I thought I would write today while I have the strength. So far the chemo side effects haven't reared their ugly heads. I have taken advantage of my anti-nausea meds a few times. I think this round will be easier in that regard since we found the one thing that works after several days of vomiting with the first round. My appetite is starting to go, but I've still been eating and drinking Boost with every meal. The doctors emphasized to me how important it is to eat as much as I can on the good days.
They will be here soon to start my pre-chemo drugs for the day. I start a 24 hour drip of chemo drugs every afternoon, and they begin each one with a cocktail of anti-nausea drugs and Ativan. (I learned how to spell it, go me!) The Ativan makes me sleepy, so I have learned to look forward to my afternoon nap. I was blessed with an excellent nurse last night and managed to get a decent night of sleep. Still not as many hours as I used to get, but an improvement. My white count is at 200 today, the lowest it has been thus far. As a result I'm keeping Gary away today, but he is in good hands. We'll see what tomorrow brings. We go through a lot of hand sanitizer around here and I have a box of masks to use. I think they are more mentally effective than anything. The doctors have said that they've found good hand washing to be the most effective thing, and of course I'm still supposed to limit visitors to as few as possible, and absolutely no one who is the slightest bit ill, or has been exposed to anything, immunized recently, etc. We decided to delay Gary's immunizations until he was a little older, and I'm so glad now because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see him at all through any of this.
The doctor seemed most concerned today with mental aspects of my health. I think he is worried that I am never upset when he visits. He told me it is o.k. to be angry and to say it's not fair, because it isn't. They just want to be sure I have someone to vent to other than my family or nurses, because neither of them are equipped to handle that in his opinion. He wants to make sure I still have a marriage once all of this is over, things like that. I feel like I could have been a better witness while he was here, but it was early and I was weary. I didn't say much. Just as I didn't really react when he told me yesterday that I'd need another round of chemo. I just don't make eye contact because then I will lose it, and losing it doesn't make it any easier for the doctor or the daily dozen it seems who follow him around. (It is, after all, a university hospital, so I see a lot of students.) When they initially told me I had leukemia I think a few of the studends broke down more than I did. Part of that is just the numbness factor. How exactly do you wrap your head around information like that? It takes a while to hit. I have my bad days. Brandon has been there for me (I could write an entire post on the incredible husband God has given me), and my mom, but my Savior most of all. I don't really have a desire to talk to a floor chaplain or a psychiatrist. Perhaps I am still in denial, I don't really think so because I've always been a realist about everything -- I've had my funeral planned for years. But I think mostly it is just the knowledge that God's grace is sufficient for me. I have come to know Him in such a way that I am utterly certain He is near. I also know He allows anger ("be angry and sin not") and allows our cries of "Why?". He understands our weaknesses, He created us after all. He knows my heart better than I do. I hold to the verse, and I apologize for not giving any references -- I am hurrying to write this before the nurse comes to knock me out, but anyway, "I know the plans I have for you...plans to give you a future and a hope." Whether that hope is raising my son and spending many more years with my wonderful husband or spending eternity in heaven with my Lord, I don't know, but I am comforted to know that He does.
I have been receiving so many comments and e-mails from perfect strangers recently. I marvel at the fact that you take time to write someone you will never meet, this side of Heaven anyway, but oh the encouragement you give me! For those of you who have suffered a similar road, or a road so much more difficult I can not even imagine, your testimonies and continued praise to God have ministered greatly to my spirit. I hope to eventually write each of you personally, but know in the meantime that I am reading what you write, and thanking God for each of you. I think the only thing that makes all of this worthwhile is our testimony. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I feel so humbled that God is possibly using me to bring glory to Himself in an even greater way than most people may have. He truly uses the weakest. I have such a deeper understanding of what those before me have gone through, whether it be modern day giants of faith, or David, Job, Moses, Abraham...the list goes on.
I think I have a million people praying for me, and the hundred or so cards on my wall and multitude of daily e-mails convince me of the fact. Thank you all for interceding on my behalf!