I’ll start off by saying this post is going to be scattered…because let’s be real…that’s where my brain is at right now. So, try to keep up…if you can’t, just look at the pictures, hopefully they will make you smile.
First, we’ll start with getting checked in. After waiting for a while for the room to be ready, we were finally able to go check it out and getting settled. I’ll admit, it was a little weird knowing that once we walked inside the building, that was the last bit of fresh air or sunshine I would have for about a month…so crazy.
First answered prayer–our room had a couch! So, for people who are spending the night periodically, you.are.welcome. You would not have liked sleeping on the chair.
Once we got set up, my nurse went through what the next few days would look like, etc. Here is her drawing…I appreciate her because this is exactly how may brain works. Each box represents chemo. On 4/26, I was only receiving BCNU…then on 4/27, I was receiving Cytarabine (twice) as well as Etoposide. That continued for 4 days. Then on 5/1, I had Melphalan.
Yesterday when I had my last bag of chemo, Melphalan, I had to eat ice for 30 minutes prior to starting the chemo, continue to eat ice/popsicles during the chemo, and then eat it for 30 minutes to an hour after the bag was done. My mouth was frozen…and even a little torn up from chewing the ice…but it was all done in hopes of mouth sores taking it easy on me. We should know toward the end of this week how well that worked. The ice is supposed to help constrict the blood vessels in your mouth and throat, which helps prevent sores. Who knows. I just did what I was told.
And then, the Gods started singing because I WAS DONE WITH CHEMO!
Waaaahoooo! That statement makes me a happy girl. Yesterday I finished off the last of my chemo…for.ev.er. The nurses mentioned that they may be more excited than I am about finishing…but I can assure you, they are wrong. That was one of the happiest moments of my life.
I had a little bit of Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream when I was done, just to seal the deal. I’m pretty sure that helped. Look at all of those check marks! No empty boxes! Chemo, we are DONE.
So now, I’m on Day 8 in my
jail cell hospital room and I will say, it has gone by pretty fast. The nurses have been great. I have had a lot of the same nurses several days in a row, so that’s always nice…as long as you like them.
Over the weekend, a dear friend of my grandparents (Luann) held a bake sale for our family. She has worked at a restaurant called Midway Point for over 20 years, and my grandparents have been avid customers for all of that time. Several weeks ago, I had lunch with my grandma and met sweet Luann for the first time. Little did I know what she had up her sleeve.
Soon after our lunch, she mentioned that she wanted to have a bake sale for us. Alright, I thought. We can do a bake sale. She was doing all of the planning, advertising, etc. But oh.my.word. I had no idea a bake sale could turn out like this one did. It was absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, I was already in the hospital, so I wasn’t able to attend…but Danny, the kiddos, and a bunch of other wonderful people attended and made the most of it. I was able to FaceTime and see a lot of the people who were there.
For this short, 3 hour bake sale, sweet Luann brought in $6,000. That is INSANE. There were donations, people buying shirts, tons and tons of food that was made to be sold. I NEVER would have guessed that something like a bake sale could be that big of a blessing.
Luann, my dear…you are one of a kind. You have a servant’s heart. You will never know how much your kindness has blessed our family. You have had such a huge impact on our lives in just a short time. I pray that you will be abundantly blessed because of your service.
I wish I would have been able to get some pictures of everyone working behind the scenes. They had matching shirts, flower arrangements on every table, stuff was everywhere…all to raise money for us. Absolutely incredible.
This hospital stay have been relatively uneventful so far, which I suppose is good for this sort of thing. Just as usual, when I’m actually receiving the chemo, I feel pretty good…but the week after, that’s when it all gets icky and hits the fan. So, they are expecting the end of this week to be pretty rotten. Yay for feeling rotten! I will say, since I’ve been in for this round, my neuropathy has gotten worse. Danny and I were playing cards the other day and I was having trouble grabbing the cards to flip them over. That’s no bueno. I was, however, able to color a picture the other day…but it took me longer than it should have. The fine motor control that I used to have isn’t there so much anymore…I’ve learned to appreciate those things now that they’re gone/not all the way there. However, it could be worse. So, I’ll take my tingly, numb fingers and thank God for healing.
