I feel like I've been spelunking down in my cave (which I described in my last update) for 6 weeks, had a sip of fresh air, and now I have the task of going back down again. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I used a metaphor for my acupuncturist, Jennifer at the Penny George Institute and she liked it. It goes like this...my body is my sweet, loyal black labrador retriever, just looking at me with those eyes. She says, "Why are you doing this to me? I'll go with you into this cave again, but why? I don't understand. It's really awful. Why are you letting them do this to us? I feel nauseous and tired all the time, gurgly stomach, nothing tastes right and even water tastes bad, cold sweats, insomnia. Do we have to do this again? Please explain." Jennifer said, "Well, you have a framework here, because you have a real black lab that you have taken to the vet." Huck understands some English even though he can't speak, but I let him know I will be with him, I will comfort him in every way I can, and it is necessary. It will be ok. I'm doing my best. Today I go for my last neulasta shot (white blood count booster), then I'm in bed for days. I'll eat cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, spicy thai soup, drink mexican coke, Limonata, and homemade Ginger Lime Mango Tango smoothies. I know the routine now. I'll curl up in bed and try to sleep as many hours as I can, and keep the barfing to a minimum. When I feel well enough, I will try to watch a couple feel good movies (which my FB friends helped me compile and I now have a list of over 200--check it out.) I don't feel well enough to read unfortunately. I can knit a little. Passing the time, one foot in front of the other.
I still have to go in every 3 weeks for an infusion of Herceptin antibody through August, but that doesn't have many side effects. I will have more tests Jan. 3rd and one last consult with my surgeons at Mayo on Jan. 6th. Then surgery is a double mastectomy on Jan. 17th. 12 weeks of recovery. Next hurdle.
Mothering doesn't stop. It's 7 am and our household has already been bustling this morning--finishing homemade ornaments, making grilled croque monsieur for Jonah's extra credit in french class, picking out Winter Festival outfits and braiding hair. I hope to feel well enough this morning before the storm hits so I can go to my kids' festival performances.
Thanks for your ongoing encouragement and support and prayers and candles. I love it when I can just tell a friend, "I feel like shit." I don't say it often, but when I do, I mean it. Can't wait to be through this phase and on to the healing and strengthening. I need prayers that this last chemo will zap every last cancer cell and that the nausea will be minimal.
Merry Christmas! We have been sporadically doing our advent garden at home before bedtime with the children. This time of year is really magical. Looking forward to the bright shining star in the sky. Hoping for lots of family down time for the next 2 weeks. LOVE LOVE LOVE you all.
Some poetry and family photos for you.....
We are poor students who stay after school to study joy.
We are like those birds in the India mountains.
I am a widow whose child is her only joy.
The only thing I hold in my ant-like head
Is the builder’s plan of the castle of sugar.
just to steal one grain of sugar is a joy!
Like a bird, we fly out of darkness into the hall,
Which is lit with singing, then fly out again.
Being shut out of the warm hall is also a joy.
I am a laggard, a loafer, and an idiot. But I love
To read about those who caught one glimpse
Of the Face, and died twenty years later in joy.
I don’t mind your saying I will die soon.
Even in the sound of the word soon, I hear
The word you which begins every sentence of joy.
“You’re a thief!” the judge said. “Let’s see
Your hands!” I showed my callused hands in court.
My sentence was a thousand years of joy.