To save readers time, I’ll put the main health updates in bold.
I had to wait until Thursday to write this entry, after I was certain that my wonderful mother was on a plane to my nephew’s wedding this weekend. She is so kind and caring. She has been ready to jump on a plane and come take care of me since she heard the diagnosis. I did not want to miss Jared’s wedding, but I was determined to make sure my mom didn’t miss Jared and Danielle’s sacred ceremony. She told me that she could change her ticket at any time and she would be here.
I guess I was a little too confident and self-assured at my ability to escape germs at my point of highest vulnerability. Another lesson that was good to learn early on. Monday night, the end of day 8, postnasal drainage, sneezing, and other symptoms gained momentum throughout the night. I was getting a cold. Sickness and infection during days 7-10 was my biggest fear, yet it was happening. I called the cancer center’s weekend number to see what I could take. My actual doctor called me within 5 minutes. I was amazed and impressed, felt bad to disturb him on a holiday weekend, but greatly appreciated his prompt response. I could take Benedryl, and if I watched my temperature closely beforehand, could take Tylenol. Tylenol can mask infection, and keeping an awareness of my temperature was crucial. I’d been told before starting treatment that one of the most important things to have close at hand was a good thermometer. If my temperature ever reached 100.3, I was to immediately call the office.
Tuesday morning, Scott headed off to Detroit, Garrett headed back to Mississippi. Two more days of school until summer break! It was a good day to feel sick. My only plans for the day were to take a close friend’s family photo on her 50th birthday because her entire family was in town for that day. I knew I could rest all day if I needed to, and have plenty of energy to do the picture in the evening. I rested in bed all day, monitoring my temperature as the day went along. When I hit the magic 100.3, I called my “navigator” nurses, Sharlee & Claudia. They are angel women who hold your hand through the whole cancer process. Sharlee told me that the actual number we have to act on is 100.5, but they want to know if we hit 100.3 so we can all be really watchful. She said to push fluids and take Vitamin C. She called me before leaving work to see how I was doing, and told me that at any point in the night, if I hit 100.5, I needed to go to the ER so they could check my blood and do testing. My temperature fluctuated between 99.8 and 100.3 for the entire day. I had to cancel my only real plans for the day. Thankfully, I later learned that another friend was able to capture their photo. I was so thankful for that!
Courtney and Heath were in the middle of finals. I couldn’t wait for Courtney’s arrival home from school. I knew she would step in and be my “mom.” She was amazing. She placed a cool rag on my forehead, brought popsicles and drinks. She checked my temperature every few hours, and slept in my room so she would be nearby if I needed her. I know lots of big prayers were going up in my behalf, especially from Scott in Detroit. My temperature peaked at 100.4 around 9:00 p.m., never hitting the dreaded 100.5.
I woke up on Wednesday morning, day 10, fever free and full of energy. It was the last day of school, and the last day of early morning seminary at our house (a daily high school Bible Study class at 6:00 a.m.). I went for a run. I found some cans of orange rolls and biscuits in the fridge, quickly put them in the oven, added some white gravy (the easy Sam’s club mix), and we were set with a surprise last day of seminary snack. Later, Scott Jr. and I cleaned out the garage. Day 10 was an amazing day!
I am continually thankful for so many angels in my life. My angel friend Krista in Pennsylvania sent a new book that she loved. Day 9 in bed with a fever gave me a chance to start it…..I enjoyed it so much, I finished it the next day!! It was powerful, touching, and motivational. I’ll be passing it around my family this summer, but will gladly loan it to anyone nearby once it is available. “Heaven is Here,” by Stephanie Nielson. It came out in April 2012. Her book referred to a talk given by Jeffrey Holland, who is one of the 12 apostles in our church. The book mentioned that when he wrote this talk, he was mindful of the Nielson family’s challenges. It brought great strength to Stephanie, who is a walking miracle. My New Life is an 8 minute video that tells her story in brief. She later met Jeffrey Holland, and he told her something beautiful. From page 293:
“As we talked he told me to be proud of my scars. ‘We look for Christ’s scars because they are evidence of what He did for us. They’ll be the first things He shows us when we see Him again. Your scars tell a story, too. Although they may not make you feel attractive, they are a witness of a miracle, that God blessed you to live, and that you have accomplished very difficult things.”
I remember listening to this talk in 2009. I really enjoyed re-reading it this morning. One of my favorite quotes: “I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind." Jeffrey Holland, The Ministry of Angels
I’m thankful for the loving angels surrounding me—which includes all that are climbing this mountain with me through your prayers, words of encouragement, suggestions, kindnesses, and love.