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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Chemo Eve

Twas the night before chemo and all through the house, we all lay in bed praying the chemo would pass. The car is gassed up and ready for the day, I hope this time's different to give us a break.

I know, pretty cheesy but I just couldn't help myself. It was probably Baby Girl singing Jingle Bells yesterday that made me think of Twas the night before Chemo. I've made it to Mom's to spend the night. Tomorrow will be an early start. We'll go to radiation at 8:00 and then off to chemo at 9:00. I'm sure it will feel like a full days work by noon. I hope we're home by then.

This week has definitely had it's ups and downs. Mom was pretty tired both Monday and Tuesday. We did go to that make-up thing called Look Better, Feel Good. There was a woman there with her daughter. She's fighting breast cancer. Her daughter is probably 14 or 15ish. Both her and her husband were diagnosed with cancer within a week apart. Can you imagine?

Anyway, Mom got a bunch of really cool FREE make-up and skin care products from Clinique, Mary Kay and such, probably a $200 to $300 value, pretty nifty. With 2 doctor appts and work that day, Mom was dragging. But what did her in were the hard folding chairs. I knew she wouldn't make it through the 2 hour make-up class sitting in those chairs. The radiation has really done a number on her, making sitting a problem. So after an hour, we left.

Wednesday, she went to work and when she made it home, she crashed. Thursday and Friday were great. Besides the increasing tenderness from radiation, she felt good and was looking forward to enjoying the weekend.

Oh, forgot to mention, her hair continued to fall out all week long. Mornings were pretty hard. I think every morning she hoped it would stop, but it didn't. Hair continued to fall out everywhere. She'd leave a trail of hair from the bed, to the bathroom, on the couch, to the car. She continually ran her fingers through her hair pulling out handfuls. She didn't even notice how much she messed with it and attempting to fix it each morning left her really upset. By Thursday, her hair looked like one of those barbie dolls with chunks of hair gone and only strands of hair left. We went wig shopping on Thursday, Little Man gave a really good account of our shopping experience, check it out at http://www.sirtalksawholelot.blogspot.com

After a couple of good days, we all had high hopes for the weekend. She really deserved a great weekend before chemo. But she woke up nauseous. I'm not sure if it's chemo, radiation, or nerves anticipating Monday's next round of chemo. Whatever it was from, she didn't feel good like the two days before. She finally gave up on her hair and let Dad give her a buzz cut. That was pretty traumatic. I can't imagine the initial shock of looking in the mirror. Needless to say, it was a rough morning. Her burns stretch from the inside of her thighs to her butt and everywhere in between which left her miserable for the complete day. And if that wasn't bad enough, the stress and worry of Chemo Monday pushed her closer to a complete meltdown.

She's had a little diarrhea over the past couple days, but not bad. She told me Saturday afternoon that it was beginning to strike with more urgency and she was worried that she might not make it to the bathroom. As I said before, the burns from the radiation really have become intense this week so she's ditched her panties. Remember, she's only wearing dresses and skirts b/c pants hurt too bad. She says without panties, it's kinda breezy. Dad says that we can all show her support by not wearing underwear too. Hubby says it works for him. . . go figure. Anyway, Mom was in the kitchen Saturday evening, diarrhea hit and she couldn't make it to the bathroom. It got all over her clothes, the floor, pretty much everywhere. She was horrified. Definitely one of the hardest things about this disease is the loss of control over your body, emotions and mind.

Speaking of mind, there really is something to chemo brain. I'm not sure if it's the actual chemo, stress, exhaustion or a combination of it all that affects you, but it is noticeable. She'll ask a question and then ask the same question a few minutes later. She's also losing words. Saturday while watching gymnastics on TV she asked, "What is that thing they're on?" It was the balance beam. She said concentrating at work is tough and most of the time around people, she's pretty quiet. She zones out often which worried me. I finally asked her if she was just too upset to talk or if the fatigue and meds had her comatose. She said most of the time, she's comatose, maybe that's a good thing. Chemo brain is very real and was discussed recently at http://www.colonclub.com/ just click on Colon Talk at the top and scroll down to the post about chemo brain.

Sunday was better. Imodium stopped the diarrhea. She came into town on a mission to find underwear, going without is just too scary at this point. My best friend and I joined her on the mission. My bf found some really soft silky panties and with a little work, I think they'll do. She bought size large so it'll fit loose. We're going to cut the elastic out around the legs, so that hopefully it will just hang and not irritate the burns on the inside of her thighs. We all agreed that we need to design undergarments for those going through radiation, there's definitely a need and market there. Also, bf brought us some gels and lotions for burns from her work. One was aloe with Novocaine to numb the burns on the inside of her thighs. It works great! After listening to my whiny butt till late Saturday night, bf said that she woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the burn cream. She text me early Sunday morning and said she'd get the stuff from work and meet me in town.

I must confess, I still haven't prayed. Bf thinks I'm angry with God about this whole ordeal and she maybe right. I can't really explain exactly why, but when I go to pray I just can't find words. I'm relying on when in dark points in your life, God carries you through not b/c how much faith you have or how much you've prayed, but just b/c he loves you and said he'd never leave you or forsake you. I haven't felt alone through any of this and maybe like this song on the CD my bf let me borrow (she somehow knew from the beginning I'd need it), It says, "This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise is that when everything fails, you'll be held." I might have a few words wrong, but you get the gist of it. I've also thought of the one set of footprints in the sand, through the hardest parts of your life, He carries you. I think that's the only way me, dad, and especially mom is making it through. This whole cancer experience brings new definition to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. At this point there's not been a sudden healing and so we continue to watch Mom go through 14 more hits of radiation and 1 more chemo for her healing. Bf brought me 2 more praise and worship Cd's today. We've been friends since 3rd grade. She's been there for me through several really tough times, but I think this takes the cake. I'm not sure how I'd make it through this without her.

Okay, it's past midnight on Chemo Eve, so here's to having a better chemo tomorrow and to all a goodnight. (sorry, had to do it :)