Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sleepless nights.

This chemo has been a rough one for me. I guess I feel like I have hit "the wall" in a race and am having a hard time trying to pick up and finish up.

I have felt ill from day one of this chemo. I know that my body is just tired and run down and is doing the best it can for me, but it's a rough one. I was nauseated for the first three days after this chemo, which I haven't been from the last two treatments. And then like clock work on Sunday, the old lady crept into my body and has been in charge ever since.

Yesterday I felt particularly sick, but I had things to do so I sucked it up and went out. K and I had to get a few last minute school supplies (which I forgot the list at home so that was pointless - Thank you Mom and Dad Atwood who went out today and picked them up for me!!). We did have fun though, the two of us girls... who am I kidding, I felt awful and was really short with her. Luckily she loves me and just kept smiling over her little glasses. But we did share some really good chocolate, a cheese bun and she got to have a cookie.

After we had supper we went outside for Family Home Evening to play a little game and when we went outside I was freezing. Yay. I thought it was maybe just because I hadn't been out all day and it was pretty warm.

We came in, bathed the kids and got them ready for bed. I came with C into his room to settle him and get him to sleep, and I thought I might be able to catch a few winks myself, so that I would have enough energy to stay up for a while and visit. Well, he farted around the whole time and I was trying to keep curled up in his blankets because I was cold. Eventually I left and went and grabbed my house coat, slippers and the thermometer. If I go above 38 degrees, I have to go to the hospital. I checked it and I was 37.8. Last time we did this dance I was just 38 so this time I wanted to wait until it was legit to go. About a half an hour later I checked again and I was 38.2. I honestly just wanted to crawl into my bed and get some sleep, but I knew we couldn't risk not going. So, Ken and I grabbed our books (Hunger Games!!) and headed up.

When we first got there they did all the vital stuff at the desk, bp, pulse and temp. When the nurse took my temp and I was 37.7 - and really annoyed. We should have just stayed home.

They got me in right away to the wonderful isolation room and we started the whole process of elimination. Listen to the lungs, 7 vials of blood, a urine sample and a chest x-ray. A while later they checked my temp again and I was 38.8. So not a total waist of time! After 3 hours, we found out that my counts were good enough, and there was no sign on infection. The Dr said it could have been a drug fever and just keep an eye on myself. If I felt blah blah blah blah blah, or blah blah blah, come back up. This is not a slight against the hospital at all. They were awesome and didn`t make me feel like it was all in my head... but I was just so tired.

Came home, and couldn't sleep... of course. And tonight is the same. My feet are cold, which happens when I get sick, my temp is 37.7 again but I have some drugs on board which makes me wonder if it is actually higher or if I am really ok. I know I am not going to the hospital right now that`s for sure. I have been laying around restlessly since 12:30am, just after I finished up my book.

The Tylenol and Advil don`t seem to be helping at all and I keep getting juts of pain throughout my body... mostly in my legs, but also my jaw. I am hot and cold and just want to sleep... again! So, I resorted to whining about it online to help pass the time and take my mind off not feeling so hot. Sorry!!

I thought about going outside with a huge warm blanket and willing the cool, soft grass up between my toes. But I think I am mentally disturbed from reading The Hunger Games so I just want to stay in the house. Great books though, so gory and twisted that you can`t put them down. So here I lay, in C`s bed because he is in mine, sweating on his mattress cover (how do kids sleep on these horrible things that don`t allow your body to breath) will Ken`s wool socks pulled up to my knees, bald and tired. I am just so hot, physically I mean, the way I look, that I amaze myself! ;) Even at 3am I am a specimen to behold!

The last CHEMO!

I guess now's as good a time as any to blog. I, am yet again, behind.

The greatest thing that happened this time after chemo was that my Mom showed up, unbeknownst to me. I was totally shocked and so exited to see her. She said, "I was here for the first, I couldn't miss the last!" It was so nice. I know I have not been through this alone, but, it was so special that she came all the way to see me. She had flowers from my Gramma for me, a beautiful ceramic gift of the Savior and we shared some lunch. I'll never forget how amazing I felt because of her kindness and love. And I know that many of you were with me that day too!

I am still not done at the hospital though, I will finish up 14 more treatments of Herceptin and then I should be good to go!

I start radiation on September 22 and will go until the 31 of October. I have very mixed feelings about being away from Ken and the kids, but I know it is the last major leg in this journey so I just need to "get 'er done"! And when I get home, the Christmas tree is going up!! Hope Ken reads this before too long so he can prep. :) I am craving the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" feeling... wonder why...

Friday, August 12, 2011

The bare bones.

We all like to look our best. We all like to feel our best. And we usually try and present our best to the world who views us. Because I want to be so open and so honest about this journey, I have decided to show you what I truly look like right now. I am embarrassed to show you, but this is who I try to hide everyday.

