Last week, I decided my next blog post needed the title of Dragon….drag’n….dragging, which is how I’ve been feeling over the past two weeks. The compounding effect of the weekly chemo treatments has left me with a pretty heavy dose of fatigue. I’ve also had some increased side effects—neuropathy is what they call it. The nerve endings on my fingers and toes get a numbness that has increased over the past few weeks. My lab work levels have been too low each week, but within range to continue treatment.
So, to combat the side effects, decrease the fatigue, and improve my blood counts, this past Monday they reduced my dose by 20%. They said that many have to have their dose reduced after the 3rd or 4th treatment, so the fact that I’ve made it through 8 doses without a reduction is great. The final 4 treatments at 20% less will still give me plenty of the chemo, and reduce the risk of permanent damage from the side effects. I’m really pleased with this change, and have felt better already. This Tuesday and Wednesday have been much better than the previous 2 weeks. I only have 3 chemo doses remaining, so in 3 ½ weeks, my body can start rebuilding its strength. For the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve only been able to jog for ½ mile, and then walk 2 miles. Then the majority of the day has been spent lounging, working on a laptop or reading. The fatigue has been extremely heavy. But this week I’m able to run a mile, and then walk 2 miles, which is really exciting! The exercise has been key in keeping my spirits positive.
Since my immune system is compromised, I need to be extra careful during these final 3 ½ weeks. There are a lot of illnesses going around, so I’m trying to avoid large crowds, which isn’t fun. I’ve been so blessed to have had almost 6 months of chemo and not come down with any illnesses.
After the chemo, I’ll have 3 weeks off, and then surgery that is planned for the Monday before Thanksgiving. Three to four weeks after that I’ll begin 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. So by early February, I will be finished!!
This past weekend was General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It happens twice a year, on the first Saturday and Sunday of October and April. We leave the entire weekend open to spend time as a family watching the world-wide broadcast. There are 2 sessions each day. We have a big country breakfast/brunch on Sunday morning, with biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, and fruit. I really enjoyed listening this past weekend and so many of the messages had helpful advice. President Deiter Uchtdorf talked about finding joy in every day, and not focusing on the ending. “We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”
Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.
Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts. I love the quote: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” Of Regrets and Resolutions
He was referring to life in general, but I’ve been guilty of that with this chemo battle—only 3 ½ more weeks, etc…but loved the reminder to recognize the wonderful things that happen in every ordinary day. I’m happiest when I find ways to serve others—even when I’m resting in bed, and when I reflect on the many blessings in my life, which includes so many wonderful people who have touched my life in many different ways.