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