Monday, October 18, 2010

The littlest things mean the very most

This morning I woke up and I realized it was "D" day.  Or should I say "C" day?
Larry was already up and had gotten the big kids off to school.  When I looked over in the spot where he had been laying in bed I say my little friend Hope.  I was actually glad to see her there.  I watched her sleep so peacefully all snuggled in warm.  I realized that I am still first and foremost a mommy.  I'm a mommy and I have  cancer.  They are two separate things.  When Hope woke up she looked at me a little strange.  I forgot she had already gone to bed the night before when my friend Natalie came over to cut my hair (I ended up getting what Larry calls a 'Annie Lennox' hair style-very short, but not buzzed). When Hope looked at me she kind of giggled and said "Oh, Mommy!  You cute hair short".  She said it a few other times, and that was that.  No big deal.  But I'm glad she liked it.  I think it could have been a little scarier had I shaved it completely off.  I think this gradual process will be easier on us all.
   So, Larry sent Hope off to Alissa's to have a fun day.  They were going to the dinosaur museum.  So all morning Hope kept roaring, getting ready to see the dinosaurs.
   Larry and I headed into the cancer center for my first real and true chemotherapy.  I first had a consult with Dr. V.  We had an interesting talk about bone marrow transplant (which is not something I would do right now because of the risk, but it is a possible cure for me in the future...)  Anyway, then I went over and got set up for my infusion.
    You sit in big, over sized recliner chairs that heat and vibrate.  You have your own personal TV over head to watch.  I had a cozy new blanket my mom had made for me this weekend, and a homemade pillowcase Lauren and Josh made for me last night.  I was set.  You would think I was in the lap of luxury if you paid no mind to the IV of poison connected directly to my heart. :)    And then we started to wait..... (this was at about 10am)
   At around 10:20 the ONC nurse came over and gave me my "pre-meds".  It was about 10 pills I needed to take.  Some were pain pills, some were steroids, a Benedryl, some anti nausea, another Ativan....etc.
It still seems so strange to me, since I'm a girl that would take 1 or 2 Ibuprofen for a headache.  Now I'm taking 10 pills to protect my organs, etc.
   I waited again until about 12:00 the nurse brought over my first real infusion.  It is Rituxin which is an immunotherapy type drug.  This is the one that takes 5-6 hours to put in because you have to watch for side effects.
  About 45 minutes into that infusion, my throat started to get really scratchy and feel weird.  The nurse stopped the Rituxin and had DR. V come over.  Dr. V said it was common to have an allergic reaction because your body just doesn't want all the crap pumped into you (can you imagine?)  So she gave me a big shot of Benedryl.  Then we started to infusion again at about 2:00.  I was sound asleep (thanks to the Benedryl) and all the sudden I could not breath.  It felt like someone had closed my wind pipe off.  And I felt hot and itchy.  4 or 5 nurses ran over and sat me up and shut off the infusion.  Dr. V came over to listen to my lungs.  When she lifted up my shirt she said I had welts all my back.  My face had swollen up and was bright red.  I had welts all over my face and neck as well.  I guess my body really didn't like the Rituxin.
  Well, 2 more hours later, and more Benadryl, the hives went away.  Dr. V said she wanted me to go home tonight and rest.  And then I will go back tomorrow for the rest of my chemo infusion.  We will wait to try Rituxin again in 3 weeks with my next cycle.  She said I should tolerate it better, when some of the tumors I have have shrunk down.
   So................I don't know if it really counts that I had some chemo today.  I feel pretty wiped out and tired.  Tomorrow at 1:00 I go back for the rest of the chemo.

It's been a very long day.  I know I have not had time to personally respond to all your wonderful messages and phone calls.  But I read them all, and they make me feel so good.  I am surrounded by the most stellar people.
   Some people have said they just are not sure what we need, or how to help.  Please know, you are helping just by keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.  In a situation such as this, the littlest things mean the very most.
                          (This is not me :)  But this is about my hair length now..maybe even a little shorter! )

A Conference Talk I Love


  1. I am amazed how calm you sound as you write about the craziness that is happening to you. Maybe you don't feel calm when it happens, but you sure sound calm as I read it. Hang in there! You and your family are in our prayers.

  2. Can't wait to see you....I know you look HOT!! Think of you often. You are amazing.

  3. Thinking of you... and wanted to let you know. You're doing great, Jen. Hang in there... just know when you feel yucky... (which will be a lot of the time, unfortunately...) the cancer feels yucky too. And it will go away because of it. :)

    Just a little personal note... I had a brother who battled with leukemia for 5 years.. diagnosed at age 3.... and one of my fondest memories of him was when he was losing his hair. It was christmas time.. and we were walking home from the bus stop.. I was 9 he was 7... He pulled out his hair, threw it on the girls next to him.. and yelled.. "Merry Christmas!" They all ran away screaming.. it was so funny. Sweet memories. :)

  4. Your strength is amazing, your heart is in all the right places and you are a fighter. Think of all the people you are touching by sharing...I know I'm being touched. You are in our thoughts and prayers! Just get to be one stylin' chick with a hot hair due and then you'll still be one stylin' chick with some awesome hats and of course flowers to accessorize! Love ya

  5. Jen-
    You are such a fighter. I love reading this blog because you can just feel the love that you have for everyone... especially your kids. I hope to be that type of mom. You are amazing. Please let me know if we can do anything for you!!! We would love to have Hope over to play.

    Love, Emily

  6. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa ( may be another choice. i know alot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious scratchy throat.