July 17th or 18th?, 2009 it's the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday so I guess technically it's the 18th.
It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep so I thought I should at least journal to get the head stuff out through my fingertips. But, I also knew that I wanted to let you guys know what happened today so I've decided to allow my email to you to sort of be a journal entry that way I "kill two birds..." Now, don't get too excited because I seriously doubt I will share quite like how I would if this was a true journal entry. But, you never know...it is currently 2:00 a.m.
This morning (well Friday morning...it's confusing when it's the middle of the night), at 9:30 I went in for my new chemo regimen. I had an overwhelming peace all morning and slept very well last night (Thursday night). This was surprising to me because just a few days ago...on Monday...I was having serious fear and anxiety about going in this week. My treatment hadn't been scheduled prior to our vacation because I couldn't seem to get through to the doctor. In hind sight, this was very much the way God wanted it. I wasn't supposed to dwell on the date of chemo while I was on our little trip. On Monday, I knew I needed to call the doctor. They had called to check on me while we were gone but the area we were staying in didn't have cell reception so I couldn't call them back. When I talked to my nurse, I was brutally honest about how I was feeling and the anxiety I was having. We talked it all out and she kept reassuring me that I was going to be fine and that this treatment, even though it's in the same family of the one I had such a horrible reaction to 11 years ago, was far gentler. I was going to be fine. "OK", I said and proceeded to make my appointment. They couldn't get me in on Thursday the 16th so I went today (Friday).
My chemo regimen is always some sort of a cocktail. This time was no different. The first chemo they gave to me this morning went according to plan. I had never been on this type so I really didn't know what to expect and really, I still don't because most side effects don't take place within the first 24 hours. They occur on days 2,3,4... First chemo over, time for the second one. They began the drip and WHOA!!! what the heck's happening??? Immediately my body began reacting in a bad way but totally different than 11 years ago so I was confused. Really confused. So I kind of just sat there trying to figure it out. I was finishing up a pb&j and thought that I must have swallowed wrong because all of the sudden I couldn't breathe. So, I kept swallowing and drinking water and nope, that was it. Then I began to get really hot - actually my face began to feel like it was on fire - so I took the heating pad off of my lap to see if that would cool me down (I was using it to get warm because before this I was chilled). Nope, this wasn't it and my breathing was getting worse. Finally I realized that something wasn't right but I was still hesitant. Of course, Reed had stepped out to run a quick errand and my nurse, who is always very attentive, happened to be busy at the desk so I didn't have someone right there with me. Still not sure if I was imagining things, I got up and walked over to the desk. But when my nurse glanced up and saw me and had a look of fear on her face, I knew my concerns were legit. She began gently barking orders..."go back and sit down"..."take deep breaths"..."keep taking deep breaths"...as she scurried over to me to turn off the chemo drip and then scurried to get some steroids to put in my line so that I could breathe again. The steroids worked quickly and my breathing eased up. It took a while longer for my face to cool down and for the massive headache caused by all of this to go away but it did. Then my doctor and his nurse came in and were literally tongue tied but not me. I said, "I told you so!" And they said, "Yes you did!". In all their years of practice, they'd NEVER seen anyone react to this chemo like I did. My chemo nurse told me, "when you were saying that you were allergic to this I thought you just meant you didn't tolerate it well. You REALLY meant allergic!" Yes I did. And now they know.
They monitored me for a while and because I was having other allergy reactions, gave me some Benadryl with instructions to take it every 3 hours. I've only taken it once more. Oh well. Unlike most people, Benadryl does not cause drowsiness for me. It keeps me awake. I was released to go but for two-ish hours afterward I had some other issues. I got the shakes and chills really bad as we were leaving so Reed wrapped me in his jacket to keep me warm. The shakes got so bad that I had to lay down in the back seat of our truck and asked Reed to please not turn on the air. So, we drove home with the windows up and air off because I couldn't get warm or stop shaking. Poor Reed. It was at least 85 outside - and yes, I know that's not hot for Texas or Arizona but here it's hot...especially in a closed up vehicle. Anyway, I was so weak and incoherent by the time we got home that Reed had to carry me into the house. I slept off the weirdness and have done pretty well the rest of the day. Eating and drinking far better and more normal than in the past post-treatment. I'll see what tomorrow and the days following hold.
What's next? My doctor told me that he needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new game plan. Evidently (or obviously?), I cannot have any chemos from this family because I will be allergic to all of them. I go into his office on Monday afternoon to talk about my options...again.
Earlier I alluded to the peace that I had today. I know that there is only one reason the peace was so strong. Prayer. The amount of prayer support I've had this week has been overwhelming and humbling. Some from a distance and some very close and personal. I feel loads of support and encouragement with the encouragement coming from unusual scenarios that are undeniably from God. I have worked through my sadness from the last email and am actually in a really good spot at this moment. Reed and I actually look at what happened today as a good thing. We see God's hand all over this and are curious as to what is around the corner. The LORD is using His body to get us through this. He is using my sweet friend Laney to orchestrate the 40 day prayer and fast and He's using all those who signed up and are making a sacrifice (big thank you's). He is giving special friends specific scripture to send to me at exactly the right moment to prepare for what's to happen next. He's given 2 friends the exact same scripture to pray over me with neither knowing ahead of time that the other had been given that scripture. It is a scripture that I can NOW fully understand and after this morning is NOW fully relevant. He's recently used a handful of intimate friends as sounding boards and confidants. He's given a revelation/vision (I'm not really sure what to call it) to another friend that was confirmed and incredibly encouraging. And He's given me the privilege to be anointed and prayed over by one of my dearest friends while holding her newborn baby. THIS is why I had a peace today and THIS is why Reed and I were literally giggling with excitement earlier tonight. We are preparing for a miracle. It feels really good to have some medical options taken away from me. I am so eager to see God's hand in this but in a way that is undeniably God. I'm not sure what that will mean in the end of this journey but for today, I am in a good spot and feeling encouraged and hopeful. I'm the woman in the Bible who's having her options taken away from her and so she touches Jesus' cloak and is healed. That is the verse hanging on my wall. "Daughter, you took a risk of faith and now you are healed and whole. Live well, live blessed, be healed of your plague." I'm getting excited!!!
OK...it's now 3:40. Guess I really should go to bed. Plus, the battery is nearly dead in my computer and I don't feel like going downstairs to get the cords. Goodnight. I hope all this rambling makes sense!!