Wednesday, November 6, 2013
October 28, 2013
Before I continue with my journey, I wanted to talk to each and every one of you for a moment. Please know that your thoughts, your prayers, your notes… the responses… all my friends and family, Cheryl’s “Reflectionites”, the technicians and nurses, my new sisters in Sharmaine and Jenny, co-workers Kim, Fior, Diana… I received them all and I am humbled. Your outpouring has made me cry. Claudette and Mimi you are wonderful! Ava, that you would track me down during my therapy session to give me a hug. Gita, that you would take a few moments to encourage me from across the ocean... it all means the world. Because I don’t mention your name does not mean your thoughts and words were any less impactful, but it would take me four pages to properly thank everyone by name. I thank you!
Last Tuesday I walked into a very unassuming building on East 53rd Street in Manhattan. It’s in the midst of the corporate world – this is the Chemo building. I’ve been here before but numerous times I’ve walked past this building myself as I hurried to catch the # 6 train. I never once thought of what goes on in here. As I enter the building Nick smiles and greets me… it’s always the best; he holds my hands… “Good morning Beloved, it’s wonderful to see you again. How are you today?” (He makes me feel joyful, he reminds me that wherever we are, in the midst of it all, God sends a word.) I smile as I respond – “I’m blessed and highly favored.” Nick responds “Keep walking in faith.” My day begins…
A day at chemotherapy is very different from radiation therapy. The waiting area is much larger (I believe to accommodate the larger groups of family members). People stroll out of the elevator with large totes and luggage. Some carry their favorite pillow or the comfy blanket to snuggle up with. In one suitcase I glimpse socks and books and a teddy bear. Therapy spans 5-6 hours. I initially thought it would be an injection, but the chemo is slowly dripped into our bodies. We make ourselves comfortable.
Cysplatin… Carboplatin… Paclitaxel… Potatoe, Potato all the same right? I’ve had a dose of chemo before. After my dose of Cysplatin and my days of radiation I was lulled into a false sense of my own strength. I’ve got this! I can handle the burns and the fatigue and adding Imodium pills to my diet and staying away from fresh fruit and vegetables and always having a piece of candy in my bag and the fact that even water has a strange taste. Then Carboplatin and Paclitaxel was introduced to my system as the fight has been ramped up – as Dr. Makker says, we are dealing with this very aggressively.
As I get comfortable, take off my boots, put on my socks and place my bag in the appropriate area so I can get to my phone, the crosswords and the Kindle that Nigel has graciously allowed me to use. My nurse friend prepares me for infusion. The veins on the inside of my elbows have too much scar tissue, they can’t get a line in there. They must go in by my wrist – it’s more painful. There are lots of medications… saline solution, anti-nausea medication, Benadryl, Carboplatin, etc. Everything has its purpose and Nurse Showda sits to monitor me to make sure there are no allergic reactions. I would love to say I sat through all the hours thinking and writing and playing Subway Surfer. The Benadryl knocked me out… I wake as they change medication bags… wake again as they bring lunch… I am finally awake as Gilbert calls and says he’s waiting for me downstairs. They warn me that the effects of all the medications would begin wearing off in two days. By Thursday afternoon, I slipped away from work early. I’m feeling it! I feel the battle in my body… nausea – yes, weakness – yes, flu-like symptoms – yes… my toes hurt, every muscle aches… indescribable feelings (whether imagined or real).
I’ve been knocked from my happy place. Gilbert is not comfortable seeing me like this. My response of “I’m okay” to his question does not cut it for him. On Sunday he declared that I must go back to the doctor and tell her that this medication does not agree with me and I need the previous medication. LOL!
As I curled up in bed Sunday night trying to feel comfortable, cuddling up to my aches! and pains! and feelings! it comes to me that God, with his infinite wisdom rarely goes into the house of the strong – they don’t NEED him. When we are strong, we pat ourselves on the back and accept the accolades. It’s what I’ve been doing – you go girl! you can handle this!
Then the realization that I’m not in control … I am weak!... in my weak moments… in my weakness… Help me Lord!
2 Corinthinians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Amen! Love you all.
P.S. My Mom and sisters, Cheryl and Barbara… my prayer warriors! Thank you!
P.P.S. I’ve been told these notes are the dinosaurs to a blog so I should probably get hip right??!! Mimi, I’ll be calling you J