In Sickness and in Health

Battling cancer with love, medicine, and the Giver of both.

Prayer Warriors

I am again overwhelmed by all the prayers sent up on our behalf.  A thank-you is simply not adequate, but I say it anyways, as I don’t know what else to do.  I’d just like to ask all you prayer warriors to pray for two specific requests:

1. I guess I’m struggling with some fear that since last round was extra rough, these next rounds will not be fun and may even be a steady decline.  I know…I’ve been told by medical personnel that this is not necessarily true.  Some rounds are just worse than others, but my worrisome side remembers those stories from other cancer patients who digressed towards the end of their treatments.

2. Every Tuesday after chemo finds me once again trudging into the Infusion Center to receive my Neulasta shot.  Often by the weekend I am feeling bone pain which means my white cell counts are dropping and my shot is kicking in causing my bone marrow to produce more cells.  Hence my bone pain.  Sometimes it’s in my femurs; sometimes low back; sometimes in arms and hands; sometimes in chest and ribs.  (it’s sorta like that pain when you were an adolescent and your bones were growing fast)  Usually it’s very manageable with some tylenol or prescribed Tramadol (Ultram) but this last round I had horrible bone pain in my chest.  They warned me that the sternum is a likely target for the pain since it is a bigger bone.  I struggled with this pain for a few days and slowly it went away.  I don’t exactly want this again.  It was miserable!

We are deeply grateful for your support!



The Great Crash and Chemo #10

Since I did horribly at posting this last round, and since I had chemo today, this post will be a double-whammy.  Here is what I wrote yesterday (Sunday):

This last round left quite a bit to be desired.  Chemo showed its ugly face once again but this time it made an extra grimace.  I had the normal symptoms the first week but some of them seemed worse.  (I guess I had been spoiled by some previously good rounds).  It must have been the day after day of extra physical drag that put my emotions on the downward spiral.  I did not realize I was running on empty until Saturday evening.  Then things sorta blew up and I sorta blew down.  Or something like that.  At any rate I had a meltdown.  My nerves were raw–like “touch me and your dead” raw. 😦  Grouchy like it was nobody’s business. I was so incredibly exhausted that about all I could think was, “I can’t go on.  I can’t go on.”

My exhaustion turned to anger at one point.  Most of the time I am very much at peace with God and have an underlying acceptance of what He is allowing but I have my moments when I just get completely sick of living this chemo life and see it in all its broken stupidity and I think, “Ok Lord, I’m done…I quit!”  As if I had a choice.  As if showing some “teeth” or gritty  stubbornness will erase the reality of the remaining treatments.  I was also angry because suddenly I felt like a pawn God was using to construct a nice little story for His benefit.  The heart can think terrible lies when the body is down.  I knew it wasn’t true–the exact opposite of truth, in fact.  The God who allowed this mess weeps with me.  But for a brief moment it felt true.

And…my emotions are still on the mend.  How can you laugh hysterically one day and weep the next?  I have decided with finality that I’m a little out of control.  I had a laughing fit last night that clearly showed I am quite unstable as of yet.  I think Josh thought I was dying.  I did too.

**I have to insert this.  Randall Strite (a former student) sent us a maze to pick our brains with.  Randall, it was your maze that started me on this crazy laughter.  You’re a genius by the way.  I had completed it before and was watching my husband figure it out.  He was struggling quite badly, which for some reason struck the innermost chords of hilarity in me.  He didn’t think it was funny.  Course that made it all the more funny and soon I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was still laughing when we went to bed.  My tummy hurt, I was gasping for air, and I couldn’t stop.  So, hats off to you, Randall, for giving me the most healthy “near death experience” I’ve ever had. 🙂  My poor husband.  He puts up with quite a bit these days.  I know of no other man more gracious!!

And now…for today’s update.  Was feeling tired already when I went in…not cool.  Not sure why.  Horrible last round?  Felt kinda upset in my stomach and just pretty tired.  Josh couldn’t make it today ’cause of school responsibilities.  Bless you, Vonnie, for going with me.  Thank-you!

It went like clockwork.  In at 8:30–out at 12:30.  Fastest ever I think.  When I’m on those steroids (decadron), I feel like I have a brain again. 🙂  I came home and talked the ear off my husband.  Then I said, “Ok…this is the last thing I’m gonna say.”  And in a few seconds, I found myself halfway into another story or comment before I remembered my resolution.  Do steroids have selective memory?  Hah!  Today I wondered what I’m gonna do once I can’t blame anything anymore on chemo or steroids.

The highlight of the day was when Naomi (my fellow cancer fighter) brought in the trio she sings with (The Threefold Chord–all from my church).  Seriously, I came home and told Josh I think that’s the best thing that’s ever happened in that center.  The nurses loved it, the patients were consoled, I fought to control tears, and the hospital photographer was capturing it with a huge grin on her face.  I couldn’t help but get goosebumps hearing Jesus being sung about in a place of sickness.  I watched the other patients closely and here’s what I saw:  There was a young looking man who I figured might be too young and wild to appreciate such things.  Shame on me!  Rather, at one point I saw him tip back his chair, snuggle under his blanket, grin, and tap out the rhythm with his fingers.  I saw another young patient (a girl this time) mouth to her friends, “Yeah, they’re really good.” 🙂

I hate reading long posts…sorry!  Until next time…


Ra, Ra

Jean had treatment 9 of 12 today. That a nice, round 75%.

I think we’re gonna make it.

(The title has nothing to do with the Egyptian sun god, but it remains quite sunny in VA these days.)
Jean just came off a good pre-chemo week and weekend. I never know exactly how she’s feeling, but from my perspective she had energy and spunk to boot, so we booted some of it by hanging out with my sister Drea and brother Christopher. They came Friday afternoon and left Saturday evening, and we had a jolly good time in between. Jean held up well even though we wasted most of Saturday afternoon at a Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan rally in Manassas. Not that we have any special feelings for the duo, but we figured since we were in town anyway, we would hang around for awhile. Then it became one of those “we’ve waited this long, so surely we can hang on a bit longer” kind of situations. By the time they actually showed up, our knees were locked, our feet ached, and our sweat glands were running on empty. But good things come to those who endure, and we endured.





In retrospect it was worth it, but I would need a good bit of cash up front before I’d do it again. For Romney anyway. Jean would need more than cash. For anybody.

Back to chemo. Jean is doing as well as can be expected. Her energy typically lasts for a day or so after the treatment. Then it’s hunker down while the drugs do their thing. Even after eight treatments it’s still painful to watch the transition from vivacious woman to withdrawn cancer patient. The wedding pictures on our walls remind us of a brief and irretrievable time when cancer, chemo, and shaved heads were far from reality. Change happens.

But God is with us. And today I thank him for a spunky wife and progress.