I will have a cocktail mix of Taxotere, Adriamycin and Cytoxan which will take about an hour and a half to infuse into my IV. Before those medicines are given I will get a mix of medications infused first to help me combat side effects of these drugs. That is another half hour. I will receive 6 treatments spread out about 14-21 days apart, beginning July 1st with each treatment lasting about 2-3 hours. Due to the nature of chemo and the way it compromises the body, these treatments may stretch out farther. Treatments may be delayed if my white blood counts drop too low, if I get a cold, if I get some of the common side effects or if any of the common side effects turn serious.
I was told that my prescribed drugs will make me lose my hair and that “being sick” wasn’t inevitable. I am trying to find the upside to all this. Dr. Coffman told us that that when my hair grows back, it will be thicker and curlier than before. ..Thicker is good. Until then, I’ll be like my great Aunt Cleta..”Let me grab my wig”! (inside family memory). Another benefit to chemo, I won’t need to shave my legs for awhile! Pat S would LOVE that side effect with summer coming!
Before I begin chemo I will have a few more visits to doctors and hospitals. I meet with my radiation oncologist, Dr. “C”, on June 8th to discuss radiation treatment, when it begins and how long it will be once chemo is over. On June 17th I will go to Hillcrest hospital for a PET scan to check my entire body for any cancer that may be lurking. On June 24th I go back to Hillcrest for a MUGA scan. The MUGA scan (MUlti Gated Acquisition scan) is a test that produces a moving image of the heart. From this image, the health of my heart’s major pumping chamber (the left ventricle) can be assessed. Adriamycin, one of the drugs that will be used on me, can be toxic to the heart muscle, and can lead to heart failure. This scan is to establish a baseline on my heart, and to rule out pre-existing cardiac disease.
As if the chemo blow wasn’t enough, one of the possible after effects to surgery reared it’s ugly head this week. Lymph fluid has been building up under my arm. Because they removed 3 lymph nodes, the lymph fluid is having difficulties finding their super highway. They have yet to ask direction to the nearest node. I became so uncomfortable with the swelling and hardness under my arm that I finally called the doctor’s office. No one had told me to expect this, so I was just sure something was terribly wrong. Debbie, one of Dr. Levy’s nurses, informed me that this is not uncommon, and to come on in and they would “stick a needle in it and drain the fluid”. (Well didn’t that just sound lovely). She assured me that I should still be numb and won’t feel it. Well the good news is she was right, I didn’t feel it. The bad news is, she says this could occur again for up to six months, but I should tolerate it as long as possible before coming in again. Here’s the scoop, I was told I have to avoid blood sticks, blood pressure cuffs, bug bites, cuts, burns, and even manicures on my right side from here on out as my lymph nodes struggle to process infections in the absence of a few nodes. So sticking a needle in my armpit is not ideal. Last night I noticed the fluid is already beginning to build up again. ...Drats.
Between the news, the discomfort, and the emotional toll we’ve been taking lately, it really has been a hard week. I have been struggling to get my focus back on God and give it all to Him. Today I was finally able to pray and begin to give it to Him. I’m still working on it. I’ve been playing praise and worship songs all day on my iPod and on the house stereo. Then one of the songs spoke to me. Be Still My Soul. That is a command. Hush, settle down soul and listen to God’s promises.
Be still my soul! The Lord is on your side!
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide in every change, He faithful to remain.
Be still my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Why does it always take so long to run into my Father’s arms when I hurt, when I fear? I suffer needlessly because I don’t carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer. Be still my soul the Lord is on your side! I hate feeling sick, I’ll look horrible bald, I really fear IV needles… Be still my soul! God is on your side. “Fear not, for I am with you”. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life”? “You of little faith, why are you so afraid”?. “ I sought the Lord and He heard my voice; He delivered me from all my fears”. Be still my soul! The Lord is on your side.
Forgive me Abba Father for not running to You when I am afraid. I run and hide letting fear and doubt torture me when all the while you are calling my name to come to You. Oh Lord, hold me close. Help me to seek You quicker in the midst of this and deliver me from all my fears.
Be still my soul. Hush! The Lord is on my side.