**Click here to read about my cancer journey from the beginning.**
**Click here to read about my experience with chemotherapy from round 1.**
Round 6 was scheduled to take place during the 4th of July holiday. I would go the office on Tuesday the 3rd to get chemo via IV and get the pump, the office would be closed on Wednesday, and I would get the pump off on Thursday, July 5th. Mom was scheduled to move into her house on July 6th, which is also her birthday. My brother’s birthday is the 4th of July and the rest of my family was all getting together in Baltimore (at my sister’s house) to celebrate birthdays and the holiday.
My chemo was going as planned. Monday I got levels checked and did my “house prep” for this round. Tuesday, I went to the office and got the meds. When I got home, my mom was crying. Our dear pastor and friend had won his battle with pancreatic cancer and was now celebrating with his wife and Jesus in Heaven.
I remember feeling two emotions: anger and jealousy. I was angry with God for taking such a Godly, hardworking, strong man and leaving me here to suffer. I wanted to die. I was jealous. I wanted to go to Heaven and meet my two babies that had been born in Heaven. I wanted to win my cancer battle too.
Because I was going through chemo and because my mom was my helper, neither of us were able to make the trip to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral and the flowers and cards just didn’t seem like enough.
When I got the pump off on Thursday, I just wanted to curl up and wake up when round 12 was over. It was only round 6 so I was technically half way through. I honestly didn’t see how I would EVER finish 12 rounds. The neuropathy was unbearable, the nausea was draining, and the exhausted was…well, exhausting.
The difference with round 6 – the neuropathy didn’t go away before me check in appointment with the oncologist. Since it kept getting exponentially worse each round, the oncologist was concerned that if we continued that certain medication, the neuropathy would NEVER go away or I could end of paralyzed for life. Neither option seemed good to anyone involved, so we all decided it was best if we discontinued that drug. I would not receive it for rounds 7-12. The doctor was confident that I had had enough of it and that I had had all the my body could handle.
While this sounded like music to my ears, it was also concerning for two reasons. One, I didn’t want to live with the pain of neuropathy or be paralyzed for the rest of my life. Two, would stopping this drop half way through the treatments result is less effective chemo treatments? We decided this was the best option for me medically, so I trusted God to still cure me without this drug.
As is protocol, I had a CT scan half way through the treatments which showed no cancer. PRAISE GOD!
Round 6 ended normally. My neuropathy mostly dissipated the day before I started round 7.
My mother-in-law was “scheduled” to be my helper. It had been a while since we had seen them and my mom needed a break from driving back and forth so often, and she needed time to move into her house and “set it up”. I think my husband was relieved his mom would be here for a while. While he loves my family and appreciated all they had been doing for us, he missed his mom too!
Now, my mother-in-law was a great help, but she was very nervous about driving my car and getting Bubba in and out of the carseat, even just to take me to the oncology office and back. Thankfully, I had another friend from church who was willing to pick me up at home, take me to chemo, stay with me during chemo, and then bring me home. This “friend” is now my best friend.
She saw me literally “turn green” as I got the fluids and meds through the IV into my port. She saw me puke and held my hair. She heard me moan in agony as the pain set in. She prayed for me and with me. She told jokes, read me Scripture, and sat quietly in the dark with me. She held my arms as we walked to the car from the doctor’s office. She helped me into my house. She pulled the covers up to my chin. She thought I didn’t see the tears on her face, but I did.
She also endured the scorn of my son…since she helped with 5 rounds of chemo, Bubba learned to not like her. According to him (or what I can gather from his actions/reactions), he thought that she made his Mama sick. She would come take me away, healthy and happy, and then she’d bring me home, sick and weak. For about a year after chemo ended, Bubba would not be happy to see her at church. He would cry when she walked into any room. (Thankfully, he got over and now they have an awesome relationship.)
Round 7 had its ups…Bubba started walking! Not just one or two steps, but walking down the hall to pound on my bedroom door as I lay sick in bed. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see his first steps. My mother-in-law had that privilege. But I got to hear her joy and see him walk later.
Another positive – less neuropathy! Since we didn’t use that one medication, my neuropathy was minimal in my throat and lungs, although my hands and feet were still very sensitive. But hey, you take what you can get!
After I got the pump off and got some energy back, we wanted to enjoy time as family before round 8. It was the middle of July in the South and it was hot. Our neighbors have a pool and offered to take Bubba swimming. We decided to give it a try during my “off” week. I was still way too weak to take him in the water, so they offered to help me out. The first time we went, I just sat on the side and let him sit on the first step. He eventually let my neighbor hold him and take him out into the water, but he was quite content sitting with me. I was content with that too.
Unfortunately, my back was not content with that. The next day, I could hardly move. The spasms in my back were unbearable. Hubby came home to help with Bubba and I called a different friend from church to take me to the doctor. She went into the office and signed me in and informed them that we would be waiting in the car. She talked with me and encouraged me while we waited. The nurse came to the side door and escorted me into the exam room so I could avoid the waiting room and its germs. As I talked with the nurse practitioner, I cried to her about how I longed to be normal; how I wanted to be there when Bubba said “Mama” for the first time and took his first steps but that I wasn’t. I cried about how I would miss his first birthday because I would be too sick from chemo to celebrate with just us, let alone have a party for him. She understood as she had a little boy just a few months older than Bubba. Little did I know what she was thinking or planning (read about that in Round 8).
Another positive – a friend that I had taught with came to visit with her little boy. She also brought me some freezer meals which were such a blessing as mine had run out. I was able to give her some toys for her baby boy that Bubba had outgrown, and she was able to bless me with “normalcy”, something I had learned to cherish.
**Click here for Rounds 8 & 9 of chemotherapy.**