Adventures in Chemo!

Over the past four chemo infusions, I thought I was getting pretty good about knowing what to expect from the side effects, when they’re going to hit, how to help Patty etc… but I have to admit, I had no idea chemo #4 was going to come on like “gang busters!”  First of all, the side effects, nausea and fatigue,  came two days earlier than usual.  She had her infusion on Tuesday and we normally have until Friday night or Saturday before anything happens.  This time both fatigue and nausea hit on Thursday evening!  Nothing we haven’t dealt with before.  But Friday, the side effects, mainly fatigue, was much more intense than usual.  A close friend of ours mother had recently passed away and the services were Friday afternoon.  As weak as Patty was, she insisted on going to support to our friend.  (Sometimes she just won’t listen to me say “NO!”)   By the time the hour an a half service was over, you could see on Patty’s face that it was time to go!  But, she went and felt good about it.

I got Patty home around 3:30 p.m. and she got into some comfy clothes and immediately flopped on the couch for a good three-hour nap!  Obviously she needed it.  The night went pretty well… she got the card that I mentioned in the previous blog and things seemed to be ok… that was until around 8:30 p.m.  The fatigue just whacked her.  She looked so weak and frail.  I knew she just needed to go to bed and get a good nights rest… and that’s how the night started.  We both went to bed around 9:00 p.m. and she immediately fell asleep while I watched a little TV and dropped around 10:00 p.m.  I was in a sound sleep when I was awakened by a “thump” and moaning!  I immediately popped out of bed to find Patty laying on the floor, on her side of the bed.  Without going into detail… what had happened, she got out of bed to go to the bathroom.  She returned to the bedroom and was so weak and dizzy, she tripped and fell, hitting her head on the nightstand!  Not good.  The next thing you know, we’re at the emergency room a little before 1:00 a.m.  We walked into the empty reception area (notice I said “empty!”)  checked in and waited to be seen…. and waited… and waited.. and waited!!!  Patty and I were finally taken back into the ER around 2:30 a.m.  The ER doctor did a quick exam and said he wanted to do a CAT Scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding from the blunt force of hitting her head… he’d also stitch up the cut and we’d be on our way.  So… again, we waited and waited and waited.  Finally around 5:00 a.m. they wheeled Patty off to do the CT scan which took a matter of minutes.  Shortly thereafter, the doctor came in and stitched up her head… 10 stitches total and we were finally home by 6:30 a.m.!!!  Hmmm… 5 hours at the ER.  What a night!  Needless to say, we were both exhausted.

God is amazing!  Patty attends a bible study group on Wednesday mornings.  She really looks forward to this day of the week for both the Subject matter as well as the women who attend.  The other day all the women in this group decided they wanted to make dinner for us and bring it over on Saturday (yesterday)  Patty’s been hesitant about anyone cooking for us since it’s just the two of us and her taster is out of whack.  But, she agreed.  There’s no doubt this was part of Gods plan, knowing we’d be exhausted and could use a little help.  So, He sent two of his Angles to our house yesterday… Donna and Bev.  The nicest women you’d ever meet!  They came by around 2:00 p.m. with bags of food that included fresh-baked pumpkin bread, salad, pasta, marinara sauce, french bread, chicken enchiladas and some apple treats!  The timing of this present couldn’t have been any better!  We were both still so exhausted from the previous night’s activities.  We gobbled down the chicken enchiladas and salad last night.  Patty ate every bit on her plate!   Her taster may be out of whack, but the food tasted sooooo good she was not about to let the taster get in the way of a meal from God. 

Patty’s doing much better today.  Sure she has 10 stitches on top of a little “goose-egg!”  She has her color back which is always a good sign!  I’m going to keep her quiet today.  I’ve told her it’s “against the law” for her to go against my orders!  If she does, there’s a price to pay!  (you know her… we’ll see if she listens!)

Hopefully the Adventures of Chemo are over for this round.  If not, we’re ready to take them on!

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“Three… two… one!”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, my wife is an amazing woman!  Yesterday was her third chemo infusion.  Yes, number three!  A milestone in her treatment!  The half way mark!  Patty was actually excited yesterday to have her next treatment!  I mean really excited!  I asked her “why?” to which she replied: “Because I’m one more treatment closer to being cancer free!”  She truly means that!  What a great positive attitude!!! 

Patty has done really well over the past week.  We’ve noticed a pattern through these treatments.  She deals with days “1 through 3” pretty well following her infusion, other than losing her taste buds.  Fatigue and body aches don’t really hit her until day “4” and lasts pretty strong through day “11”.  It seems like she starts to turn the corner about that time and begins to get stronger as each day comes.  Her taste buds start coming back about day “16” so this is when I start really cooking for Patty!  By day “18” or so, she’s doing pretty well, not back to normal, but much better than the previous week.  Then day “21” comes around and we get to do the whole cycle all over again!  

I hear people saying that this is just a “bump in the road” for us.  We’ve actually used that phrase a few times, but yesterday I had a chance to reflect on the past six months.  Sorry, but it’s hardly been a “bump.”  I don’t know the right word to describe this experience, in fact, I don’t need to find the correct word.  What I can say is that these past six months have not been easy!  But, it’s been a trial that has brought the two of us closer to each other like never before and it’s brought the two of us much closer to God. It’s been an experience that has literally turned our lives up-side-down as well as put our lives on hold.  But, you know what?  We’ve both accepted our lives for what they are right now and I’m confident we’ll get through this and carry on!  We’re both excited to see what the future has in store for us!  We talked yesterday and Patty told me that she’ll never take life for granted again.  That she wants to take in all she can daily.  We now have a new granddaughter and another grandchild on the way.  There’s a lot to look forward to! 

Since we’re trying to be as positive as we can through this ride, we’re now saying we’re on the “Countdown through Chemo”… “three… two… one!”  December 14th can’t come soon enough!