I have an amazing friend who had the opportunity to blaze this trail before me. I say opportunity because when you get the chance to visit with her about her journey, one thing stands out. It isn't how horrible she felt with all the chemicals assaulting her body, or how completely exhausted the treatments left her feeling. It wasn't how she felt about losing her hair or the trauma of losing both breasts to a double mastectomy. What you hear in her voice is Joy and the incredible way God became even more alive in her life. You can hear how he walked along side her when she made her way through the valley of the shadow of death. She allowed this experience to strengthen her and transform her into a new and even more beautiful person. She is graciously sharing her experiences with me even though they bring back memories of hard times. She warns me of the difficult days to come and the reality of the side effects. But even more importantly she has challenged me to grab hold of this season of my life with both hands and live it, knowing it will change me and stretch me beyond my comfort zones but ultimately for the better.
I tell you this about my friend because I am so grateful for her and the way she has prepped me for all that may be coming my way. She processes things the same way I do and so her insight has been invaluable to me especially this week as the time to start chemo approaches.
Tuesday I had the echo cardiogram which was very uneventful. In fact, she said I had the healthiest heart she had seen all day. Not bad for a cancer chick.
Wednesday I had the group teaching time. While I was there I met a woman that will be going through chemo at the same time as I will. We hit it off almost instantly. We are planning to stay in close contact and encourage each other through this maze of tubing and drugs. It will be nice to share this crazy reality with someone. It was just one more evidence of Gods provision. She has her port surgery on Monday so I would love your prayers for her.
This teaching time was where it all started feeling real. Gavin was with me for my personal appointment. They inform you of all the potential side effects and how to prevent things and how to treat things. Wow! Okay so here we go. No worries! We set my chemo and shot schedule here. Somehow scheduling a day and a time kinda cemented the reality of this for me. So Monday is the first day of chemo. The infusion will take approximately 2 hours. I am nervous just not knowing how my body will respond but am ready to get it going. After chemo, there are shots the following day and then weekly blood tests. Apparently you lose your brain to the chemo fog and bless their hearts in order to help you remember all of their names, they keep you coming back for more and more and more!
The port surgery was Thursday and I am now bionic! Compared to the lumpectomy, this was really not so bad. My surgeon wanted to check on the infection in my arm and couldn't get to it with all the blankets piled up and the lovely gown they have you wear. I said your the surgeon, grab a knife! He chuckled. I just reminded him that I hadn't been sedated yet so I still had my sense of humor. The anesthesiologist quickly put an end to that. Just a quick little stick into the IV and I was off the stage. It is tender now and feels funny to have a hard thing under your skin. It wouldn't be so bad if it lit up like Iron Man's does but alas, not even a hint of a glow. I think I got gipped. In the long run, this port will be a huge benefit as it will allow them access to my veins for both infusions as well as the blood draws.
So It begins. I am told the hair loss will come within 7-10 days. For me this means the hair must go in 6-9. At the first hint of it going, the clippers come out. Stay tuned. There will be photos and chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate!