Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

I will begin with an excerpt from an email that I received from a dear friend, who while is many miles away always seems to sound like he is right there with us. His advice was timely and as always came at the most needed time.

"When I'm in a running race, and experiencing a world of hurt.. sometimes you have to take your eyes off the finish line, which can seem discouragingly far away. 

If you cast your eyes closer to the ground in front of you, and just keep focused on the next step-- before you know it, you have made a whole lot of progress" K.B

The past few days this is the image that I have needed to draw upon. Day 6 Post-chemo and I have seen my share of the good, the bad and the ugly. Despite my cheery blog posts, there have been moments of darkness where sometimes you wonder how you are going to make it through the next six months. Then you cast your eyes to the ground and focus on the next day. 
The Good. I am spending a tremendous amount of time sleeping, 3-4 hour naps and 11-12 hour sleeps at night. Not unbroken sleep, lots of tossing and turning, medications, trying to find a comfortable spot but sleep. Something that has alluded me over the past two months, searching for my diagnosis.  I am listening to my body and sleeping when I feel the need to. The luxury of having days laid out ahead of you with only yourself to focus on healing gives me the time I need to rest. 

The Good. The ability to stay in contact with so many of my loved ones through computer and phone is like a lifeline to me when I am having a moment of weakness. Thank you for being there for me to reach out to.

The Bad. The fatigue and lack of energy, I liken it to having the flu - all the time. Simple tasks seem to large scale and difficult to manage. But I drag myself to the end of the task. A promise I made to myself is to get up, have a shower every day, get myself ready to face the world, dressed in real clothes, I find I feel so much better when I do this one simple thing. I find the sunshine and make sure I stay there.

The Ugly. Mouthsores and sore gums. My biggest struggle the past few days has been an incredibly sore mouth. This is a common side effect. I was told if this happens to call the Triage Line at the Cancer Centre. Once again, incredible care and instant help. There is a Magic Mouthwash. This is actually what it is called on the label. It is a compounded concoction that only certain pharmacies can create. The nurse figured out the closest pharmacy to where we live and called it in, they even deliver! It has been a godsend and turned the ugly into something very manageable. Thank you god.

I hope and pray that the side effects lessen in their strength and virility over the next few days. I have my next Chemotherapy treatment next Friday, May 2. My itinerary for the day includes bloodwork, meeting with the pharmacist, wait for bloodwork results and then finally treatment. A four hour process. This coming Friday I will be having a MUGA scan at Grand River. This test measures the strength of my heart and how it pumps blood. A 2 hour process that I hope goes smoothly. Apparently one of the chemo drugs is incredibly taxing on your heart so they need to establish a baseline so that they can make sure it isn't damaging my heart functioning. This test will be done half way through my treatment to compare results. 

I saw the surgeon, Dr Maurice who removed the lymph node from under my arm today. All is well and I am healing nicely. The stitches have come out and although I will be left with some permanent numbness and nerve damage, I have full range of motion in my arm so nothing to worry about. Still some residual pain but I am told this is very normal.

The kindness of others continues to humble us, we are so very fortunate. I was up for a couple of visits this week, in particular a former colleague who I share so many fond memories of Courtland days, something about that place bonds you together and I look forward to laughter therapy tomorrow with my best friend. We are going to perhaps take a field trip to Hopesprings Cancer Support Centre tomorrow and check out their Boutique. Trying to prepare myself for the inevitable task of choosing a wig and other assorted head coverings that I will soon need. I pray for a sound sleep tonight, safe travels to Jason's parents as they make their way home from a well deserved mini-vacation to Florida and I thank modern medicine for Magic Mouthwash.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration Michelle!