Chemotherapy is NOT one of my favorite things

Walking along the beach, biking along the coast, coffee dates with friends, shopping, playing a hilarious Taboo-like game with friends, these are a few of my favorite things. (Thanks for the inspiration Maria!) But when the dog bites, it really bites with chemo.  Okay, enough of the sound of music analogy, but you know what I mean.  I have honestly had a really rough past couple of weeks and I would love your prayers for peace, joy and perseverance.  As I was writing my check-in email with my doctor today, I thought, maybe I should just copy and paste this thing to the blog so that you can get a feel for how I communicate with my lovely MD.  This email is much more personal and emotional than normal- because well, that's just who I am and where I'm at right now.

Hi Dr. Cho-Phan,

How are you?  I'm not sure where to start with how how this round of chemo has been on me.  I want to stay positive and be a fighter, but this round has really torn me down emotionally, mainly because of the nausea.  The day of the infusion (2 weeks ago tomorrow) was pretty horrible.  I was doing fine until the Oxaliplatin started in the IV, and then almost immediately I had this sick, nauseas feeling and it literally felt like a cold poison was pulsing through my body.  I actually had tears rolling down my face for most of the 3 hours. 🙁  The cold on my arm (at my IV location) was so bad that thinking about it or looking at it made me more nauseas, and this was the first time that I actaully thought I might throw-up in the ITA.  Though the nausea was obviously worse then the past infusions I thought that maybe this was because I had had a break from the chemo and my body was having to re-adjust to the "assault" of chemo on my system  However the nausea that I have continued to experience throughout the past two weeks has made me curious.  I was also wondering if the healing in my colon and liver effected how much nausea I experienced? What are you thoughts on this?

The past two weeks, (while I've been taking the Xeloda-pill form of chemo) have been really rough as well. I have had to take the Zofran and Ativan around the clock just to function.  The problem with this solution is that the Ativan makes me so tired that I totally crash around 3pm each day.  I also tried acupuncture, only once, the day after the infusion, and while it felt good while I was there, the 15minute drive there just really flared up the nausea.  I'm still trying to decide if it should give that more of a try.
I also wanted to tell you that I have been a lot more emotional over the past two weeks.  I have been pretty down and have cried every day, which is not normal at all for me.  I was wondering if this could have something to do with the drugs, or it might be that combined with the fact that just when I started feeling better from surgery, I felt totally knocked down again for 2 weeks (longer than I thought) from the chemo. This has just been so hard as I think about having three more rounds.
(some talk about my meds)....I truly want to fight this and get through this, but my spirits are low and I think part of that is just that the surgery has already happened, so its hard to believe that I still need chemo.  I guess its not hard to believe, because I totally understand needing to get any microscopic cancer cells, its just harder to face, especially as I'm realizing that my body and my spirit are experiencing the cumulative effects of drugs and the emotions and life hindrances that come with them.
As you can see, I'm pretty open with my doctor. 🙂  She is very good about getting back to me soon, so I am secretly hoping that she will write me back and say," Amy, I'm so sorry that you have been going through this torture, you know this chemo-thing isn't really worth it, you'll be fine without it..."   Hee, Hee! Okay I will stop dreaming now.  But truly, I am hoping that she will write me back quickly so that we can discuss some options for making the coming round (on FEB. 29) more doable.
Thankfully we have been making it through these days with lots of help from my mom and dad, and by some amazing meals from some of you!  We honestly haven't have to make our own dinner for three weeks now- and I can't thank you enough. Here is my shout out for my amazing cooking friends:

Our top 5 favorites, in no particular order- Drumroll Please.....