It is a far cry from the girl with the long hair in her first chemo picture... even the girl who sported her new short do! This girl is sad, and sore and you'll see why she has a hard time finding herself in there.

I don't know if I can wear makeup anymore, it honestly hurts my skin so much. My eyes are so sore and red, and the dry skin around my mouth makes it hard to smile sometimes. It literally feels like my face is going to crack.

My face has never been so round in my life, even when I gained 60 pounds with my first babe, it looked very different from this face. The lower half of my face was fuller, not through my cheek bones and such.

Oh well, just a bit longer...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thank you to all.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who think of us. I know I have said this before, but I truly mean it. We couldn't survive without your prayers, encouraging words, love and comments for us. You keep us going, and keep our life real right now. Know that we are wrapping our arms around you and giving you a hug, even if we don't know you, we can feel of your strength.

Thank you... many times over.

Today is new.

I have been really selfish as of late. And I am very blessed that I have had the opportunity to be this way. Currently my Mom and poor Dad have the kids. I could be using this time to do laundry, clean my house, organize closets, call friends, write thank you cards, serve someone else in need, exercise, make freezer meals... I think the list is pretty endless. So what have I been doing? Whatever the heck I want!

Ken and I have had some great one on one time together. To talk, to reconnect, to discuss fears and anxieties, to laugh and hold one another. Our lives seem so busy with everyone around and we have neglected each other in all that is going on. Trying to keep our kids as happy and entertained as we can. We could NEVER do any of this without help and are beyond grateful for all that has been done for us... but we miss being us. Our family. Our kids. Our home.

I honestly don't know how my amazing husband does it. How do you kiss a bald, yet sprouty head, good bye in the morning and really feel completely in love with this human being? How can you look at someone who you once thought was so beautiful (I am assuming he thought this, maybe I shouldn't) and not really see any of them in the face they have? How do you see beyond the flaking dry skin, swollen face, red and sore eyes? I don't know. But I know he does. And I know he loves me no matter what disfigured Disney creature I look like. He has told me he loves my bald head and all 5 of my eyelashes. He often counts to see if I have lost anymore. I have more than five, but I am sure less than 10.

Enough of that blab. So I have been doing whatever I want. On Monday I lay in bed, listening to the rain and thunder outside the bedroom window. Although it was "dreary", my soul longed for it. The rain was so powerful and so cleansing. I did stay in bed most of that day, but it felt so good. Just to be able to listen and to smell was what my spirit needed. And I read a lot.

Tuesday I did a road trip with some great gf's and we shopped. It was fun to get away from the house although my body was in total pain, it was good to be out.

Wednesday, I stayed in bed until 4pm. It was just what I needed. I am sure I showered before Ken got home and made our hamster nest. I napped and read a lot that day too. My body has been sore and I have been tired. I feel like I should be doing something, but I am honestly just taking every advantage of my babies being away to rest and not worry about silly things. I planned on going on the treadmill but never got around to it.

Today, I felt rather great! I had a horrible sleep, I am sick of taking pain meds, so I wait and lie there awake thinking that the ache will stop soon and rest will come. It doesn't and eventually I choke something back and wait for the pain to stop - THEN, I am able to drift into sleep. So, although I had a horrible sleep, I woke up at 9:30am and felt "rather great"! I got my rear out of bed and put on my running shoes and hopped on the treadmill. For the first 15 minutes, every step hurt, but I tried not to compare my current state to when I could run a 10 minute mile and think that I should still be able to accomplish that. Because right now I can't. So walking is just as good.

After my walk, I ate a healthy breakfast and then climbed back into bed and read my book for a couple of hours. Again, the ache was there and I took forever to decide to choke some more meds back and then decided I should shower. The water was so warm and I could not resist filling up the tub with an amazing milk bath that my gf M gave me in March. Ginger nutmeg... made me crave fall. And I don't know why I haven't used it sooner. I am not usually one for baths. But the water helped soothe my body and my spirit yet again.

I feel hopeful that the next two week before cycle 6 will be great. I feel that I will feel more like me and less like whoever the heck is looking at me in the mirror. I am getting excited as we are wrapping up chemo, to find "me" again, and truly let her shine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I am sorry for not being so current. There are many reasons why I have been avoiding the updates of my blog. On the brighter side, we have been really, really busy and I just don't feel like I have time.

The other reason is that I just don't want to be honest about how I feel right now. I know I am over the hump as far as chemo, but I miss my old body... even if it was overweight. At least I knew what to expect and what it did... now it is just a mess and a guessing game that I don't have time for. Nothing works like it used to it seems.

