**Click here to start reading at the beginning of my cancer journey.**
**Click here to start reading at Round 1 of my experience with chemotherapy.**
It was now the end of August. School had started for most systems in the country. Our local schools had been in session for a few weeks already. I couldn’t believe how quickly this summer had flown by, yet how slowly it had crawled. Funny how that works.
Round 10 was scheduled to start. I am blessed with a very loving family, including my extended family. One of my awesome aunts, who is also a nurse and had helped her own mom get through chemotherapy, was willing to drive 10 hours to come help me for round 10. She would also come back for round 12. She was driving alone on a journey she had never driven before, but she did it with confidence and grace. She was able to drive down on Sunday which gave us Monday together before I started treatment on Tuesday.
So, Monday we played with Bubba for much of the day. She learned his routine, got to visit with me during this naps, and she even helped me take him swimming in the neighbor’s pool. My generous grandmother had sent down cookies, beans, and all kinds of goodies for Bubba…My family is the BEST!
The best thing about my family…we PRAY for and with each other. She prayed with me on Monday night. She prayed with me on Tuesday morning. I know she prayed for me while I was on the pump, and she comforted me as I endured yet another round of chemo. She took care of my precious son and my loving husband. She treated Hubby like her own son. She treated Bubba like her own grandson. She treated me like her daughter but yet she had the expertise to help me as a nurse.
On Tuesday, my best friend from church took me to chemo as usual. She endured my agony and prayed with me through it. When I could no longer vocalize my thoughts, she did it for me. For this, I am forever grateful. She took me home after I had my pump and put me to bed, carrying my “chemo bag” into the bedroom because I was too weak to carry it.
I was extremely thankful to have my nurse aunt for Round 10. You see, we had discovered that I am very sensitive to latex, especially when it was put over my port to hold the line in place. Since my aunt is a nurse, the oncology nurses decided to try a new tape to see if it would alleviate my symptoms. My symptoms were less severe, but the tape was less sticky. Thankfully they sent me home with extra which my aunt was able to reapply as needed.
Thursday morning, my aunt lovingly woke me up early so she could help me with a shower. I was so weak at this point I could hardly walk. She helped me wash my hair and get “clean”. She helped me dry off and get dressed. She helped me back into bed while she got Bubba up, dressed, and fed. Then, she loaded us both in the car and took me to get my pump removed. She lovingly helped me slowly walk back to the car since my joints hurt so badly. She brought me home and put me back to bed.
She was my angel. But she had to go home at some point. She left on Friday and Hubby stayed home with us. She promised to be back in a few weeks for round 12, and she was.
Round 10’s exhaustion seemed to be more dramatic, but I suppose that’s to be expected. We didn’t do much of anything during my “off” week, because I simply couldn’t.
Two more rounds. I think I can…I think I can…I hope I can…I can only do it with God’s help.
September rolled around. While I had looked forward to September because it promised my last two rounds of chemo, I also dreaded it for the same reason. Chemo is hard. Don’t let anyone fool you. It’s exhausting. But we had established a routine and finally felt like we knew what to expect.
My mother-in-law came to help with round 11. We had seen her once or twice since the last round she helped with, but those were “good” times on my “off” weeks when we were celebrating birthdays or such. She didn’t realize how weak I had become or how exhausted I would be, especially when connected to the pump. No one could really know since these things got worse each round.
Thankfully, when my mother-in-law came, she generally brought prepared food for the week to make it easier on me and she planned on staying through the weekend. My father-in-law would come down after work on Friday and spend the weekend with us as well.
Tuesday rolled around. My best friend came to take me to chemo. Bubba cried when he saw her come to the door and he cried when I left with her. Broke my heart. I knew that I needed to go to chemo and that I needed to do it for Bubba, but it hurt to leave him, not knowing when I would feel well enough to play with him again.
Once again, my friend prayed with me, talked with me, tried to get me to laugh, and just sat (in the dark) with me when I was too sick to do anything else. She help my hair when I vomited, covered me with a blanket when I got cold, carried my “chemo bag” to the car and into the house, and tucked me into bed.
I can’t say that I remember much from Round 11. Most of it was spent sleeping in bed. I remember Hubby stayed home on Thursday to help me in the shower and to take me to get my pump removed. He then put me back to bed and spent the day with his mom and Bubba. Just as I was exhausted from 11 rounds of chemo, so was he. He needed the rest as much as I did.
My “off” week of Round 11 was busy. I had an appointment with the surgeon to schedule my “after chemo” colonoscopy. Assuming that was “clean”, he would also remove my port the day after my scope. Hallelujah! During my appointment, he commented how well things seemed to be going but how tired I looked. He mentioned my hair had indeed thinned, but that I looked good overall. He also said that he still couldn’t believe that I actually had cancer.
At my oncologist appointment during my “off” week, we scheduled my “after chemo” PET scan. The oncologist wanted this one to be done at the hospital he mainly worked out of, which was an hour away. He wanted it for the day after round 12 ended. Thankfully the nurses knew that I could never ride an hour in the car nor endure the scan that soon after my pump was disconnected, so they scheduled it for the Monday after I got my pump removed.
I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. One more round to go!
**Click here for my thoughts on Round 12 and the follow up**