Today I will receive my sixth chemo treatment. I know it can get confusing when I speak of all these chemo rounds and cycles and such, so I wanted to clarify the terminology and schedule a bit to help you better understand what I’m talking about.
During this phase of my treatment, I will undergo four cycles of chemo. Each cycle consists of three rounds — except the first cycle, which was four rounds. I get the first Monday of the month off to help elevate my blood counts, and then receive a round of chemo each Monday of the month thereafter.
I completed my first cycle, which was four rounds, in September. This afternoon I will receive the second round of my second cycle.
I have to undergo 13 rounds of chemo during this phase of treatment. The final round will be infused December 22nd.
In January I begin a different type of chemo, which I will explain later when I understand it better. I will receive a total of four rounds of this type of chemo. It will be infused once, every 21 days.
My first round of this phase of treatment starts on January 5th and if my blood counts cooperate, my final round will be infused on March 9th. When my chemo has been completed, I will have received a total of 17 rounds of chemo over a seven month period. Yes, that’s a lot.
Surgery and radiation will follow once chemo is completed.
I’m hopeful this explanation will help you better understand this crazy chemo schedule, and it’s always nice to have an end date in sight. Believe me, March 9th will be HUGE on my 2015 calendar. Pretty sure I’m going to have another party! 🙂
Each round of chemo seems to leave me weaker and more nauseous than the one before. It takes me longer to recover, so my good days are fewer between treatments, but because of this, I treasure those few good days even more.
Last week I wasn’t able to leave the house (or the couch) from Wednesday until Friday. It was the strangest kind of sick I have ever been. Each time I stood up, the room would spin so violently that I’d either have to immediately sit back down, or fight the nausea so I could walk into the next room.
I was unable to do even the simplest of tasks that I had been able to do in previous weeks, like make lunches for the kids or fold the laundry. One of the worst parts of being so sick is helplessly watching as Patrick does his job AND my job. He has never complained. Not once.
He is perfection.
I tell Maddie, at least once a day, “Watch your daddy. When you date, and eventually marry, you settle for nothing less than what you are seeing in our home right now.”
I thank God for this man every single day.
Each year I take my kids to the pumpkin farm — although sadly, last year Maddie announced she was too old to join us. I know that all too soon, Creed will decide he is also too old to frolic on the hay bales, run through the corn maze, and search the fields for the perfect pumpkin, so I was determined not to miss one single year of pumpkin farm goodness while he is still on board.
Last week, as each day left me weaker and more nauseous, I began to doubt that we’d make our annual trip on Saturday like we had planned. I talked to God about this, and although He already knew, I reminded Him that this was a big deal to me.
I asked for strength and steadiness for Saturday. When I went to bed Friday night, I felt worse than I had all week, and before falling asleep, I asked God one more time if He could make this happen for me.
Saturday morning I woke up and the minute I opened my eyes I knew I felt better. I sat up. The room didn’t spin. I got up and walked into the kitchen. My legs weren’t weak. Just like that, I felt better. I wasn’t 100% by any means, but I certainly could handle a little pumpkin farm fun. May sound silly, but I truly believe God answered this mamma’s prayer.
I enjoyed several hours with two of my friends, Becca and Terri, and their kids, and Creed and I had an absolutely perfect day together. I don’t remember ever coming home from the pumpkin farm thanking God for the gift of going, but you can bet, Saturday I was so, so thankful God allowed me to have that time with my favorite 8-year-old.
I’ve learned not to waste the good days.
My strength continued into Sunday and we went to church. Again, I thanked God for the gift of going. Each day I can be with my family and participate in our activities is a gift. Each Sunday that I am able to worship in God’s house is a gift.
When I am well, I never want to lose the appreciation I now have for the good days. They are gifts, straight from the hand of God, to us.
And speaking of being well, I saved the best for last, and have some VERY EXCITING news to share with you!
I saw Dr. Chavez last week, and she did an exam for the first time since the beginning of my first cycle of chemo. As she was studying my chest she kept exchanging looks with the other doctor and the two nurses who were also in the room. All four of them had huge smiles on their faces. I wasn’t getting worried, but I wanted to know why they were smiling, so I acted like an impatient 6-year-old and kept saying, “What? What? Tell me!”
Finally, she stopped, looked me straight in the eye, and said very excitedly, “Tina, this is amazing. I really can’t believe what we are seeing here. IF we see this type of dramatic change, it is usually after the third, maybe the fourth, cycle of chemo.”
Then she added, “We have NEVER seen this much improvement in the tissue after only one cycle. You are responding to the chemo, not just good, but very good!”
She went on to tell us that the researchers were going to be shocked and she didn’t want them just to take her word for it, so she is ordering an extra ultrasound before my third cycle of chemo (ultrasound is scheduled November 10th) so they can medically document how much improvement I’ve made in such a short period of time.
This is the first good news we have received since my diagnosis on August 22nd. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy this made us!
God is touching my body. I have never doubted this, even before my doctor gave me this news, but to hear her confirm what we were already believing was certainly a jolt of faith for our spirits.
God is healing me!
You, my sweet friends, are the most amazing prayer warriors on the planet! You are praying. God is answering.
My doctors know we are people of faith and we have told them many times that we have an army of people who love us and know how to pray. They are seeing evidence of God’s healing power in my body and they are amazed!
My treatment plan remains the same, regardless of my progress; however, I know God has already done the work.
Patrick and I appreciate your love and prayers more than words can express. Thank you for continuing to pray and believe with us for this miracle. We love you.