Friday, July 07, 2006

The First Week

Well, I guess I'm really behind with this. In order to find out exactly what type of leukemia I have, the doctor had to do a bone marrow biopsy. I was worried about this, because I had heard it was very painful. The doctors assured me that they had pain medication to assist, so around 1 p.m. on Monday they all came trouping in. They were able to do it in my room; I just had to lay on my stomach. The doctor explained that they would numb the skin down to the bone with lidocaine, but they couldn't numb the bone or marrow, and that it would feel like someone was kicking me in the back really hard, then a lot of pain. I asked, "So, you don't give a spinal or epidural for this or anything?!" Nope...but they did have morphine. The morphine made me feel really funny, and actually proved a halfway decent distraction. It reminded me most of back labor. They promised me the meds would make me forget, but I remember it all very well and I’m not looking forward to repeating the experience after this round of chemo is up. But if it shows all is well, it will be more than worth it. The biopsy was able to narrow down the type of chemo, but we won’t know full results until genetic testing is back from California sometime within the next few weeks. Brandon stayed with me throughout the procedure even though the doctor strongly recommended that he leave. I appreciate his sacrifice because I know how much he hates needles. After we were finished he asked if I was o.k., and then said, “If you’ll excuse me for a minute now, I need to go throw up.” That’s the “in sickness and in health” sort of thing.

After the biopsy, I was scheduled to have a Hickman stint placed in my chest. It’s kind of like an extension cord with lots of plug-ins for chemo meds, blood draws, syringes, etc. Much better than getting stuck in the arm every time they need something, and a lot more comfortable than the IV. The 3-4 p.m. surgery ended up being around 9 p.m. They used conscious sedation, which basically means I was awake enough to follow commands but don’t remember a thing. The anesthesiologist said I was a talker, but not to worry, I didn’t say anything embarrassing. The twinkle in his eye gave him away, though. I didn’t feel well after surgery, nausea was a bear. They finally gave me something that helped with that and I slept o.k.

Tuesday they started chemo. They are using two drugs, seven days of one and three of another, but they’re lapped, so it’s just seven days total. Then I get about a week off before the biopsy. My white blood counts have dropped. Yesterday, (Thursday) they were in the mid 20s, today it was 4.2. The first day of chemo they gave me the typical pre-chemo drugs, which kind of relax you and help ward of nausea. We discovered I can’t handle Benadryl; it totally trips me out. They didn’t give it to me on Wednesday, but the stop order didn’t get in my chart and I got it again on Thursday, so Thursday was a really rough day. Wednesday was a hard day, too, with lots of nausea, but they are narrowing down the drugs that help me with it, and it’s manageable now. Apparently chemo patients develop and acute sense of smell, so that has made it a little harder to appreciate things like hospital food. I didn’t eat on Thursday, but I got some mashed potatoes and chicken soup down today (Friday) along with lots of juice.

I began running a fever Thursday evening, so they drew blood from my Hickman and from my arm to see where the infection is. They won’t know for a few days because the have to grow the cultures. They also took a chest x-ray last night, but that looked good. I feel really bad when I have a fever, and that is when I rest the most on my Savior, and find comfort knowing others are praying for me. I sang hymns this morning for a while and quoted Scripture through the bad stuff.

I had some guests today. They’re limited now, and will become more so. Elisabeth, Janessa and Josh came, and Janessa blessed me by singing “Blessed Assurance” and “And Can it Be.” I should have hit the record button on my laptop, but I wasn’t with it enough. Gary came by this evening with his grandma and aunt. I was too out of it yesterday to enjoy his visit, so tonight was extra special. It seems he has grown overnight. All I want is to be back home with my little one, but it is good to know he is being taken care of, and I remember that there is grace for him as well through this trial. I have pictures of him all over my room, plus video clips on the laptop. He brings so much joy to his mother’s heart. We have been told that I will most likely be unable to have children, so I am even more grateful for the Lord’s gift of a child. So much of my life has been changed in so few days, at times it is overwhelming and I just cry mercy. I know my God is there, and I know He is strong – I am weak.

I’m thankful for the weekend. My mom and sister headed home to celebrate my youngest brother’s birthday, and to get some rest. Brandon will be staying with me for the weekend, and I will relish every minute with him. We still don’t know the exact type of leukemia I have, or why I have it. Sometimes lightning strikes. Sometimes mountains move. God is sovereign.

My nurses and doctors have been excellent, and I haven’t lost my sense of humor. I actually get a kick out of smarting off to the doctors every now and then just to get a reaction. I am currently receiving two more units of blood and the doctor came in to have me sign a consent form, assuring me that all the side effects of receiving blood are very rare, “Yes, like my leukemia, right?”

The side effects of having to wean a baby cold turkey are slowly subsiding. It may take the emotions longer to heal, but Gary has taken to a bottle quite well. He’s a little piggy. He seems chubbier already.

The next few days will consist mainly of my chemo treatments. Pray for strength, for the fever to stay away, and for the nausea and upset stomach to be controlled.

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31


Anonymous said...

Hey Amy and Brandon,
It is good to read your latest post. I already miss you so much but will rest up for the week that is ahead. You are in my thoughts and prayers often. Enjoy your time together this weekend and stay well - no more fevers. ;)
Love, Mom Martin

Emily Baker said...

I am praying for you every day! You are my intercession project and I am excited about it! I love you so much! I will e-mail you in a minute! May the Lord bless and strenthen you beyond your wildest dreams!

