At a time when I couldn't possibly articulate what the past few weeks have been like- I stumbled across this video and feel it delivers, powerfully, what living with stage iv cancer feels like. It's two minutes of a poem, read by a man, with images that marry the words well.
Type, delete. Try again. These words? No. Definitely not. Try again. And again... and...
So many times the past few weeks I've sat here trying to figure out something to say. To me, there is no clear answer to how I am doing. I have figured out in a way, how to look ok when I'm in public, or with friends, visitors, etc., for short durations of time. I can muster something, from somewhere, that has a semblance of "oh, she is doing just fine."
But am I? I don't know.
I saw Dr. Panwalkar about two weeks ago. He noticed the sound of more fluid in my lungs, but not to the point of needing to drain them yet. He also said my blood counts had really bottomed out, so he was going to try something I haven't done in 6 years- ever. He wanted me to have a Neulasta shot, a week after chemo. I was told the scale they use for the bone pain you may feel from the shot, goes from "general aches in the bones"- all the way up to "bone-crushing pain." Oh my!
But, Neulasta has the power to regenerate those healthy blood cells that you need to restore your immune system and keep your counts high enough to do the next chemo treatment.
So last week, I dragged myself into the clinic for my shot. I could feel my counts were low already, after that first week of treatment. Plus, we increased my dose of Doxil. So I was chronically battling taking a deep breath. That dry, hacking, cough I had years ago when my lung tumors were growing, is back in full force. My heart races- despite the Metoprolol I take for it. Thankfully, the shot slipped into the muscle in the back of my arm, and truly was a breeze. A bit of aching, and some tenderness in the small of my back, but really, not too bad overall.
And I'm learning to just live with the constant ache in my side. Morphine takes the edge off enough, and we'll bump it up if need be- but then my already foggy head, may not really work much at all. For now? I'll just be ok with where I am. Um, mostly ok.
Because some days? I truly wonder how I'll manage whatever lies ahead. I have those days where I can just "go" and "do" and "be." Yet, other days? On Father's Day, just hours after getting out of bed- I went back. I was nauseous and hungry. I couldn't breathe, but boy could I cough. I was tired, but couldn't sleep. I was miserable. And I was mentally just done. I sent the men off for a Father's day lunch at the lake and some time for fishing. Surely, I could muster a few hours alone?
Uff da. I just couldn't, after all. Between the dog demands, and trying to find some food, and little everyday things, I was gassed- back to bed, every time. Shortly after they returned home, and I requested some food- when I couldn't even form the words to tell them what I could eat? I burst into tears... and then sobbed. And sobbed. It had been a very long time. And Superman, held me again, and let me- let go.
I had earnestly prayed on and off all day. I simply needed Him to know, I'd go if he asked. Was this what He has been leading me too? But I'd stay and live out His way for me- I just needed a little something. Anything- to help me through. I was deeply surrendered.
We were all spent that night, and tumbled into bed early. My sleep meds kicked in and I slept well.
It was the early morning sun bursting through my window that awakened me yesterday. I moved over into the recliner in our bedroom, and was struck by how my breath stayed with me. I took my meds, and moments later, also noticed my heart slowing down for the first time in a long time.
And then that smell tickled my nose. Freshly. Brewed. Coffee. It smelled wonderful for the first time in a long time! Thank you, God! I sipped and sipped, most of it, and enjoyed it. The light, that seemed to be flickering off in the distance, was starting to steady itself.
"This"- whatever you call it- "this" is exactly what I've yearned for- longed for. Just a little bit of me, returning to me.
This Thursday I will have a Pet scan at 3 pm at Roger Maris. Next Monday, I will have a Brain MRI at 2pm.
How can I pray for you? I will bring lists with me to the clinic in the hours of wait time, and sedation time I will have. Focusing on YOU, truly helps me.
My gratitude continues to fill and spill, when the distant hum of life beats at my front door.
My love and blessings to you all.
Thank you for even just showing up here!