I have been feeling really down about my self image. I REALLY hate looking in the mirror. I dread looking at my "normal", un-make-up'd face, it's awful. I HATE seeing my body and what I have done to it. I totally dislike staring there for minutes wondering "What could I do today to make me look and feel more like me" when all I want to do it crawl back into bed and pull the sheets up over my head and shut the world out... letting my kids come in to tell me something cute or funny, or even angry because "so-in-so kicked me in the face", or just to give me a hug and tell me they love me. And I don't want Ken to see me like this anymore - there is nothing attractive about me when I don't feel like doing "me" up.

I am not saying all of this to get sympathy comments, that is why else I haven't wanted to tell you all how I feel. I don't want to hear that I am still so beautiful. I guess I should post a picture of what I really look like so you all know what I really see.

I do like to look at old pictures because I can still, deep down in there somewhere, see the old me. The girl who I will become again. The healthy one, who loved life and loved to move.

One thing that I do more often is laugh louder than I used to. It feels good. And I laugh more often! (Unless it is one of Ken's cheesy jokes) ;) Love you babe! It just makes the moments feel so real. And is one of the greatest doses of medicine. And I LOVE holding my man's hand while we watch our kids dance around, laugh and play with each other. And right now I find nothing more romantic that having one of our babes, crawl between us and sleep with us as we hold hands around their little head... thinking that the love that we have for one another, brought this precious (most of the time) child into our lives.

I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of my feelings and how I feel. I know that he blesses our lives in many other ways, other than with looks and how I perceive myself. He blesses us with you and your calls and your thoughtfulness and you love and support. And that means so much.

You like how I turned all that bad blab crap around at the end there???

Chemo and intimacy...

Told you I'd tell it all. Well, let me sum it up for you. This is how often I feel like being intimate:

(insert drugs for period picture here - the blank one that shows nothing)

Yup, SO exciting I know. Just ask Ken, well don't.

This is a list of the reason why I feel this way:

* I'm fat

* I keep gaining weight

* I am tired

* I am bald and have really ugly chemo sprouts growing on the top of my head... seriously looks like I am growing alfalfa or something... sexy

* I am missing part of what I felt like makes me a beautiful woman

* I have less than 16 eyelashes now

* I have a few more eyebrows but still pretty sparse

* My face is dry and cracking, it looks like really nice

All of this so far is pointing to "Please DON'T even LOOK AT ME LET ALONE TOUCH ME!!!"

* I hardly put on makeup because I wonder what the point is - does it even make a difference. The fake eyelashes hurt my eyes because of the glue, but I so desperately want to wear them. My eye liner hurts my eyes, and often makes them water so I end up rubbing it off anyways. My foundation cracks into my dry skin and highlights the fact even more that I have some major problem areas. The corners of my eye lids are also dry and cracking, but if I don't I look really sick... huge purple bags around my eyes and a slight "looks like I've been crying all night" puffiness to them.

* I don't want my body to be touched

* I don't want my body to be looked at

* I don't want my scar to be touched or looked at

* I don't want my poor hubby to miss who I used to be and yearn for her

And intimacy aside, most of these reasons make me not want to leave the house. I don't want people to judge why I am overweight or even look at me. That doesn't stop me from going out bald sometimes because it is too damn hot to wear a wig and/or a hat in the summer!

I know this is just a period of time...

The others.

I don't know if it was just yesterday when I went to get my blood taken, or if it is truly how people are starting to feel. But most people in the chemo room looked tired. I look tired. It made my heart ache to see the bit of struggle in their eyes.... that most common smile missing. Exhaustion and maybe a bit of frustration set in. Please pray for them. I don't know their names, but our Father in Heaven knows who you'll be praying for.

The one sweet man who is usually on the same days as me, has to skip for a week until he starts to feel better. I was sitting by his wife who was leaning over close to her husband as she asked if I had a cold. "Yes," I said, "but I am getting better." "That is why I am leaning over this way a bit," was her remark. I felt so bad that I could have got them sick, and he is already not feeling up to par.

I brought W with me yesterday too. He has been having a really hard time with all of this. He worries a LOT. He gets a LOT of tummy aches and often asks what kind of cancer he could get. "Mom, do kids get cancer?" "Can you get eye cancer?" He has some dry scalp and Ken and I were picking at it and he wondered "Is it skin cancer?" Yesterday we were driving home from the hospital and he asked "Can I get leg cancer?" "How old was Terry Fox when he died?" "I wish you never got cancer..." THAT breaks my heart. I want him to worry about how many days until he goes back to school, where his fave toy is that C hid on him, when he'll get to play X-Box, why he has to eat cereal all the time for breakfast... I just want him to be a kid and worry about kid stuff. Not adult crap! Please pray for my little man. He needs it more than me I think.