In the Final Month!

When I was diagnosed in August the end of treatment seemed so far away. It felt like it would never arrive. Surprisingly, the past seven months have gone quick. I believe the countless appointments kept our schedule busy and I slept a majority of the time on chemo. It probably felt faster for me than those around me caring for me.

May is the month my active treatment finally comes to an end! On Friday I completed radiation 12 of 28. We are almost halfway done. As of now there are no side effects and for that I am grateful!

The effects are chemo are starting to subside. I am still battling neuropathy which has actually worsened over the last two weeks. I pray we are in that, it will get worse before it gets better, stage. Praying it starts to subside as it has become more uncomfortable. My taste has pretty much returned. Yay! My hair is growing (on most spots). My energy level is good and I feel great. God is so good!

I know it’s been a while since I updated so I wanted to share my life over the last few weeks. My days are busy working two part-time jobs, daily radiation appointments, karate and baseball with Isaac, and Eli just being Eli. There are not enough hours in the day, but life is wonderful and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

Below are a few pictures of how it’s all been going.

Eli doing his silly thing
Isaac doing his baseball thing!
Still no hair on the right side of my head! So weird!
Coming in good on the sides and back!

A New Me

I am writing this eight days since my last chemo. I have not felt this well in months! There are still some lingering side effects. I do still struggle with neuropathy in my fingers, but it does seem to be improving. I’m hopeful it will eventually go away completely. There is still some loss of taste, but I’m thrilled to report that is slowly returning as well. Fatigue is still a struggle, but I’m not sure how much that is chemo related and how much it is because I’ve basically done nothing since September and have no stamina. As Eli gets bigger I find it hard to hold him for more than a few minutes because my arms are weak. Walking wears me out. I naturally like to run everywhere I go and I get winded and have to stop to catch my breath. That too should improve with time and movement! Building up muscle tone will also take time. Who wants to lift weights with me? No one, okay I understand!

I wanted to share a fun text I got yesterday. A dear friend and I had been texting back and forth and then she said, “Guess what today is!” My first thought was that it was April Fool’s Day and wondering how she had pranked me…I replied with, “April Fool’s Day.” While I waited for the gotcha moment…She quickly replied, “No, it’s Thursday and you have no chemo!!” I absolutely love how so many close to me jumped on this rollercoaster and have taken the ride alongside me. She was celebrating with me as many of you have. It sure makes a girl feel special! And as a side note, I don’t think I even wore pink! I’m giving other colors a chance.

Instead of having chemo, I went for a radiation mapping appointment and I will do a separate post on that. I then went to work and had a great afternoon. We were made aware of a “Future Raiders” baseball game at the high school and I wanted to take Isaac, but I wasn’t sure how tired I would be after a full day. I was feeling okay so I cooked dinner and proposed going to the game to the family. We hadn’t done anything like this in a while because of me and COVID, but we decided to go. I am so glad we did! I can say I would much rather be outside enjoying a perfect Texas night spending time with my family than asleep in bed feeling horrible after chemo! I was still not that tired after returning home and enjoyed relaxing with Chris and watching pointless YouTube videos. It was such a huge difference from the 12 previous Thursdays.

I titles this post “A New Me” because it is truly how I feel. I am settling into my new jobs. Yes, jobs. Both are going great and God is doing some amazing things. I never intended to go back to work full-time, but these two part-time jobs will keep me good and busy during the days. It has felt so good having something to do and feeling productive.

This week has felt…normal. I know that thanks to 2020 it’s a new normal, but it’s the most normal I have felt in a year. I am working. I am attending baseball practices with Isaac. We are going to watch baseball as a family. Six months ago I wasn’t sure those things would ever happen for me. There was so much uncertainty as to if I would be around to do those things.

While my fight isn’t over, the hard part is done. Surgery and chemo are behind me and by mid-May I will be done with daily/weekly doctor visits.

To quote the lyrics of one of my go-to songs, The Father’s House, “My story isn’t over, my story’s just begun” I cannot wait to see the chapters God is going to write for me!

Isaac taking in his first “real game”

What a week!

This week has been one of the best in many months. I have a lot to share and a bad habit of rambling so I will try to make this a comfortable length to prevent reader fatigue Ha!

A little back story, I have gone back to work. A few weeks ago I went back to my comfort zone and started doing transcription again. It wasn’t something I ever intended to go back to, but it worked for my schedule, chemo side effects, and childcare purposes. It’s been going okay, just slow at the start which is to be expected. I am only working part-time as to know get burned out again!

