Things are going well. I am so thankful for the advice and kindness of friends from all over the country. My friend Lisa, a nurse in Louisiana, suggested asking for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug that does NOT cause drowsiness. I called my nurse, and had it in hand by Wednesday evening. It made a night and day difference! Instead of day 4 being the hardest so far (as I'd been told), it was the best day yet! I went for a run in the morning, ran errands and had lunch with a friend, and attended a meeting that night. Since then, things have gone great. I prioritize what I need/want to do most, and allow some resting time in between. I've learned to keep the Zofran in my system. I'm careful about crowds and germs, and wash my hands a lot.
Day 5 was my hardest day, besides the anxiety of Day 1. I learned some important lessons--better to learn on day 5 than on day 180!! I had read that days 4-6 would be the hardest as far as fatigue, but days 7-10 were the days where the chemo is at its peak in doing its work. So, knowing that day 4 had gone fine, I was waiting for day 5 to start taking its toll. Rather than taking charge of my day and doing what I wanted and needed to do, I was waiting for the worst to hit--waiting to be a victim, fearing the worst, waiting and watching for the extreme to hit me. Would I have seizures or break out in boils (I don't know if either of these are even things to worry about, but I was fearing the worst)? I was anxious the entire day, not enjoying the blessing of celebrating my oldest son Scott's birthday, and not enjoying the gift of having Garrett in town with us for the long weekend. I should have taken my anti-nausea meds, but instead thought I could tough it out. So, I felt crummy, and waited for terrible things to happen to me. That evening, I realized I was letting chemotherapy act on me and control me, as if I had no say. I was allowing myself to be an object to be acted upon, rather than an agent that acts. Thankfully, I was able to take charge. I stopped focusing on myself, and started doing things to serve others. I made a birthday cake, took some pictures, and found that joy and control and returned to my life. I felt bad to have wasted day 5, but was thankful that day 5 taught me some important lessons that will help me find joy and happiness as we climb this mountain.
I'm learning more about chemotherapy as I go. I've learned that chemo makes your skin extra sensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is extra important, but avoidance of direct sun is best. I also learned that swimming is a bad idea--since blood counts are low, you're vulnerable to infection--pools and the ocean are places with lots of germs. I really enjoyed attending a baptism on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Scott is a wonderful "body guard," escorting me away from crowds and making quick exits after meetings. I love socializing, but also need to be careful, so if I seem distant on the back row, or seem to avoid lingering, please understand that we're trying to be able to both enjoy group gatherings, and yet keep my health safe. I don't want anyone to think I'm unfriendly or a snob. I'm trying to find the right balance of social and health safe.
This quote was helpful in thinking through my day 5: "As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon." (David Bednar)
I am so thankful for the prayers and words of encouragement from so many. The power and uplift of your prayers is strongly felt by our entire family. The kind deeds and offerings have given us an overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation. Thank you for touching our lives and teaching us so much about how to ease burdens and express love and concern.