...what I've learned so far.
I have breast cancer. I was going to be a model patient and handle this with grace and dignity. But why lie about it? If my "real" journey can help someone else to feel they aren't going crazy, then I am all for that. The cancer is not so bad. It didn't hurt me physically until it was time to do something to get rid of it. Surgery, hard. Recovery, not a lot of fun, I mean really, 6 weeks wearing a bra constantly?? Gets a little old. Chemo? Yeah, I was going to breeze through this treatment like it was nothing. I was going to rejoice in all my bald beauty. ha The sad truth, this SUCKS! And I am not even a full week into it.
I try to stay positive and I know in the end all will be as it should, but there is no breezing through chemotherapy. I've spent more than my fair share of time huddled in as close to the fetal position as I can get, just crying from the pain. I've had nausea, a bright red face for days on end, severe joint pain, exhaustion beyond measure, diarrhea which led to hemorrhoids, weird little rashes breaking out all over my body and a white pasty film all over my mouth that feels gross, tastes gross and is just plain gross. I have sores in my mouth and it hurts terribly to swallow, and Sunday night I ended up in the emergency room with a fever and severe pain. Turns out it was probably just the chemo effects, but they told me to go so I did. I felt really foolish the next day when I went in for the advised follow up at my oncologist only to have the PA say, so why are you here? He didn't even look at my file before walking through the door. He thinks I am crazy, or a big baby, but it turns out when you tell me warning signs, I am good at paying attention and reporting on them. And when your oncologist tells you to get to the ER, you don't ask why, you just go. My ER doc said it was something that could go bad real fast. Not the kind of news you want to hear, but at least it seemed like he took me seriously.
Tomorrow is my NADIR day. I get to go in and find out just how low my white blood cell count has become. It should be at its lowest and this will tell us whether I need another fun treatment called Neulasta. I am concerned that what I am experiencing is something more than chemo effects, because I am not sure how a low white cell count will affect me fighting off an infection. But we will take that step as needed. And I suppose if the oncologist office isn't concerned, maybe I shouldn't be either. Except, I am!
I don't want to whine the whole post away, so I will share some good news. My sister Megan and my mom are coming to visit me this weekend! Yay! I am so excited! My little family and I have done well muddling through the past few months, but it has taken a toll on my kiddos. It will be wonderful for them to get some good solid family time and to feel much needed love from grandma and auntie Megan! And it will be so good for me to see my sweet extended family! I need to get rested up so I can enjoy every second!
That We Might Have Joy: Jennifer's Story
1 week ago