I am eight (8) treatments in to this round of chemotherapy and the Journey Continues.
A few weeks ago, I was on retreat and spent some of my time walking the grounds of the Jesuit Center. I ended up getting my 10,000 steps four days in a row. It felt like I was going to float my way through this round of chemo with little problems.
No More Bouncing Back
Monday following the retreat was my seventh treatment. It felt like I was hit by a truck. The energy I had just days before was gone, long gone. My “off week” was okay, but I certainly did not bounce back the way I had previously.
Treatment number eight was more of the same. I don’t think I ever truly bounced back to my “new normal” this time. Each day has been a struggle to move with the energy to get through the day. Naps have become part of the new normal. If you stop by church and cannot find me there is a good chance I will be in one of the back pews grabbing a few moments of quiet to re-charge for the rest of the day.
Praise for the Progress
Now, to be clear, I am handling this round of treatment much better than I did my round in 2016. First round I needed a walking stick to help me move through life, that is not true today. It only took a few treatments in 2016 for me to feel the way I do today. I am four months in and it is just now that I am starting to feel weak and rundown.
Emotions run deep
The longer I travel this journey the more I am convinced that a very large part of this battle is emotional.
Being eight treatments in I was starting to anticipate what will happen when we hit the magic twelfth treatment. There are options. I could take a full break from chemo. We could continue the treatment I am on. Maintenance chemo is a common option.
During my first round of treatment I was not a fan of taking a break. If my treatment was working I was all for pushing on and having as many chemo treatments as possible. When my body was worn down and Dr. Saroha chose a break for me I was relieved. It turned into a full year chemo free!
My attitude was different as I started this round of chemo. Complete the basic twelve treatments and stop for a break. Maybe I will be blessed as I was last time and get a full year off. No reason to push and wear my body down if I could get a year chemo free.
During one of my last visits I talked with my oncologist about plans once we completed my twelfth treatment. He ran through all the normal options. At this point he is inclined to think it best if we pushed forward with some maintenance chemo.
That reality hit me hard. It took me about two weeks to wrestle through what that would mean for me. I was excited to be done with this round of chemo at the end of July. If we do maintenance chemo it will push us into late September or early October.
It is no mistake that I use words like “we” and “us” when I talk about my treatment. I do not travel this journey alone. Nancy is an amazing partner and caregiver. My oncologist is fantastic. The nurses who care for me have become friends. The office staff makes my visits enjoyable, and often exciting.
Friday was my oncologist appointment to prepare for Monday’s treatment.
I arrived early to “get juiced” up with some fluids for the weekend. These fluids have a way of restoring energy.
Nicole (Dr. Saroha’s assistant) came and talked with me. She sat patiently and listened as I shared how these last two treatments were much harder. Nothing I said took her by surprise. Apparently on this regimen it is normal for things to get rough about treatment number eight. She went as far to start and name things that are part of my reality which I had not shared. In a strange kind of way, it is reassuring to know that my caregivers are so familiar with my journey that they can anticipate each step before I walk it.
Nicole and I made some changes in my treatment plan for next week. We have scheduled extra fluids following my chemo treatment on Monday. Those fluids will hopefully restore some of my lost energy.
We made plans for scans during my off week. I am excited to see how this treatment is working. Last scan my tumors were shrinking. I am hopeful they have continued to respond to the treatment.
Walking out of the office I was “juiced up” in more ways than one.
The fluids had definitely done their work. My conversation with Nicole had reassured me that what I was experiencing was normal. We had an agreed upon plan moving forward. I always do better when we have a plan, even if it is uncomfortable.
Thank you for your prayers as we continue to walk this journey.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good