Yes, I realize it’s been at least three weeks since I went through chemo, and all of you who aren’t on Facebook or Twitter are wondering if I made it through. I did! Both days went great and on my shorter day I left the chemo time hungry for a burrito. Now that was unheard of when I went through chemo in 2010!
I’m praising God for not getting sick at all during this first round. I didn’t actually feel sick until my anti-nausea meds wore off sometime on Thursday. Then I felt nauseous off and on for the next four to five days and ate a lot of Pringles and sipped Ginger Ale. So now I know when to take more anti-nausea meds and how better to stay on top of it for this upcoming next round.
There is such a learning curve to listening to my body these days. It’s almost like I’m a stranger to myself and have to figure out how these drugs make me feel physically. I used to know when I was hungry and what I wanted to eat, but now I rarely know. My appetite is constantly up and down. I do much better with snacking! I made it to Trader Joe’s last week and had a “food reunion” in my friend’s truck while I waited for her to finish her appointment. Pita Chips, fruit leathers, Joe Joe’s and oh yes, there was chocolate-covered-just-about-everything invited to the reunion! So needless to say I didn’t eat much lunch that day.
I went back to the oncologist on Day 9 (which means 9 days after my chemo) to check my blood counts, and all of my counts were in normal range except my white blood count, which was just a little bit lower than normal. My counts supposedly dropped lower after day 9 through day 14 and then they start to rise again. Currently I’m finishing Day 20, and while I totally give my permission to take naps every day, I’m feeling great!
Besides a little bit of nausea, the other major side effect is fatigue. I remember about a week after chemo, I had to sit down after standing because I was so tired after making a salad. Walking and even a little running seems to help keep my energy up. I’m not doing that every day, but when I can get out and about it feels great.
My next chemo is October 22 and 23. The first day will be pretty much an all-day ordeal and the second day only three hours. While waiting for the next round of treatments I’ve been hanging with family and friends when my blood counts are good and I’m not as susceptible to germs. Yesterday, mom and I took Khloe to the zoo and a couple weeks ago my whole family went out to dinner to watch Kaleb eat oysters on the half-shell. Crazy, I know! But he loves them!!
While my physical body is making it through this first round and recovering well, my heart is on a different journey. Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of heart/emotional/mental side effects, like I do for my physical body that I need to keep an eye on. The last two days have been tough as I grapple with disappointment, confusion, and just plain sadness about everything from having cancer, to leaving Austria in such a whirlwind, to feeling like I was nearing the finish-line of chemo to now starting all over, to not knowing where I belong right now, to missing being in my sweet spot of youth ministry and pouring into the lives of teen girls, etc. Too bad I can’t sip Ginger Ale and eat Pringles for heart nausea! Or better yet, take a Zofran!
Recently I took some time to be still (can’t say that was easy, but necessary). I’ve found that these days I’d rather be busy because then I don’t have to deal with what’s going on inside of my heart. I’m thankful that He is so gracious with me. He reminded me that He is the Author. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith . . . “(Hebrews 12:1-2). He reminded me that He is able to do so much more than I could even ask or imagine because He is Powerful (Ephesians 3:20-21). And then He reminded me that I don’t have to understand:
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36 NLT).
One of the ways, God whispers His Truth and promises to me is through song. This song is my prayer right now, please search my heart, God . . . “Hear my cry and hear my prayer / Draw me close I know You’re near / Give me strength and give me grace / To walk with You, Lord all my days . . . Without You I am nothing”
let Me show you
Heart nausea can lead to a messed-up appetite. It’s hard to even know what I want or am supposed to want or what God wants me to want. Make sense? I have to trust that He will show me. That as I lean into Him, delight that He is God that He knows, that He’s the Author, that He is Powerful, that He will show me what I really want. That my appetite for Him will grow and I’ll want what He’s having and more and more of Who He is! Now that’s a “spiritual food reunion” to really get excited about!
I love this video because it makes me laugh, but also because the dad shows the little girl what she could want for her birthday. Show me Jesus what I really want! Show me more of You.
Have a great week!