Well, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now…I’m home! And all is right in the world. Well, a few things are right. This world is a crazy place, so we’ve still got some work to do.
Regardless, I am home with my babies! I got out last Tuesday, early afternoon, and boy, what a glorious day it was! I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to be coming home then, it really just depended on how my counts were that morning, how I was feeling, etc. So when Dr. Mathews came in that morning and asked if I was ready to go home, he noticed all of my stuff was already packed and just started laughing. Am I ready go home?! I was ready three weeks ago when I checked in!
Now that it’s all said and done, the three weeks I was in the hospital was really pretty good. And it went by relatively quickly…at least for how I was expecting it to go. Apparently they set you up by telling you the worst of the worst that could happen…and I’m thankful for that.
Once again, my nurses were amazing. Truly amazing. I know there’s gotta be a bad one or two out there, but I have yet to find them. I had many nurses multiple times throughout my stay. It was nice to have familiar faces toward the end of my stay. Some I clicked with more than others, but every one of them blessed me and took care of me…and I am so thankful for that.
I did end up spending Mother’s Day in the hospital. I knew I would…but a tiny piece of me kept hoping I would get released in time for Mother’s Day. Alas, we celebrated at the hospital, minus the little bambinos. My mom, Mimi, Lexi, Chris, and Danny came up for a while and then my neighbor Michelle came to spend the night. Thanks for spending Mother’s Day with me, Michelle. 🙂
The Friday before Mother’s Day, the kiddos had a Mother’s Day Tea at their school…and they sent me some precious pictures. Oh I wanted to squeeze them so badly! Their school has been absolutely amazing. It makes my heart so happy that they take the time throughout the week to send pictures to me since they know I can’t be there.
Harper has been begging for her daddy to take her on a play date…when you ask her what that means, she says it’s where she doesn’t go to school and you go and do something fun together. Two weeks ago, Harper had her kindergarten screening on Monday morning, so Daddy took the day off and they had a play date. They went to the pool (it was freezing), played in the back yard, and then went and played at a place called CooCoos (ball pit pictures) and wandered around downtown Frisco. Hud didn’t get to go on the play date, but he definitely hasn’t been missing out on any lovin’…that boy gets SO much love.
A few Saturday’s ago, Hudson and Danny got to go celebrate Emmy’s first birthday. It broke my heart not being able to go, but I’m so glad Hud and Danny made it. In case you’re forgetting, Hudson and Emmy are getting married a few years down the road. We love Hud’s future in laws (they are some of our best friends), and Emmy’s grandparents are a-ma-zing! Not to mention, Hud and Emmy will give us some GORGEOUS grandkids…so that’s a plus. Happy Birthday, sweet Emmy! We love you, precious girl!
So, apparently we live in a small world. Sara was one of my dear friends growing up. We went to elementary, middle school, and high school together. We haven’t talked much since we graduated, but have kept up with each other through Facebook. Well, while I was in the hospital, I get a message from her saying, “Hey girl, I just ran into your dad…in Maui.” What?! How is that even possible? My dad was in Maui for a work trip. What are the chances that they are at the same resort? And then, how did they end up meeting each other? It just so happens that Sara’s husband, Ryan, works for the same company and they were on the same trip. Crazy, huh? My dad and his friend were walking around the resort and Sara saw that my dad was wearing a Team Ashley shirt. She walked up to him and asked how he knew me. Then she asked if she could give him a hug…in Hawaii. Such a small world.
And now…for my favorite day ever [so far]. In a post or two ago, I talked about how Amy made Harper a calendar for her to cross of the days until I came home. Like I said then, we over shot in hopes that it would end up being sooner and she would be surprised. So when it actually came time for me to come home, we still had like 8 more days to go, according to her calendar.
That morning, she was getting ready for school and decided to count how many days were left…she counted 8 and then got sad and said that was a really big number. So needless to say, she had no idea it was happening that day…and she needed her mama.
Getting discharged from the hospital normally takes a good amount of time…no one seems to be in a hurry to get you out. But apparently, we must have looked eager. Once Dr. Mathew’s came in, things started rolling. The nurse kept coming in and giving an update. Then, she unhooked me and took my poll away! Whoooo! I will not miss that darn poll. Not ever. Not one bit. I was so tired of dragging that darn poll behind me, I couldn’t stand it! No more pole!
