Friday, June 22, 2012

Hit A Brick Wall

I am tired. Not just tired as in "I've had a long day," but tired as in I can't get off the couch for more than 10 minutes at a time of activity or my legs start to get weak and I feel like I am going to collapse. It's been a very long time since I have felt this weak but I know its due to treatment and a low hemoglobin and hematocrit before treatment on Tuesday. I also still have this horrific deep cough that I can't shake and therefore prevents a lot of peaceful sleep.
I'm trying though. I always feel like if I can just make myself get up and be active that I will feel better. You know what I mean. It's like when you exercise even though you really don't want to because you know you will feel better afterwards. Well, that was my thought process too. So, yesterday, I went to CrossFit and did okay given how I felt, then I took my kids to a play date for 2 hours, went to an appointment, and then took Chloe to gymnastics. Needless to say I was in the bed before 7 last night trying to rest but my body was revolting. The steroid is just now starting to leave my body so maybe I will get better rest tonight. I don't know. Today, I had grand plans of getting out and forcing it again today, but landed back on the couch at 9:30 this morning and slept off and on until 2:30.
So for now and this weekend, I plan to rest and try not to feel guilty about it. I plan to do the bare  minimum so that my body can recover.

Monday, June 18, 2012

ONE...Such A Small Number, Such A Huge Difference

So tonight I am lying on the couch, cuddled up under a queen size comfy blanket with my computer and my thoughts. Dangerous, I know. Ha! Earlier today I was thinking about tomorrow and how many treatments I have left. I could have sworn on my own life that I only had 4 left. However, I was wrong. There are 5. FIVE! And while a difference of 1 probably doesn't mean a lot to anyone else, it means the world to me in this moment. It means, in my mind, an extra treatment even though it was there all along and I had just miscounted. It means more time spent in severe pain after the chemo, it means more days of laying around and getting tired by just thinking of all that I should be doing but just don't have the energy for. It means another anniversary where I am sick (I have treatment on my anniversary this year), another birthday where I am sick (treatment a few days before my big 3-5), and just more time where I have to say "no" to my kids and the things that I love because I can't physically do those things.
But when I stop to really think about all of those things that the extra treatment means to me, in the back of my head it also makes me think that I am very very lucky to be having another anniversary with my amazing husband, that I am lucky to be having my 35th birthday because just 3 years ago I didn't know if I would even make it to one more birthday. It means that I am lucky to have been able to watch my kids grow up and that I likely will have a lifetime with them because of these treatments...and more importantly God's grace first and foremost.

So tomorrow is a super long day for me and David. We will start out at 9:45 with my first appointment and will probably not be home until 5:00ish. I will have oodles of labs drawn, meet with my wonderful oncologist, get results of my latest ECHO (which concerns me a little because I know my heart function has gone from the high end of normal to the low end), and then go get the good stuff (phenergan, marinol, decadron and emend to prevent nausea) and then the chemo.

The things I need to remember to talk with my oncologist about tomorrow are:

  1.  I am still wearing my heart monitor to check for abnormalities because of some symptoms I am having, but so far the only things it has come back showing are a sinus tachycardia which means that my heart does speed up at random times (110-130 beats/minute) for no reason but it's not a "dangerous" rhythm, and some PAC's which is where the top part of my heart beats prematurely at times. These things are both okay, just really uncomfortable when they happen. I'm going to see if I can ditch the monitor after treatment tomorrow since what they have found so far has been "normal abnormalities." 
  2. I am quite sure we are going to revisit the fact that I am off of my Tamoxifen (the cancer pill I take for 5 years). I am nervous that she is going to have me start it back since she wasn't super keen on me being off of it for this long. I will do what she suggests, although I would love to be off of it for another few months. While I still have some bone pain after  chemo, it does go away a few days afterwards unlike when I was on the Tamoxifen and had pain EVERY SINGLE DAY in my bones. Not to mention I have been hot flash free for the most part since coming off of it. That is glorious given that I live in Tennessee and it's 95 degrees here right now.
  3. Just need to mention some forgetfulness that I have been having lately. As in I have been driving and have totally forgotten where I am. Like I have no idea what road I am on or anything. It's kind of scary, but has only happened twice so it is probably nothing. But I also am forgetting where I put things,  and I often leave things at home that I need while I am out. My mom thinks it's probably just chemo brain which is a totally true phenomenon and I bet she is right but she suggested I mention anyways.
  4. And for about the past week I have been hacking up thick, gross stuff, have been especially hoarse at night, get into coughing fits and can't stop or sleep, and have also seen streaks of blood in my mucous. Again, probably nothing but worth mentioning anyways. Maybe I need an antibiotic?!? Sinus washes aren't working and allergy meds aren't either.