  • Veggie Lasagna (EVEN with all of the veggies peeled for my sensitive tummy)- SO GOOD!
  • 2 Types of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and the best darn cornbread I've ever had!  (This soup really got me through the first few days!)
  • Butternut Squash/Goat Cheese /Whole wheat Pizza with Home- Brewed Beer (J was in heaven)
  • Grilled veggies/ chicken and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies for dessert!! (and an adorable red and white poke-dot travel mug for my growing green tea habit)
  • Homemade soups... yum!  Potato soup, Carrot Potato Soup.... they warm the soul.
BTW- we LOVED every meal that we got, and I'm sorry I just don't have the energy to list each one!  Thank you all so much, and we'll have Carol send out a call-out for more meals soon, for our next round of chemo. This next time hopefully my diet won't have to be quite so limited and peeled. 🙂
Oh friends, I'd better go for now, but I will leave you with some prayer requests & PRAISES!
  1. Thank you Jesus, Grandma Penny is feeling much better after her bout with pneumonia and has had some much needed rest!
  2. Thank you Jesus, I got to do some work over the past couple of weeks and even got to see some of the bright and encouraging faces of our community at VFC today!
  3. Thank you Jesus, that I can now lift Brenden and all of my surgical incisions look great!  (I had my 6-week post surgery mark this Wed.)
  4. Please pray for relief from my nausea
  5. Please pray for complete wisdom for my chemo doctor as she decides what to do about my nausea
  6. Please pray for Josh- he has been pretty overwhelmed with all of life lately- especially when he has to come home from work late and jump right in with the kiddos while I fall into bed- He is a rock star in all he does, it just wears on him and he really needs some bike rides and hearty laughs for stress relief- please pray that we can find time for those.
Thank you for all of the beautiful ways that you have shown your compassion, love and support!

8 responses to “Chemotherapy is NOT one of my favorite things”

  1. Angelie Purkey says:

    Oh I know and feel the weight of the cumulative effect of the chemo and the weariness that comes with months and months of this. Praying that you will feel buoyed up in your spirit while every other part of you is taking a beating. Know that your community is holding on for you where you can't. May you feel God's mercy on you and know that he is groaning with you every second of every day. Your heart of praise to God is a beautiful reflection of your faith and love for him in the midst of all this agony. I'm available to meet if that would do your spirit some good. Much love, Angelie

  2. Shirley Sweetman says:

    Hi Amy,

    We are continuing to pray for you and your family. Thank you for being so real. Your love for God is so encouraging. He loves you so and is so pleased by your trusting heart.

    Shirley Sweetman

  3. Stephanie Lutz says:

    Beautiful sentiments Angelie.. I heartily say ditto!
    Amy, continuing to pray and will email Carol about more meals and text you about having a playdate with your kiddos. Much, much love to all of you!

  4. Erik Cottrell says:

    Hi Amy, It's been many years but I hope I can contribute a little love and encouragement to your fight. Chemo sucks, there's no doubt about it. It knocked me around and took me places I couldn't imagine...some days I didn't know who I was and begged to not go for more treatments (especially hated the smells and the after effects were no picnic, either). You are clearly not alone in your fight but I can only imagine how hard it gets for you to keep moving forward. I'll send special thoughts and good wishes to your family. Good for you to keep writing and seeking out hope. Here's to strength and good humor (wherever you can find it!) cause heaven knows there's plenty pulling you the other way! All the best, Erik.

  5. Sandy says:

    Hi Amy!

    Such a bummer to hear that it's been rough. You're definitely still in my prayers. I don't know what it's like to go through chemo, but when I've been through suffering or watched other people suffering the thing that makes me feel better is just remember that we serve a God who has suffered too. I don't know why we have to suffer, but I don't know why he designed the cross to be a terrible way to die and then signed up for it. He could have made it easier on himself, but he didn't. So somehow it's just nice for me to know that God doesn't dish out this stuff without having experienced it himself.

  6. Mandy & John says:

    Praying for you, Amy-- and we all send our love!

  7. Uli says:

    Amy, my heart goes out to you. I hope your doctor really hears your pain and has some trick up her sleeve to help you. I'll keep praying for an easier healing process. You will conquer!

  8. Deb says:

    My prayers are with you and your family Amy , you are a fighter and an Amazing women of God! He is fighting with you and for you ! He is your Strength!
    So blessed to hear you have come so far and are doing so well. I am praying that the effects of Chemo will subside!! I am praying for your Husband too that he get some down time and I am so proud of both of you !!! Many blessings are ahead for you and your family ! Your Faith has been an Amazing Blessing to everyone who has watched you go through this!!
    Love Deb

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