Medical Update ~ 11/16/17

Hi friends ~

I'm home from my 7th chemo treatment - feeling exhausted after the long day, but happy to be under a blanket on the couch now 😊. I received both the Taxol and the Herceptin today, which means the appointment took a little longer and I'm a little more fatigued, BUT today means there are more Taxol infusions behind me than in front of me.  Praise God!!  I only have 5 more of the weekly Taxol treatments before I move to the Herceptin infusions every 3 weeks. If everything goes according to plan, I will continue Herceptin until early October, 2018. Thank you for your diligent prayers for my WBC and RBC counts!  My WBC remains in the normal range, but my RBC continue to dip below normal.  They're not alarmed yet with my low RBC, however I would appreciate your continued prayers to keep those up - I know the low numbers impact my level of fatigue.  Thank you!

Since many of you have asked about radiation treatments ~ I will receive daily radiation treatments after my Taxol treatment is complete.  I don't have clarity on the exact start date or how long those treatments will last because I haven't yet met the Radiology Oncologist on my team.  I will be meeting with her when the Taxol treatments are over.  She will determine when the radiation treatments begin and how long they will last, but my Nurse Navigator (the head nurse on my team) seems to believe they can start immediately following my Taxol treatments to minimize my FMLA absences and they will last 3-4 weeks.  The interesting caveat is my last Taxol treatment is currently scheduled for 12/21 - the Thursday before Christmas and New Year.  I've wondered if it will be possible to start radiation during those weeks, but I won't know until I meet with the Radiology Oncologist.  My desire would be to move right into radiation even though it is during the holiday season - the sooner I get through radiation, the sooner I'll be ready to return to my classroom. Even though it's my desire, I am completely trusting in God's will in this - if the doctor feels I should wait until January to begin radiation treatments, then I will trust her judgment and His plan.

Many of you have asked me how I'm feeling ~ for the most part, and for most of the time, I'm really feeling pretty well.  The reality is this hasn't been too bad. I don't want to minimize anyone else who may be walking through a cancer diagnosis or dealing with the side effects of chemo - there are so many different treatments plans that include a whole variety of different symptoms. I was also warned that people even respond to the same treatment differently - this road is much harder for some.  But, for me, I've really been pretty blessed. I do experience a whole gamut of strange symptoms that were unfamiliar to my otherwise healthy body just 3 short months ago, and new ones get added each week, but none of them are intolerable. Topping the list is definitely the dizziness, foggy brain, and fatigue - it's frustrating to feel so completely exhausted that I cannot keep my eyes open, but still unable to fall asleep, or not being able to concentrate on a thought for more than a moment or two (these updates take me HOURS to type and edit). The headaches continue to plague me most days, even keeping me awake at night, and the digestive issues on my "toxic" days are definitely not my favorite.  I've also almost entirely lost my sense of taste (but still crave all the wrong foods - go figure!), my gums and nose bleed frequently (and when it's not bloody, it's running), my scalp is extremely sensitive to the point of feeling bruised yet it insanely itches me at times as well, my hair is thinning like an old lady's, and I'm losing my toenails.  Yes, my toenails. They die at the nail bed, and wiggle like loose teeth until they fall out.  I know, it's gross. But I have to live through it, you only have to read about it. Good thing it's not sandal season!😏

Even though it may sound like I'm complaining, it's really not that bad.  I am so incredibly blessed to be able to take the time off work - that alone makes the symptoms so much more manageable.  My heart goes out to anyone who has to work through chemo treatments - those are the real heroes. I am fortunate enough to only have 2 things on my agenda most days - my daily devotion post and an hour on the treadmill.  I mean, seriously, how blessed am I to have such a chill schedule?  Not only that, but because I am home, I am able to spend more time with my family and my grandbabies, which is a HUGE blessing in my life. (A great big thank you to all who prayed for my son and his children!  Their quarantine has ended and I've enjoyed a few visits this week - praise GOD!). Beyond those strange physical symptoms, I find joy every day and I am content to stay here as long as need be. In other words, I'm happy, guys.  It's all good 😊.

I do think trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well and excercising every single day (My daily run is over 3 miles most days now!) has minimized my symptoms - they tell me it makes a difference, but the truth is that God has just been so good to me in this diagnosis and treatment.  He is the reason I am managing as well as I am.  Thank you to those of you who faithfully and diligently lift me up in prayer - the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working ~ James 5:16.  He is listening and answering those prayers.  I remain humbled by the grace and the strength He pours into my life through all of you ~ from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the many ways you all continue to encourage me and serve my family   Know that YOU all have been some of the greatest blessings in this journey 💗.

One last prayer request before I sign off ~ most of you know we've launched the Comfy Caregiver Chair fundraiser to replace the uncomfortable chairs in the cancer treatment center. Please pray we meet our goal!  Every single week, I watch a dozen or more examples of the kind of sacrificial love that can only be demonstrated in a caregiver.  We need them. It is hard to walk this journey alone - I would even argue it's impossible.  We need to have these people by our sides, making us laugh and smile, serving us, talking to us, rationalizing with us, holding our hands. I want to show them how very important they are to us by replacing the uncomfortable chairs in the treatment center. They already give up so much to be by our side on this a minimum, they should be comfortable.

We're about 1/3 of the way to our goal!!💥 Even the smallest amount helps ~ please prayerfully consider donating, then share, share share!  Thank you!

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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