Saturday, May 22, 2010

2nd Chemo Treatment Down

Two rounds of chemo down, and seven to go! Monday was a long day, but everything went well. Kevin took me to chemo in Corinth while Mom made her way from Alabama to help with the kids. I take Cisplatin and Adriamycin on Mondays with several other "side dishes" to prevent nausea and such. I go through periods of feeling flushed and nervous that day. I was the belle of the ball this week. I wore my new monogrammed ball cap (a birthday gift from my lil sis), my new circle and triangle earrings from the Gum Tree Festival, and took my new "chemo bag" that Joyce gave me for a birthday gift. I was like a first grader on show and tell day. Pretty silly, but fun. I hate chemo, but I love the Cancer Center in Corinth where my West Clinic Office is. It's like Cheers..where everyone knows your name...Most of the other patients there are older than me. They smile and make small talk with one another as if they were meeting for coffee at McDonald's when the rest of the world is at work on a Monday. Seeing them take their medicine makes it easier for me to take mine. This was the first time to receive my chemo through the port. I have to admit, the initial stick hurt! I don't know why, maybe I was still tender from the actual installation and swelling of it all. At the end of the day, I had the option of leaving the needle in the port, or taking it out to be stuck again on Tuesday. I opted for leaving it in. I'd rather wear my needle for the next day than endure the stick again. I was very careful to keep it hidden from Jack the Question Asker. 

By the time Kevin and I made it home from treatment, Mom was there with Luz and Jack, and everyone was happy. That is about all I remember. Mondays cause "Chemo Brain" for me. It sounds crazy if you've never experienced it, but if you have, you know it's true. If you've never witnessed another person with chemo brain, I can imagine it would be quite hilarious. Funny enough that Jack notices. Basically, it reminds me of the old commercials from the 80's.."This is your brain...This is your brain on drugs." Yep, pretty much scrambled. :) I can't remember things. I talk in circles, I give completely wrong answers to questions. Here is an example. Jack figured out how loopy I was Monday and started making up questions. I told him that the clouds were yellow. OOPS! Look out Kindergarten teacher! I'm told, since I don't remember, that he thought that was the funniest thing he'd heard and only motivated him to ask further questions. Jack has learned to find ways to spend quiet time with me when I am down and out during chemo week. He "cuddles" with me. We cuddle up in bed and talk about everything, school, stories, songs, friends, whatever. I just love to hear his little voice. It usually ends with me falling asleep and him running off to play, but I love those moments. Luz Andrea kept me company by watching Dancing with the Stars in the bedroom recliner. I was in and out of asleep most of the time, but I knew she was there. I will miss her so much when she leaves in a few weeks. 

Mom took me to chemo on Tuesday. For Jack, Tuesday is Tumblebus Day at preschool. For me, Tuesday is Taxol Day at the West Clinic. I read a little, talked with Mom and some of the other people in the chemo room. There was one lady and her mother who were both there together, as patients. I don't remember what kind of cancer the mother had, but the daughter had brain cancer removed via surgery and still had cancer in her sternum. When you are in the chemo room, it doesn't really matter what kind of cancer you have, you are a cancer fighter, enough said. The daughter asked how old I was. I told her 36. She was nice. I like that she made small talk with Mom. A new lady sat to the right of me in another big red chair. This was her first treatment. I could tell by the way Jerri, one of the nurses, was explaining everything to her. I wondered if she was scared, what her story was, etc...I decided not to comment or make small talk. I really wasn't up to it anyway.

My good friends and Bunco buddies, Rhonda and Amy, brought dinner Tuesday afternoon, chicken lasagna, salad (which Kevin loves), bread and dessert cookies. Muy delicioso! Thanks ladies! Every single bit of it is gone! Even the leftovers were fantastic. 

Jack had a tee-ball game Tuesday night. I was really looking forward to going. In the end, I just couldn't summon the energy. Mom stayed home with me, while Kevin took Luz Andrea and a friend to watch Jack play. I am so disappointed that I missed it. Apparently, Jack is starting to figure out this ball thing. He stopped a couple balls and hit pretty well. My favorite part of the story when they returned home was that Jack was rounding third base when he noticed HIS bat lying in the dirt. Instead of running home, he went straight to the bat and put it in it's place in the dugout before finishing his run home. That's my little hall monitor, always following the rules. :) Go Braves!

Wednesdays are shorter chemo days, mainly for raising my white count. Mom went home after our lunch on Wednesday. I know it's hard for her to leave me. She planted a Mother's Day plant I've been wanting to get in the ground for me. I can't wait for it to begin to climb. She took care of every thing she could think of before giving in to reality and leaving for her 3 1/2 hour trip home. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. I hate leaving Jack at school when he's had a bad morning. I love you, Mom. 

I've received several nice gifts, thoughts, prayers, emails, calls, and visits this week. The time runs together, but I'd like to thank all the support I've received from my WGU friends and coworkers. I appreciate your patience and understanding and encouragement. The DT ladies sent me a pink t-shirt just like the one they wore in the Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City last weekend...AWESOME! Thanks, Barb! One of my best friends from Prattville, Carolyn, sent a birthday care package with a summer gown, short light house coat and caps knitted by her mother. Thanks, C! They are all so soft and comfortable. Laura sent a box of fun stuff from New Mexico that have special meaning as she is a cancer survivor, herself. My neighbor, Shannon, stopped by for a visit just yesterday with a thoughtful bag of goodies. I'm chewing some of the gum right now. I especially appreciate the offer to help with Jack. I want his life to be as normal as possible right now. Watching him play in the cul-de-sac is a huge deal. Mrs. Susan, who just lost her own sister to cancer, picked up Jack to play with her grandson, Wren, yesterday. I didn't have to worry about him. Mrs. Susan spoils them both. When Kevin brought him home, he was asleep with new silly bands on his arm. My neighbor and friend, Jane, took Luz to school for me Friday morning for exams, without hesitation, even though she already carpools almost all of Garden Park. Kevin's mom, Joyce (AKA in my blog world as Grandma), checked Luz out of school and brought lunch for the three of us from Newks. The broccoli cheese soup hit just the spot on a cool rainy day. Karen brought casseroles from the church, which will be very helpful next week when Kevin is gone overnight for a couple days. Thank you so much casserole club! That's one less thing to worry about right now. Mrs. Karen, Luz's exchange student rep from ICES, picked her up for a party in Tupelo, again, not on her way. Luz was able to have a great Friday night and see another one of her international friends off. My brother's wife, BJ, came to help with the kids. She has cleaned, cooked, and played all day long. That means more to me than she'll ever understand, just knowing that the rest of the house can have some routine. Father Tom called to offer blessings, mass and Eucharist any time I'd like; and I ran into Father Henry on Wednesday who was as quiet and supportive as usual. I love his sincerity. As you can see, we are humbled and blessed by support from all over the country, from friends and family in Philadelphia and New York, to new family south of the border in Queretaro, Mexico. We fill your love, strength, and support. Thank you.

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