Monday, April 28, 2014

"Neulasta, how I love/loathe you."

Wow, my last entry was a little dark. Let's change gears and poke fun at Neulasta, shall we?
"Pegfilgrastim (Neulasta) treatment can be used to stimulate bone marrow to produce more neutrophils to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy." ~Wikipedia
Neulasta is a shot that my chemo nurse gives to me in my stomach the Saturday after each treatment. It doesn't hurt, the actual shot part. It's the afterwards that is super unfun. Basically, Neulasta forces my bone marrow to make white blood cells so that my immune system can fight infection. I've decided, after 9 of these injections, that my bone marrow doesn't like being told what to do.
Possible side effects ... there are two listed. One is bone or muscle pain. The other is injection site reaction. I've never had the latter side effect. But the first, oh geez. My back, like my spine bones, just aches. My hips and shoulder bones ache, too. My eyeball bone holes (occipital bones) hurt so badly when I yawn. Yes, my bones ache. And the best part of these bi-weekly shots? The $9200 bill that accompanies them.
But ... really, I'm grateful to be able to receive Neulasta. If I wasn't able to have them, I'd probably be infection-ridden and not at the very end of my treatments. So I will gladly lift my blouse two more times so I can finish my chemo like a champ.

Carry on,

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Nine down, three to go."

My treatments are getting harder. My prayers are getting longer. My "good" time has transitioned from days to hours. My legs are covered in bruises. My skin in gray. My hair is gone. My weight is nearing "wedding day" numbers. My smile is underused, my laugh nearly non-existent. My spirit is being tested like never before.

Dear God,
Make me a bird ... so I can fly far. Far far away from here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

"My mom, my angel."

My mom is my angel on earth. It's so hard to verbally express the appreciation I have for the sacrifices she has made for me. She has changed her normal life-style to take me to my cancer treatments and she hasn't ever once complained. And when I complain, she's quick to point out how good I'm doing, how far I've come, and the progress I've made. I hope to be half the mother she is. I seriously couldn't do any of this without her. She's an angel and one of my best friends. I love her! (And my poppa, too!)

Always with me, by my side.

Carry on,

This song is about my mom ... 

"Eight down, four to go. I hope I make it!"

My last treatment was a dooooozy! I'm serious, a real gut-wrencher. Merle was brutal this last treatment, burning all my fingers and both my feet, making my nose bleed relentlessly ... he's mad at me for something, I don't know. And then Saturday, I tried to shake things up by not getting Aloxi and fluids but instead ingesting a bunch of under-cooked Chinese take-out. I've never thrown up as much or as violently as I did the days following this last treatment.
All that puking landed my sorry self in the hospital again. Joy rapture. I was able to talk my super nice nurse into letting me actually sleep, so that was nice. AND I only had to stay one day. Another nice point to make, yes?
The fluids I received in the hospital helped the innard-purging to stop, but I was still so sick for days after.
In fact, today is the first day I feel even semi-well. I went out with the hub. We went for a drive and bought my daughter a car. It was a nice day, aside from looking like Gollum and getting winded like I was 90 years old walking from the car to sidewalk.
Last Tuesday was my worst day to date. I actually prayed for death. I've done this before ... one time, and I don't think that time I really meant it. Tuesday was a different story. I've been so emotionally worn out, physically worn out, sick of being sick, etc. Laying there, needing a shower, needing to feel okay to get up, needing to be able to open my eyes, I had had enough. I prayed to my Heavenly Father to make it all stop, to give me peace ... and he did.
My phone rang and I actually heard it. It was K, my go-to nurse at my oncologist's office. I cried instantly when I heard her voice and she talked me through what I needed to do to get some relief. Believe me, whatever this woman tells me to do, I do it. She hasn't once told me to do something that hasn't worked. So, Wednesday I followed her instructions to a tee, and sure enough, I started to feel better. Thursday night was even better, and today even better than that.
K has become a third mom to me. I struggle to call my mom on days when I'm super sick, or my mother-in-law, for that matter. My mom is with me during every single treatment and it's wearing on her. She's with me when I'm in the ER and admitted to the hospital. All of my medical adventures are so taxing on her, I just can't bear to call her during our "good days" in between treatments.
And my mother-in-law has just finished treatment for breast cancer, just finished as in her hair is still growing in. I don't want to burden her because I worry that it might bring back memories of her struggles during treatment and she has a scan scheduled this week.
So, K was my saving grace on this particular day. I'm so so grateful that she called. She is knowledgeable and compassionate and what she says is the truth. Right before we hung up, she said, "You're so close. You can do it."
I hope I can, K. I really hope I make it!

Carry on,

My current hair style. ;)