Then an opportunity arose that I was not expecting. I became aware of a position at our church and decided to step out of my comfort zone and show interest in the position. Taking a position that I consider a stepping stone to my dreams. I accepted a part-time position working alongside a lady I dearly love and who is easily in the “my person category”. I have no doubt that this job will be incredible as the team I get to work with is beyond good at what they do. I am blessed to be able to be a part of growing the Kingdom and pouring love and truth into the children at our church. I am officially the assistant to our children’s pastor! To the person leaving the position and giving me this opportunity, I am so sad to see you go and I pray I can do this job as well as you have for nearly a decade!

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, today was MY LAST CHEMO. When I started back at the first of October, March seemed so far away. There were times I didn’t think I would make it. I felt horrible. I got depressed. I was on a rollercoaster ride with no end in sight. But God and many people got me to today.

The day started as always, with blood work. I had been so tired from working the past two days I crashed hard last night and completely forgot to take my night before steroids. Woke up this morning late and ran out the door without taking it…realized on the way to the clinic. Thankfully I was scheduled to see my medical oncologist after my labs were drawn so I informed her and she wasn’t concerned. Whew! I hadn’t messed up to the point of having to reschedule! I was also concerned that mu extreme fatigue might indicate low blood counts…Please no! I wanted to get this treatment over with!

My lab work came back as well as can be expected after 15 total rounds of chemo. I was given the green light to proceed with the last infusion! We discussed how I was doing. The neuropathy has increased the last few weeks and I pray it resolves quickly once treatment is complete. I have been dealing with allergy issues and drainage (Who in Texas hasn’t). Out of an abundance of caution and to make sure I am healthy before radiation begins, the doctor called in a prescription to clear up the sinus issues. With that, I was wished good luck and sent to the infusion waiting area. Below is a picture of me in the doctor’s office showing off my last day of chemo outfit. The shirt was made by a friend, Nikki. Thank you! I got so many compliments. The tiara was an amazon find. Chris questioned why I needed a tiara and I said because I do. That was the end of the discussion! Ha!

Of course the shirt needed bling! Glitter is my second favorite color. (Pink is tops!)
The tiara…and hair!

There was a slight hiccup once in the infusion room. When you are using a port for treatment they like to see a slight blood return before they start infusion. This shows them the port is operating and in the vein properly. For the last few weeks my port has been giving us problems and not showing any blood return. Because I could taste the saline as it was being ran through to flush the port, we proceeded. Today, my nurse was not comfortable doing that so After trying several different positions with no luck, we had to resort to a medication they call TPA. It sits in the port for at least 30 minutes in an effort to break up any clots or blockages and to open the port up. He said sometimes it can take up to two hours. I was already planning to be there for two and a half hours. I was not looking forward to adding two more hours. If unsuccessful after two hours, my treatment would need to be postponed while images were scheduled to check the function of my port. So not cool on the day of my last treatment! Thankfully, after 30 minutes he came back to check on me and the port operated perfectly! we were ready to begin!

Before anything was started, the nurse came out with a sign to hang on my IV to show it was my last day!

Everyone who saw it commented and congratulated me. It was fun!

We then went through the normal process of a bag of fluids, two pre-meds, and the chemo. I attempted to watch Hulu during this time but the Wifi just would not cooperate. I took a nap instead.

Before I knew it, the nurse was bringing out a bell and unhooking me from the IV. I got emotional realizing it was done! 16 rounds of chemo over 6 months….DONE!

The bell and my T-Shirt (A gift from Texas Oncology)

Everyone in the room cheered. Everyone in the room knew the joy I was feeling and shared that moment with me. It was such an incredible feeling!

I gathered my things and headed out to celebrate with Chris and Eli who were outside in the car eager to pick me up. When Isaac got home from school I got a famous Isaac hug and we celebrated together. That boy sure is sweet! He may have been more excited than I was!

As if my day/week hadn’t been fantastic enough, we had dinner plans….with my brother and sister-in-law. I really hate that title. Let me fix that. We had dinner plans with my brother and sister! It has been February of 2020 since we’d seen each other and I was beyond excited to get to visit! They picked up dinner and met us at one of our favorite parks. We got lost in conversation and before we knew it the sun had set and the mosquitos were biting. It was time to say our farewells. We hugged (Sorry not sorry. I needed hugs!). And got in our cars to head spectate directions. It was then I realized I had not taken a single picture! My mother would be sad! So I jumped out and ran to their car. They agreed we had to digitally document the evening so we took a few pics. Thanks so much Jon and Gina for coming to celebrate with us today. It meant so much!!!

I will end this post with those pictures. Stay tuned for the next steps of my treatment plan and some other posts along the way.

And never forget that God >……Than Any Battle!

Pics in the headlights….sunglasses still on my face….so happy!
Why didn’t someone (Chris) tell me about the sunglasses?!?😎