To start off, I need to clear something up first. I was never near death. I was never going through Chemo to get rid of cancer. Somewhere in my posting, I must have missed communicating that I'm actually fine. No, really, it's all good, promise. The doctors all felt assured that they got all of the cancer with surgery. So why did I have chemo? (And now radiation, hooray for me) Because before surgery we thought we had caught the cancer within months of it showing up, and then surgery showed that no, the cancer had been there for a year or more. As it was slow growing and not aggressive, it probably had not gone anywhere else. But we all know cancer is an insidious, abhorrent thing, so to be sure that it didn't show up somewhere else, the doctors felt it would be best for me to do chemo. So, I did chemo. In general, my response to the doctors has been, "If that's what you think is best." And now I'm doing radiation because there was some cancer in the muscle tissue, and radiation helps to keep that from re-occurring. So all the sickness and fatigue has been preventative.
I had tried to keep posting towards the end of chemo, but oh, my. I understand fatigue now. It started out that I'd have two or three days between infusions where I felt bad, then it was three or four days, and then I just stopped feeling good, at all. The only way to explain it is the truth - there were days when getting up and making it to the bathroom in time was a struggle, because my body was that tired. I say my body, because my brain didn't wear out nearly as fast as my body. Which is awful. There are certain diseases that trap people in their bodies - they are all there in their mind, but their bodies don't function. And I know that horror. To hear my kids arguing in the other room, and mentally saying all the things that need to be said, but not being physically capable of shouting, "LOVE YOUR SIBLING!! I don't care if you want to, you WILL LOVE YOUR SIBLING!! And keep the wet towels off the bathroom floor." Not even being able to speak, let alone shout, and so having to pray to Jesus that they don't break each other before their father gets home.
Why didn't I call you, text you for help? Because I couldn't scroll through my phone, it took too much energy. I could not even lay on my bed with my phone propped up and move my hand more than once. I so wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not. Yes, I cried, often. I did my best to choose laughter, but at that point, the laughter usually came after the tears. There were people that did a great job of stalking me, and I so wanted to connect and be with them(still do, actually)but I couldn't. There was no pushing through. There was no digging deep. I found the cold, solid rock bottom. In case you're wondering, it sucked more than you can imagine.
Do you want to hear the real tear jerker in all of that? According to my doctors and nurses, I was doing well. Yes, I was healthy, and handling treatment beautifully. Let that sink in. As bad as I had it, it was the best that could be hoped for during chemotherapy treatments. When people ask how it was, I say, "I had it good, but it was still Hell." And I know why it went as well as it did. It was all of you praying for me. It's the only possible reason. So thank you, from me and my family, and please keep it up, because it's not over yet.
So then what?
Whelp. I went back to see Dr. Smellgood two weeks after my last infusion. At that time he said,
"It will take 3 months for you to get back to your baseline of energy." To which I immediately replied,
"No, that doesn't work for me, six weeks. I'll give it six weeks." He chuckled and said that was fine with him. And I threw myself into getting ready for Fair. And I made it through Fair with flying colors! I did lots of walking, and lots of sitting. And I watched other people work hard all week, and promised myself that this was the only year that I would sit it out.
I still had those awful expanders in, which really added to the misery of everything. Imagine having(what feels like)20lb rocks on your chest. If you're a guy, think of having your man parts replaced with rocks. You think, no big deal, I can totally handle it.
But for how long?
Days? Weeks? How about 7 months? The expanders were put in on December 27th, 2016. The doctor switched them for implants July 26th, 2017. I was so terrified that they wouldn't be comfortable, that the Hurricane would be wrong. Fortunately the relief was almost immediate. After switching the expanders, it was time talk radiation.
Originally, the Hurricane had said it would be 3-4 weeks after surgery that radiation would start, putting the start date at mid August, and finishing the end of September. Remember earlier when I said I have just done what the doctors thought was best? Well, this is the first time they heard me say no. Back when I was first diagnosed, my longtime friend MiSpring said we were going on a trip as soon after treatment as possible. So the trip got booked to happen in mid October.(We going to Disney y'all!!) I hadn't really said much about it to the doctors, but then the Hurricane said she wanted to wait 6 weeks to start radiation, which I knew immediately would interfere with the trip. I interrupted her and said,
"No, we can't do that. It won't work." I think she was actually shocked. It's like that moment you realize your kids really are different and you're going to have to try something else with the second kid to get them to behave. Or sleep. Or eat. It's a betrayal, really. Like, I know it wasn't supposed to be easy, but c'mon!!! I digress.
The Hurricane of course asked why I couldn't wait, and so I told her,
"I'M going to DISNEY with MY FRIENDS." It was stated very saucy and rather like a three year old claiming the last donut. And she agreed, we had to start radiation ASAP, because for a cancer patient, a trip to Disney is as important as any other treatment. We're also going on a cruise to the Bahamas, but I was too pouty to take the time to say all of the itinerary.
Thus, radiation started August 28th. And since we're not quite 2 weeks in, things are going fine. I like the radiation therapists, and my doctor. I haven't come up with a nickname for him yet.
There has been so much more to life than cancer and cancer treatments, and you should know about it, because it's wonderful, and I want to share it with you. It's just, these posts take time to write, and there is so much I've missed out on, I keep choosing to be active, rather than sit and write.
But the writing is good, and it's helpful. It reminds me of what is important to me, and it helps me to work through what's happened. So, I'll promise to be back in a few days and backtrack to tell you about some of the other things that have happened. Like my eyebrows. Wowza, have they come back with a vengeance!