Danny got the car packed while I got all cleaned up and bandaged. Then we went through the discharge papers and, man! They sure know how to scare you. They go through “these are all of the symptoms you could experience”, “these things could possibly happen”, and “if _____ happens, come to the emergency room immediately”. Maybe I wasn’t ready to go home…
JUST KIDDING! Yes I was! Once I was released, I said goodbye to my nurses (without any tears) and then I got to go outside for the first time in three weeks. The fresh air was amazing! And the best part, I got to walk out…I didn’t have to be taken in a wheel chair. Fantastic.
Unlike during all the rounds of chemo, I didn’t get pictures with all of my nurses. One, I looked like I crawled out of the sewer most days, and two, I felt like I had been run over by a truck…so I ended up with very few pictures. The few that I got, I love.
I will forever be grateful for Dr. Stone, Dr. Mathews, and for all of the incredible nurses I’ve had throughout this entire process. Each and every one of them made it so much easier for me to get through this whole thing. Without them, I wouldn’t have smiled as much. I wouldn’t have fought as hard. And I wouldn’t have made some very good friends.
Fortunately we were able to get home before Harper and Hud got home from school. I had butterflies. No, something bigger. I had like monkeys or something. My stomach was going nuts. I couldn’t wait to hold them. And I couldn’t wait to see Harper’s face. Unfortunately, since I don’t pay monthly for this blog, I can’t upload any videos…only pictures. The videos from the “surprise” are on my Facebook. But here are the pictures we were able to get. Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to see all of our neighbors right then. I had BIG plans of us all hanging out late into the night, taking fun pictures, etc…but by the time it was like 5:30, I was absolutely exhausted. My body was SO tired. It took everything I had to keep my eyes open until 6.
I’m not sure if you can tell or not…but in the picture on the bottom right…there is so.much.joy.and.love. I was about to explode! I will never forget what I felt at that moment.
I was hiding in the room right at the front of the house. Amy brought the kiddos in, and then once they were inside, I slowly walked out of the room. Harper turned around and then immediately ran to me, jumped in my arms, and started telling me about her day. It was like we hadn’t missed a beat. Kids are so darn resilient–and I’m so thankful for that. Hud looked at me and quickly ran the other way…I knew I should have been holding some type of snack…he would have been all mine.
We, of course, let both kids sleep in our bed because I just couldn’t handle it. I just wanted to be close to them. Did I sleep well? No, not really. But it didn’t matter…I was next to my babies.
Since I’ve been home, it’s been a little up and down. Overall, things have been going well. Everything I’ve experienced has been “normal”, considering the circumstances. I’ve been experiencing some serious fatigue. Man. I get up and walk to the kitchen and I feel like I’ve just climbed Mount Everest, except I’m not cold.
My stomach has been bothering me off and on, but nothing like it was in the hospital. More than anything, I’m just ex-haus-ted. I’ve got to remember to take it slow…and to do whatever I can to avoid getting sick. To get sick right now would be really bad for business. So, I wear masks when I’m around a bunch of people, especially kids. At first I was totally against wearing a mask out in public because I look like a doofus and it calls attention to me…but you know what? It’s not worth getting sick. A mask it is.
I’ve been back to the doctor three times since I’ve been released. I get blood work each time and meet with Dr. Mathews just about every other time. Oh! And when I went to see him last Thursday, I asked when I could have my
friend enemy (trifusion) removed…and I was expecting him to say a month or so, because that’s what we had talked about in the past. His response…”You want it out tomorrow?” I almost fell over. Since I still have my port, he’s okay with the trifusion coming out. If I need fluids, a transfusion or anything, they can access my port. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the trifusion because it saved me getting stuck with needles hundreds of times. However, that darn thing was so uncomfortable. And since I got home from the hospital, it’s really been bothering me. Hud’s head bonked it a couple times and that just made it worse. I couldn’t wait to get it taken out. So, Dr. Mathews worked some magic, and I got to have it taken out the next day.
I will say, the process of having it taken out was much more painful than having it put in. I’m not sure why, because they numbed it just the same…but ouch! I was very curious to see it once they were done taking it out. I got very excited and the doctor asked if I wanted to take it home…Um, of course! I mean, I know that’s probably weird…which is probably why he looked a little confused when I said yes…but I thought it was interesting. That darn tube went up in my neck and then way down inside my chest. So crazy. Here’s a picture. Don’t mind the little piece of skin on the right side…my skin had grown around it and they had to cut it out. (If you’ve got a weak stomach, sorry. I should have warned you.)
So now that that’s taken out, I was all excited assuming I’d be able to swim once the wound healed. Nope. Three months. Bummer. They said there are just too many risks being in a pool and not knowing what is in there. Try explaining that to Hud. Uh oh.
