Sunday, October 25, 2009
.... post chemo
..... feeling a little weird these days... the nausea has abated with the help of some really good meds in the form of steroids and anti-nausea. My sinuses have been annoying me for the week with the constant threat of an oncoming infection which I cannot have right now, so desperate times had Max out looking for a Neti Pot....
.... the Neti Pot looks like a tea pot which you put in warm water and dissolve a package of salt - can't read the package so let's assume it is Dead Sea Salt - in keeping with how long this item has been in our human history.... so let's throw in Miss Lydia who giggles hysterically as she watches the water being decanted from the pot into one nostril, only to find it leave just as quickly through the other. Saving the remainder of the sorted details to one's imagination and voila - nasal passages clean and surprisingly I can now breath - weird but wonderful no less!! Lydia would like to try it and we encourage her to sit it the bath - tomorrow. I can now dispense the nasal medication which will now work.... really well.
I have been feeling out of sorts all day - tired, parts of me sore and my stomach in a constant roll as if I was starving.... I feed it crackers and warm tea. I take my temperature twice a day and find that it changes from normal to a slight hint of a fever and note my face is very flushed which goes as quickly as it comes..... something tells me that it has more to do with a shift in hormones than anything else. I have been warned that if I am peri-menopausal... this might just do the trick. I am unusually weepy at the silliest things and then find myself unhappy for no known reason?? Yes, I do believe the hormones are at consequence today. The sinus headache has been a constant companion and refuses to leave but even this is not a normal headache... it seems to encompass the whole head and nothing too specific about where. It is hard to imagine all this chemo cocktail being drunk by every microscopic cell in my body and then washed out by the limitless quantities of warm water I am drinking. It might explain all my symptoms or maybe my constant attention to every little thing I am feeling. The nail beds are still a wee bit pink, having started out as a shade of light purple just after the initial chemo treatment.
I am on fever watch from day 5-14. I am to measure my temperature twice a day or when need be and any hint of a temp over 100.4 is an emergency and I must be seen immediately... this is a critical time in the cycle of chemo because it is the time when the immune system is most depressed.... hence the reason for my neulasta shot. I am able to go out but with a multitude of restrictions. We are now in full swine flu season and apparently in the second wave of it - I know that it has traipsed through my work place and so I have to keep my visitors from work at bay until I get through the danger zone. Max has just taken William to the hospital with a high temperature and I am nervous. We can't keep out all of the germs from our house but have managed to train the kids to use the hand washing station (sanitizer) on the kitchen counter when they go by. We are being as careful as possible but what can you do when you have children who attend school - I am now very aware to not send my children to school when they are not feeling well.... you just never know if they have a classmate who's mother is in the same predicament!! Stay home if you are ill...... the heroics will not be appreciated by those around you when they bring it home to their family.
I have felt like being in some weird dream where you are completely disconnected from everything around you... tired like nothing I have ever experienced and all I can do is lay in bed and watch Miss Lydia flit around talking to me as she displays all her stuffies at the end of it. She has her medical cart beside me and has already made sure that my blood pressure is just right after attempting to hammer the plastic needle into my neck or other inconvenient locations but ones she can access readily!! She is happy as she reads to me and pets my face. She looks into my eyes with her beautiful baby blues and lets me know that she does not want me to die and that she is sorry that I do not feel well.... no sooner said and she is off looking for our favorite book. 'Glad Monster, Sad Monster' is a book I bought for William when he was just really little and my first marriage had fallen apart - he was 2 and terribly confused and I needed a way to get him to share his feelings... albeit a little fellow, he seemed to gravitate to this book after a while, open the page to the feeling he had at the time and make a broad announcement that he was sad, or happy, or loving..... This book now sits in Lydia's hands and we go through the whole book with her giving her own expressions of happy, sad, loving, silly, angry and scared. The book is set into three panels for each with the third one being the monsters face which you place over yours... et voila! Some of the noses on these masks have long since disappeared but not the incredible power it has to provoke some hard feelings and realities. I am slowly teaching Max that yes, Lydia is young but she is also aware that her mother is fighting cancer and we cannot promise her that I will be around for a very long time - he wants to save her from pain but at the cost of losing trust - just not worth it. I tell her that I will do my very best and that I love her.
Max and I take a walk on Sunday to the corner store which is closed... the day is warm and sunny and it feels good to be walking. Lydia has brought her baby stroller with her and runs full tilt ahead of us with her coat tails flapping behind her. I am happy to see that she is not hovering near us - that would be a clear indication of how insecure she might be feeling. Max is walking hand-in-hand with me as we head back home, Lydia now disappointed that the store is not open but with the energy of a Puma, she takes off full tilt down the sidewalk. Max calls her back but she doesn't hear him.... I ask him not to. She is old enough now to know how to stop at the corner and how to cross the road by herself - she is independent and full of life and she is my little girl..... I start to weep and am grateful for the sunglasses I am wearing and the shawl draped over my head to keep it warm. I think fleetingly about her growing up without me and me missing out on all her really great life moments and suddenly find myself overcome with dread. I sweep away the bad thought as quickly as it comes - Max is holding my hand still and says little.... it is a moment in our lives that passes but not without note. The hormones are definitely out of whack - I belong here with my family and I am sure not done living my life by any means.... so the cancer can just shove off!!
Lydia sat in the bath tonight and used the Neti pot.... giggles aside, she got the job done!! Now maybe she won't get the cold going through our house these days. We did homework together and I put her to bed... she wants to cuddle and some nights will sleep with me until Dad comes to bed. Tonight I am not feeling well and need to go to bed early.
It is Monday 26th October....
I am awake and not wanting to be... the fatigue is pulling at every muscle but I am not able to breathe and a cough has started up. My stomach takes another roll and I address its needs first as a wave of nausea hits me. Crackers are down, I am better but still can't breathe that great. It's time to head downstairs to make a cup of tea and leave Max to sleep... I try not to wake him up but he is a light sleeper and rolls over to ask if I am OK - standard response - 'yah, I'm good' as I head down pulling a jean shirt on for comfort. The cat comes to cuddle with me while I wait for the tea to steep.... he has been a constant companion for days along with the dog, who until this morning, refused to leave my side other than to feed or go out. The cat is snuggled in so tight curling between my arms as I type... his purring relaxes me - one of many happy moments through this journey. I appreciate and pay closer attention to things I took for granted not too long ago. I love reading status reports and seeing pictures on facebook which allows me a feeling of still being connected. I put up a pink ribbon on my profile pic last night and really announced to the world that I am fighting a battle. As outward as I may be... it was difficult to finally post it visually..... now everyone knows. It is not something to be shameful of but it is a weakness, a chink in my armor.... I am strong but I am also a woman, a mother and sometimes a little girl and all of these facets of my being are put to the test. I will not be the same person that I was going into this battle... I will be better!!
Thank you to Mary M. who took the time out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to drop off some yummy banana muffins and to Shelly and Paul for the lovely stew last night. I want to thank all of my friends who have left notes of encouragement and praise on my facebook and who continue to support me through my journey. I am inspired by the kindness and love shown to me and would like to send it back in kind - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Thanks to facebook and their creators for a wonderful tool in communication. xoxox