I’ve been eating. Haven’t had a huge appetite, but I eat when I’m hungry. I love the Chicken Fried Steak they serve at the hospital, so I have that almost every day…it’s bound to get old soon. I need to start looking for a new favorite to try. Starting after the transplant, people aren’t allowed to bring any food in, at least until my counts come back up to a certain point. I’ll be on a Neutropenic diet in the mean time. No fresh fruit, unless it can be completely peeled by someone outside of the room. [Weird. I don’t get it either.] Veggies have to be steamed. So really, I think I’ll just stick to ice cream.
Tomorrow is the big day. At around 4 in the morning, they begin increasing my fluids to help prepare for the transplant. Then, at around 10, they will bring my stem cells up and start the transplant…it essentially looks like a transfusion. They will connect the pump to my trifusion line and will begin pumping those babies right back into me.
My night nurse and I were talking about the process last night and she said that the preservative that they put with the stem cells while they are freezing them is what is likely to cause any yucky side effects. For example…it can cause stomach cramping, diarrhea (yay!), and get this…she said that I will either smell like canned cream corn or possibly garlic. Umm…no thank you. I’ll stick to my Amber Oil. I asked how long that lovely “stench” should last and she said maybe 2 days or so. The more you shower, the faster it will go away. Well, friends. I may be in the shower for the 48 hours after I’m done with the transplant. This girl is not going to smell like garlic.
Depending on how many stem cells they are putting back in, determines how long the process will take. The nurse said that if she had to guess, she would say probably 2-3 hours. Once those 2-3 hours are up, this girl has a new birthday! Look at me, all fancy and stuff. I’ve got two birthdays.
The nurses and doctors come in and celebrate with a cake…these people are right up my alley. I love cake. And I love birthdays. And I hate cancer. So really, whole day is like happiness wrapped up in a pretty package (that may or may not spell like creamed corn)…I get cake, a new birthday, cancer is GONE [hopefully]!
The days following the transplant are the ones that sound like the doozies. Dr. Matthew’s said that I will probably be feeling pretty crummy by the end of the week, leading into next week. So we’ve got that to look forward to…In other news, Dr. Matthews has finished his rounding for the month. There are three doctors that rotate…whoever is assigned for that month rounds every.single.day. for all three doctors’ patients. That’s some crazy rounding. I will admit, I was pretty sad when I realized it was April 30 because that meant no more daily visits form Dr. Matthews. I love him. He makes me laugh…and we give each other a hard time.
So now, one of his partners is rounding for May. He is a riot too. He’s a cowboy. Comes struttin’ in here every morning with his cowboy boots on and his accent goin’. I’ve only had him for two days, but so far, so good. Dr. Matthews mentioned that he was going to come up for my party tomorrow…I hope he will. He’s the reason we’re celebrating. That guy, along with Dr. Stone, have saved my life. Ahh. Bless them.
As for visitors…we’re encouraged to take it easy with few visitors for the next week or so, at least. As much as I would LOVE to see everyone, I really need to hang tight and focus on healing. But, keep the texts coming…I smile every time I get one.
However, it’s coming to an end! I
can will handle it. And I will bust out of this joint and will run all the way home with tears streaming down my face as I finally get to squeeze my babies so darn tight.
Here are some pictures I’ve gotten throughout the week. Aren’t they sweet? He wants to be just like his sister. The last pictures, where they are eating popsicles. Melt my heart. [Pun intended.]
One more thing…these little guys again. They are my superheroes. They are the reason that I will fight…and I will win. I hope that later on down the road, they will be able to look back at this time in our life and realize how strong their mama was. I don’t always feel it now…but I’m hoping and praying they will see it.
Speaking on strength, I’ll leave you with this…
…Had I not been diagnosed back in November, I would be a completely different person. A person who took for granted what she had. A person who didn’t know how much it meant to show support and kindness to everyone. I wouldn’t have met and reconnected with people that have absolutely changed my life…had I not been diagnosed. What a blessing. Who knew so many blessings could come out of something so evil?