Moving on…Yesterday morning was Harper’s pre-school graduation. Surprisingly enough, I had not thought about her graduating in months. It had been so far out of my mind, that when Amy mentioned it, it really caught me off guard. Graduation? Huh? It hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a chance I would miss it. So once I knew it was Thursday the 25th, I knew I had to be out by then. There was no way I was going to miss that, God-willing.
And you know what?
I got to be there. It may not seem like a huge deal, but it meant the world to me to be there. Where was Danny, you ask? Well, he had jury duty on Monday…and of course, was selected as one of the 12 jurors on a murder trial. Fabulous. I’m assuming the defense liked his smile and assumed he was nice and would let the guy off easy. Sucker. Fortunately, after what seemed like a long week in the court room, it ended up as a mistrial, so he was free as of yesterday. And by “free”, I mean, he gets to go back to work after almost missing an entire week. That should be fun.
After graduation, I headed to Dr. Mathew’s office for blood work and an appointment. I ended up having to wait a little over 2 hours, whoo hoo! But as always, I enjoyed my appointment with him. We laughed, I cried…you know, the normal.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety. Or I guess I should say, a lot more than usual. It’s like all of the emotions that I haven’t been expressing throughout this whole “journey” were forcing themselves out now. I tried putting what I was feeling into words, and I just couldn’t. The other night, I was trying to put Harper’s carseat in the car so we could head to a graduation party. I struggled. And continued struggling. And I felt like at any second, I was going to lose my ever lovin’ mind…for no good reason. I just wanted to cry. I didn’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, nothing.
Over the last few days I’ve been telling Danny when I’m feeling anxious…and he always asks what I’m anxious about. I can never answer him. It’s the strangest thing. I feel like there are a million different things swirling around in my head, but I can’t ever put it into words and get them out.
Because of this, I asked Dr. Mathews if I could up my anxiety medication for the time being. (I’ve been on Xanax since I was diagnosed. A very low dose…but on it consistently, none the less.) I don’t want to be on a higher dose forever, but for now, I feel like I need something to help calm myself down.
Several months ago, I was reading a blog of a lady who had been through a similar process, but hers was much more severe. It started out as breast cancer, came back in her brain, etc. It was a much harder journey than mine has been. She wrote about how once she was finally in remission and things were good, she sank into a deep depression and her anxiety went up. That just didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t make sense of it in my head. You’re done with treatment…you’re now in remission…and now you’re depressed? And anxious? Now is the time you should be happy, grateful, thrilled…anything but depressed and anxious. You’re healthy! You’ve made it through the hard part.
I just didn’t get it. Until now.
Exactly what she described…is exactly what I’m feeling. And I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. I feel like I’m on pins and needles almost constantly.
When I was trying to describe it to Dr. Mathews, he started asking me different questions about why I could be feeling that way. Do you feel bad for taking time away from your family? No. Do you feel sad for missing time with your kids? No. (I mean, I do, but that’s not why I was feeling this way.)
And then, he asked, “Do you feel guilty?” Ding ding ding. That’s the million dollar question. I don’t think that’s all of why I’m feeling this way, but that definitely is part of it. Why guilty? Well. Just as of this past week, there’s a list of people I know, either directly, or through other people, who are currently battling cancer. They’re battling cancer, and they haven’t responded the way that I have. They are struggling. One of them is two years old. Another is 11. Another is just over 30, like me. Another, mid-40s. All with families, the adults with several kids. Why is it that my body responded perfectly [essentially], and they aren’t having that same success? They’re all such incredible people. Two of them are children. It’s just not fair. And it makes me mad/angry/furious.
As I explained myself through tears, Dr. Mathews said this…”You can’t question God. I’m telling you this because I know you’re a christian. You can’t question Him. He put you in this place for a reason. He made this outcome specifically for you. There’s a reason…and you have to believe that.” He’s a smart man, I tell you. I appreciate him taking the time to figure out what the heck was wrong with me…and reminding me who’s in control.
I still don’t understand…and I’m still angry. But as for myself…I was reminded that He did this for a reason. He is using me to tell a story. I’m not sure where my story will go from here…but I’ve been able to tell one heck of a story so far. I hope someone is blessed by my story. As for the other people I’ve referenced that are currently battling…I will continue to pray for them and for their stories. Their stories aren’t over yet. Hang on tight…it’s a wild ride, and you’re not done yet. Keep fighting.
Thank you for the continued prayers. We feel them.