I have been thinking about what to say in this post all day. I wanted to be all creative and write a poem, but that is just not my thing. My mom could probably knock a ‘Twas the Night Before Chemo” poem out in a matter of minutes, but that skill she did not pass down to me.
I will just tell you how I’m preparing for tomorrow. I was prescribed five prescriptions to help me through this part of the journey. I picked all of them up along with some over-the counter things that will also aid in making chemo less awful. The doctor has prepared me as best as she possibly can. She warned of nauseas, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, and bone pain. I was given three medications to ward off the nausea. One medication for the bone pain. The last is a cream that I will apply just prior to leaving for chemo. It is to numb the skin where my port is so that them accessing my port won’t hurt. So much research has been done to limit the side effects of chemo and my prayer is that these medications allow me to live life as normal as possible over the next five months.
Many have asked me about how susceptible I will be to infection and the great news is that this is not a big concern to Dr. K. There is a new medication, Neulasta, that I will be given. It is an injection that will auto-inject 24 hours after the chemo treatment. This injection will stimulate my bone marrow to produce more marrow keeping my white blood count from dropping. When I first found out I would need chemo, this issue was my largest concern. Having two kids at home, germs are everywhere. With COVID my anxiety was high. This little injection will keep me, hopefully, healthy and able to continue to do things that we as a family enjoy. The injection does come with a possible down side. Because it is stimulating bone marrow production, there will be bone pain. Research has been done recently that and has shown that taking Claritin helps counter the pain. I was shocked and interested in why a medication for allergies had this effect, but she said it has been shown to have great success in lowering the amount of pain felt in the first few days after the injection. Since it is October, I see no bad that could come from taking Claritin, chemo or not, so that is my plan. She said I only need it the first few days post injection, but I will probably take it throughout the cold and flu season to prevent normal allergies.
I questioned what would happen if I did come down with something like flu or strep and she said we would treat it like any other person. I was not at a greater risk for complications. That was a relief.
Other mediations I have gotten over the counter in preparation is a stool softener to help with the constipation. Dr. K said that most patients have constipation for the first few days and then it turns to diarrhea so I have medication for that as well.
Protein and probiotics are also important to maintaining proper nutrients. I have gotten some protein shakes and probiotic drinks for those times I may not feel like eating.
Staying hydrated is another very important aspect. The help move the chemo through my system I will need to drink a significant amount of fluids the first few days after the treatment. I was told to attempt to drink two to four liters a day for the first three to four days. I have stocked up on Gatorade to drink in addition to water.
I have a bag full of things to keep my occupied during the infusion. They told me to expect about three and a half hours for the first treatment. I will have books and my iPad to keep me company. Unfortunately, at this time Chris is not able to be in the treatment room with me. He has taken the day off and will be playing with the boys while mommy does her thing. I am scheduled to be there at 9:30. I will start with seeing Dr. K. Then I will have blood work done to make sure my body is ready to begin treatment. I will then be taken to the treatment area to begin the chemo.
Everyone keeps asking me if i’m ready. The answer is, yes. I’m as ready as I can be, but there is so much unknown. Every person reacts differently. That fear of the unknown is causing me anxiety. What I keep telling myself and others is that this is just a small bump in the road. Sure, I have to do chemo for four months, but the end result is hopefully many, many more years with my family. It is a fight worth fighting. I know that God already knows how this chapter ends. I am putting my trust in Him. I know that He will guide the hands of my doctors. He will give them the knowledge they need to treat and eliminate completely the cancer.
I was looking around Amazon the other night for cute shirts and headgear. I had an idea for a shirt, bracelet, whatever you can put it on and I might have to have some stuff made. Since this adventure started I have been saying “My God is bigger than any cancer”. There are many shirts that say that, but how cool would it be to simply say “God > Cancer”! Maybe that shows how geeky I am, but I love that. It is simple and would hopefully spark questions where I could share my testimony!
I want to say, again, thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I do this for me to get my thoughts out there, but also to spread awareness and take away fears of those who may be starting this journey or going through it along with me. With every step I have had a million thoughts and questions and my hope is that through this blog I can help answer those questions for others and ease the fears of what is to come for them.
With October being breast cancer awareness month, I would love for all of you to join me tomorrow and my other treatment days wearing pink to help spread awareness! God is bigger than all of this and with Him and all of you I will make it through!