Emily Baker

Rachel Davis said...

Amy and Brandon,
It was fantastic to see you two today. I'm so glad that you're so close now--Arizona would have been a bit longer of a drive. Probably too much for a weekend trip. :)

Whenever your immune system perks up and you can do visitors again, I'm there. I'll be in touch, and will come down again when you give the all clear.

Love ya both,

P.S. Thanks for mentioning my rapidly growing accent. Like I'm not sensitive enough. :) I just need to repeat to myself--"I refuse to be a hick, I refuse to be a hick."

Meam said...

Amy, in my prayers for you I have asked God to send the 15 Archangels, all the angels in heaven, and all the angels on earth to be with you in your hospital room. I have asked Archangel Haniel, the Miracle Archangel, to deliver you a miracle. Ask God for a Miracle, look for & believe in a miracle, and you receive a miracle. We love you Dear, Meam.

Kevin P. Larson said...


We may have recently met you, but know that our hearts are tied to yours and to our Lord's as you go through this trial.

We love you and Brandon. We consider you two of us.

Kevin and Amy (Grace Church)

Anonymous said...

I love you Amy!
Lizzie :)

Terri, Rory, & Alyssa said...

Hi guys. Catherine sent me your link and please know that you are in my prayers! My sister had leukemia as a child so I know some of the procedures your going through and my heart goes out to you, Amy, with a little one too. Love you guys and we'll be praying!!

Terri (Silzell) White

Anonymous said...

Hey Amy,
Hope you got feeling a little better today. I won't be up there this next week, but I'll miss you bunches! :) I loved getting to be there with you so much. I'll miss it. I'm praying for you!
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Hey Amy, I wanted to let you know that I have the Mountain Dew cold and ready to bring when you can have some. Hang in there little girl. Our prayers and love go with you. I'll bring grandpa and grandma as soon as they say it's okay.
Love, Uncle Ron and Aunt Lin

Anonymous said...

I am constantly praying for you, and I know that god will get you through this. When I was told what was happening with you I thought in my mind over and over, "why Amy of all people?, there is no one I know who could be more faithful to god", and then I realized, that knowing that, god will get you through this. You and Brandon and Gary (he is so adorable by the way!!!) are constantly on my mind, in my heart, and in my prayers. Be strong, you know that god is with you.
Anna Beckett

And smile - you went through labor and your water didn't break in Walmart ;) (this will make sense to knowone, but Amy!!!).

Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling better this weekend, Amy! I know you have a waiting list of visitors ;), but perhaps sometime when you are up to it I can pop in to say hi.

Rachel E

Anonymous said...

Amy and Brandon,
We love you so much and pray for you constantly. It's a blessing to read in your own words how you are doing. May the Lord grant you strength for each new day and the grace to see His everlasting arms holding you at all times.
With love, Debbie for all the Browns

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I am home in Tennessee now but distance doesn't make a difference in the ongoing thoughts and prayers for you all day. Steve and I will continually lift you up to our gracious God. May He keep you in his perfect peace as your mind is stayed on Him. The guys are asking about you all the time. We love you. Glad that I got to see you on the 4th. For now,
Love Aunt Kathy

Anonymous said...

You have given us a new but unhappy reason to check the Internet. We have been praying for you and even when we're not talking to God, you are on our minds. We know that God has a plan to heal you and that He will make you whole again. Keep your faith and trust in Him and know that we are praying for your complete and speedy recovery. Please tell Brandon and Gary we said hello. All things considered you could still be in Arizona enjoying our 110 degree days. Take care for now...
Uncle Cliff and Aunt Karen

Dema said...

Hi Amy,
This is Dema, Natacha's mom. I just wanted to say hi and to let you know that you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I am praying that God will give you strength and comfort as you go through the chemo treatments.
Your reliance on God through all of this is inspirational.
God bless you, Brandon and Gary.

Tammy Rigsby said...

Amy, my prayers have been with you and I will continue praying until God heals you and we know he can. I miss you like crazy around here. When Elaine first told us about you, I thought "she is so young and one of the Godliest people I know plus one of the sweetest girls I know, why her". God is with you though, I know that in my heart. God can do miracles. I have seen it. I know he can give you a miracle as well. I love and miss you. Brandon, we are praying for you and Gary also. Thank you for the website so we can keep posted on her condition.
Tammy Rigsby

Anonymous said...

This joke is brought to you by the Pringles Potato Chip. Yes, they are really inked onto the chip.

What did the 300 pound mouse say?

Here kitty, kitty, kitty!

A little humor for you.

Aunt Lin

Anonymous said...

Here is a verse I found last night.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Aunt Lin

Anonymous said...

Amy, WOW this has been a shock to me,You and Brandon have A special place in my heart! I pray that God Heals you!!
And gives you a rainbow of perspective. I have been touched with the (L) stuff before in my life and I didn't like it then and don't now! Gary, My cosin whom I was closest to. But that was before they found the Cure. Amy Gods in control, there is some one that you been given the esteam pleasure to share his word with or the place you are at in the here and now is layed on someones heart. What a mission you have been given, that the only you can do!!! You Go Girl!!! Love Billy Cloyde

Colleen Ymker said...

Hi Amy,
Just had to let you know that the Ymker family is praying for you. I've appreciated so much reading your comments.
Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
With love,
Colleen Ymker and family

Anonymous said...

Hi, Amy! Although you've been travelling a rough road, your faith and courage are inspiring. Know that you're in my prayers! God bless you.

Leslie McCabe