about it. It feels as if there is a horrible lump in my chest that hurts and burns all the time. So, I’m still nauseous, food turns me off – big time. It’s a fight, but, I force myself to eat a little of some things, even though everything tastes horrible, and I mean horrible. Each thing I do takes a huge amount of energy that I don’t have, but, I fight. I fight to keep walking because I don’t want to lose muscle, I fight to eat because I need to be strong to fight the cancer, I must drink to keep myself hydrated, I force myself to keep the flowers watered, and the bird feeders filled, and the house clean and the dishes washed and the clothes washed and folded because that is what I do – and I refuse to let cancer take what I do away from me. Well, until today that’s been the case, but today, I think I’m going to have to say, “uncle.” “Okay, big bad chemo,” I admitted, “you win, you won the day!”
Thinking a nice hot shower might help, I stepped into the steaming heat letting it do seep into my bones. Leaning against the wall of the shower, feeling so ill, tired, and defeated, I said to Jesus, “I don’t know how much longer I can fight this battle; how in the world will I get through another four-six rounds of Chemo, Lord.” There was no answer. “Lord,” I said to him, “While reading the scriptures today I know you spoke to me, but I can’t remember one thing you said.” Still no answer. I thought about what I could do different and didn’t really know where to start. When I sit around, it just makes me focus on how bad I feel. But, when I do too much, I’m not sure that is really helping either, though it does take my mind off the nausea and pain, which seems to lessen their effects. It’s a dilemma for sure. There is no NOT getting chemo, so I have to be in it to win it. I am in it to win it! Tomorrow is another day and I’m praying for a much better one.
After my shower, I sat down to unload my distress in this blog post when, out of the blue, one of my spiritual friends from our group text sent me a text asking me how I was doing. Then a few of the others chimed in with such love, compassion, wonderful scriptures, good advice, and sweet emojis. God did answer me! He showed His love for me through others, He spoke through them, and comforted and consoled me as He always does. Through those friends who listened to His promptings to reach out to me, God answered my prayer. I was so thankful to God and so grateful for these faith-filled friends. I no longer felt so alone in this battle.
I feel sorry for my poor husband who I know becomes upset when he sees me struggling and I won’t let him help me. At the end of the night I went into the TV room and told him, “Honey, I just feel like crying, so I am going to.” And, he consoled me a bit without interfering and let me have a good cry. I felt better after that. Sometimes, when so much gets you down, a good cry can be very beneficial.
During the night, I don’t sleep well, getting up every one or two hours, I’m always in sort of a semi-sleep. Around 4 in the morning, I woke up to a refrain from a song playing in my mind over and over. It’s a song I really love to sing and the verse is “I am not alone, I am not alone, you will go before me, you will never leave me,” – those words, spoken to me, were another gift from our Lord for sure, assuring me that He would never leave me. Jesus is always by my side, even when I am too fogged in by woes or fears or pain to feel His presence there. The song is by Kari Jobe, “I Am Not Alone.”
Day 4, of Chemo round 2, feeling a little better today, not great, but better. It is blood lab day, so off hubby and I went to my most unpopular place, to let them drain my blood. And, darn it if I didn’t get, I’m sorry to have to say this, the most unskilled blood draw-er in the place. She is the only one who has to stick me 2-4 times to find a vein. Uugghh! My husband just grinned at me when she came out of the door and called my name: I glared at him and made a face. But, I resignedly followed her into the lab. Whoo Hoo only 2 sticks to get it right today! Passing the flower store again, I convinced hubby to buy me 6 more fruit trees, even though he knew he would be the one having to plant them. We shopped a bit and visited with my son and was gone most of the day and it was okay. I made sure to take my nausea meds along they way and they were helping a little better. Being out and about is much better than staying home thinking about how miserable I am. I even met another cancer patient, a neighbor, who lived near my son’s house and we swapped information and she was very knowledgeable, giving me a lot of information I was not aware of.
All and all, I survived these four days with only one melt down. I think that is doing pretty good; 3 days won for Zoey, 1 days win for Chemo!