Well, this was my week "off" before chemo starts tomorrow (Monday, August 19). I thought I'd have a relaxing week, but it turns out it was a super busy week - there's lots to do before starting chemo!
Before I bore you with all of that, I wanted to share about an amazing gift I received this week:
My dear friend Tisha is an extremely talented quilter. She entered in a quilting competition this summer and made this beautiful quilt pictured above. At the conclusion of the contest (which she totally should have won, I think she was robbed!), she gave the quilt to me to take to my chemo treatments. Please read about it here, you won't regret it (although you might need a tissue).
Here's a little peek into my week:
Once I start chemo, I'll be extra susceptible to infections, so they recommend not seeing the dentist during treatment. I had a cleaning on Wednesday and had to go back Thursday to have a couple cavities filled and a filling repaired. It was a LONG appointment on Thursday (my cavities were of course all on different quadrants of my mouth), glad it's over! Note to self: floss more.
I'm really not sure how my work will be affected once I start treatment. So this week was crazy busy trying to get as much work in as possible. I traveled for two days, had conference calls and meetings out the wazoo, and worked my hiney off as much as I could!
I also had to get my benefits figured out. Thankfully I have Short Term Disability I can use for any days I need to take off due to treatment. I'm hoping I won't have to take many, but glad to know they're there if I need them.
We got most of the "deep cleaning" done last week, but needed to finish up this week - you know... because of the infection thing. Josh was a huge help and between the two of us, we got it done in just a few hours.
Again, that infection risk means no gardening during treatment. So I pulled weeds and tried to spruce up the garden as much as possible since it will likely go neglected for the rest of the summer/fall :(
Unfortunately I don't mean fun shopping. I gave that up a couple weeks ago (having cancer is expensive!). This week I had to hit up the pharmacy for my many prescriptions, I had to get to the grocery store to stock up on healthy foods, and I had to pick up as many "anti-nausea remedies" as I could (ginger ale, ginger cookies, Gatorade, etc.). I've been researching blogs and message boards about squashing chemo side-effects (nausea, fatigue, constipation, etc.), and found many recommendations - I'll be trying all of them :) I'll report back on what did/didn't work.
A tiny bit of fun
Josh and I went to a baseball game Thursday night. We packed up a cooler (smuggling in some adult beverages) and headed downtown. A nice man came up to us and said he had two extra tickets and offered them to us for free! It was so nice! We're trying to save as much money as we can, while still doing the occasional fun thing together - this saved us $24 and we were so grateful!
Friday night we went out for a nice romantic dinner and Saturday we went to our local radio station's Cancer Sucks Party to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Indiana. It was a great weekend!
But not too much fun
I had the sad realization this week that cancer and chemo will affect my life. I am determined to NOT let it dictate every aspect of my life, but Josh had to sit me down and tell me that I am, in fact, not invincible and that I would have to give up some things in the next few months. Some due to money and some due to my health. We'll likely have to cancel our trip to Philly to visit family and we probably won't be able to attend a few Pirates games we had planned on attending (in St. Louis and Cincinnati). But we'll find some fun local things to do that aren't too expensive and that aren't a risk to my health!
Packing up the "Chemo Kit"
I'm not really sure what to take with me tomorrow... I'll probably bring waaaay too much, but oh well! I've packed up my new quilt, some warm fuzzy socks (gift from friends), iPad, Lemon Heads and Jolly Ranchers (to help with the bad taste that is common with chemo), snacks, and water. And I'll probably throw in a few other things to keep me busy - notebook, Sudoku book (also a gift), etc.
Tomorrow I'll be up at 8:30 a.m. to put the numbing cream over my port site (which is supposed to me on an hour before treatment). I'll have a about a half hour to get dressed and packed up and we'll be at my oncologist appointment at 9:30. I'm guessing the appointment will just be a few minutes and they'll get me started on chemo around 10:00.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: THANK YOU!!
I can't even begin to express enough gratitude to each and every one of you. I'm so thankful to have such great friends and family. I've received many cards, gifts, emails, Facebook shout-outs, phone calls, and text messages. These truly keep me going - a simple "thank you" doesn't seem to express my appreciation. I love you all!