HEALTH UPDATE: First Chemo and home maintenance complete. Felt better than fabulous days 1-3. Symptoms started to appear day 4. Dizzy, tummy cramps, tired. Symptoms worsen a bit as each day passes but still not awful. God blessed me with symptoms in the morning and opened up a comfortable afternoon on Christmas day so I could enjoy a most special time with my family. Curse of the good food and no rest followed the day after Christmas and I was in bed just about all day. I rebounded the next day followed by a fever of 102.4 the day after that. Let me just say, the folks at UW do not mess around with fevers when you are on chemo. I was advised to go to the ER (after hours) and they went to work. First they needed to find the source. Infection? Lots of blood went to the lab. Flu swabs up the nose. Poop sample. Blood from port. Blood from a different arm too. Urine sample. Chest X-Ray. The works! Just waiting for the blood cultures to come back. Everything else is in and negative! My white cells are CRUSHING IT. My red cells, not so much. I’ve been anemic for some time now since this all started so not a total surprise. Unless I build a bunch back up tonight, looks like I will be getting my first blood transfusion tomorrow. Thanks to all who donate blood! What an incredible gift you give! I was admitted to UW Hospital Friday night and am still a resident this evening. They just would like to observe to make sure the unknown source of the fever doesn’t show up again. The fever came down Friday night with Tylenol and I haven’t had another fever since. I feel pretty good except for the random tummy cramps that are very painful. We’ve got a plan going to keep it under control and it’s working pretty well. I’m not sure what the exact plan is for tomorrow but I’m thinking I’ll get a blood transfusion and hopefully go home. The mystery remains. Where did the fever come from? I have my own ideas. My primary doctor tested me for most of these same things when I reported to her in March I was constantly getting a low grade fever. She could not find a source either. Is it from the tumor monster? I think that bitch might be the cause. We have a few more tests to check out but until then, my bet is on the tumor monster.
My head is going to explode. I have so much to ramble about. Where do I start? I’m going to start with things that I have learned in recent weeks. I’ve learned that it’s possible for me to become speechless. My friends at Restaino & Associates, where I am proud to hang my real estate license, pooled together a handsome envelope as a gift to my family to do something special for Christmas with Willow. Instead of participating in their annual white elephant festivities they gave their gifts of money to us! Many, many thanks!
Willow’s friends at school put together a Christmas surprise that was just unbelievable! Not only did they send Cinderella to our home to surprise Willow, they sent her with huge bags of gifts for us! All of us! How do I possibly show the overwhelming thankfulness in my heart? It was a day beyond our wildest dreams. We love our St. Maria Goretti family so much. Thank you for making my little girl smile like never before. Yes, I’m crying right now. So many gifts, cards, letters, calls, texts. It’s humbling and so very much appreciated. I thank you so very much friends and family!
I’ve learned that my emotions have a clear pattern. When I’m feeling good, I am happy, strong, positive, smiling. That is the part of my personality you see most often as I write this blog. I’ve learned that if I’m not feeling good or in pain, the fearless attitude is gone in a heartbeat. A sick day turns dark. I can’t stop crying. I’m paralyzed with worry. I can’t stand the pain, both in my body and my heart. I dig deep. I pray to God that he can carry me out of this dark day. The pain subsides and I’m back to myself. C’mon Willow! Show me your new lego creation! I love it! Thankfully, the bright moments are far exceeding the dark moments. I pray for this to continue. Please Lord, keep me out of the darkness, Amen.
I’ve learned that I’ve been preparing myself for this situation most of my adult life. I am not shocked about my diagnosis and have a strange sense of acceptance. I am a self diagnosed hypochondriac. I think many people feel this way to some degree. For me, every bump, bruise, headache, illness, skin lesion…you name it…must have the worst possible outcome. I thought I had a tumor in my back for 5 years. I was scared to death. Too scared to get an x-ray. I talked about my fears to many but I don’t think I ever shared how scared I actually was so many times. Time after time it was negative. It was not what I thought it was. I was healthy. I didn’t have a tumor. I was fine! I finally started believing I was healthy. I gave up on thinking something must be wrong. It just wasn’t! So when I heard the news of the tumor monster, I was surprised for a moment and suddenly it felt like no surprise at all.
I’ve learned that when I’m stuck at the hospital for observation and I’m by myself on a rainy Saturday night, I can only go the feisty route for my closing thoughts. It’s been an emotional journey so far. I’m not used to sitting around and waiting. I’m not used to being by myself. I miss my husband. I miss my baby girl. I miss my Mom. I miss my family and my friends. I miss my normal life. I hate you tumor monster. I will not let you win.