So tomorrow, if it crosses your mind, say a little prayer for Team Blevins. We appreciate every single prayer that is offered on our behalf and we are eternally grateful and humbled that you take us to the feet of Jesus for His healing and comfort.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Oh Why Did We Do That?!? Oh, and Chemo #13

Before you get into the post I am going to shamelessly ask you to go to my family blog when you have a second and check out pictures from our beach vacation. There are some super cute ones of my sweet Chloe and Brody and I just couldn't resist this opportunity to share them with each of you. Plus then, you will be able to see my family and the reason why I fight so hard to live when I could have probably very easily given up a long time ago. So, you can either click the Team Blevins button on the side of my blog, or  this link here: Team Blevins.

Moving right along though... Confused by the title of this post? It's the best I could come up with as I sit here in an absolutely silent house at 2:29 AM blogging while everyone else is snoring and dreaming of lollipops and cotton candy. At least that is what I hope they are dreaming of because those are two pretty good things in my book. I digress. Anyways, back to the title. Why, oh why did we give all of our glasses to Goodwill? I mean I know why we did - because we are a polycarbonate or plastic drinking glass kind of family and NEVER ever used the glasses to drink from. They were taking up too much room in our cabinets so we got rid of them. Now however, in this very moment, I WANT a glass. I NEED a glass. See, I am sitting here on the verge of puking, not because of the chemo I got yesterday, but because the heartburn is RIDICULOUS!!! I never get heartburn - ever. I just don't. I'm lucky in that respect because if I had to deal with heartburn often, it just may push me over the edge. The only times in my life when I have had it have been when I was preggo with my sweet Chloe and Brody. Now I know what some of you are thinking and the answer is a big fat NO!!!! I am not preggers again, and I can sit here and type that with 100 percent confidence. Don't get me wrong, I would be over-the-top thrilled with another baby if God were to bless Team Blevins again in that a few years after all treatments have STOPPED and I have had time to recover. And now I am just sitting here thinking about God laughing at me and my calendar demands since His calendar is ALWAYS better than mine. And again, I am off topic...just a side effect of the chemo I am sure that is giving me jumbled up thoughts this morning. Now, back to the glass drinking cup problem. The only thing in the past that has helped heartburn has been drinking milk. Well, I don't drink milk - ever - except for when I have heartburn. And I can't drink milk out of plastic or polycarbonate because it makes me gag. I HAVE to have it in a glass and I have to chug it. None of this letting it sit around and get even the slightest bit warm. Ewww! But we don't have glasses, except for a few wine glasses. It seems utterly wrong to put milk in a wine glass in the middle of the night, but hey, I had to do what I had to do which meant...putting milk in a wine glass, chugging it. I'm sure if my neighbors were awake at this ungodly hour and were seeing me chug from a wine glass they would think something was severely wrong. And they would only be partially right. Let's just pray that this works though because if not, there may be a repeat very soon.

And now that I have gone back and just read that crazy long paragraph, I have decided that I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. Just bear with me though cause I have only a little more to go. Yesterday, known as treatment 13, went pretty well. My doctor changed everything up on me in order to TRY her best to prevent a repeat of last time. This is how we rolled yesterday:
I was pre-medicated with 1 Liter of Saline, Emend (a powerful anti-nausea), Decadron (another powerful anti-nausea which is actually a steroid - and most likely the reason why my thought are ALL OVER THE PLACE - it makes me feel crazy), and Phenergan (again an anti-nausea).
Then after those things were infused, the chemo was started and I was in serious sleep mode!!! You see usually I get the Phenergan and Decadron only if I get nauseated during treatment (which hello, ALWAYS happens). By that time though, the dry heaving has started and it's hard to stop it. So this time they decided to hit me up before my body even had the chance to get sick.  I ended up sleeping through almost the whole treatment, the whole 1 hour car ride home, most of the evening once I got home, and half of the night (remember, it is now 2:48 AM).
The only negatives that I have experienced so far are the restless leg syndrome from the Phenergan, and severe leg and hip pain. Oh, and I did have a  pretty big episode of heart flip-flopping at the beginning of treatment that lasted for several minutes, but I am wearing a handy-dandy heart monitor for a month so it was all recorded for my cardiologist to see. I also had a scary episode last night when I was just laying down watching tv and my heartrate all of a sudden just jumped up to 125 and stayed that way for several minutes. It too was recorded though, and I did get a call from the recording company checking on me, but they didn't advise me to go to the hospital so it was probably just some harmless tachycardia. As for the pain though, David was so kind last night to rub my legs to try to get them to feel better but nothing really helps the pain. I did take an 800 mg Motrin and 2 Lortab which took some of the pain away, but they never really stopped hurting. It's hard to describe it in technical terms, but here is what I told David last night: "I wish someone would just take a sledge hammer to my knee caps, my feet and my hip flexors because that would honestly feel better than this does right now." I guess that in nurse world that would equate to a "10" on the pain scale of 1-10. Although, they might extend the scale a bit if I told them how bad it actually was. As I sit here and type though, I can say that for now, the pain is about a 6 on the scale. I still hurt pretty bad, have heating pads on, and am just waiting until 6:00 to get here so I can take another mega dose of Motrin and maybe just maybe get a little more sleep. If I didn't think it would wake the whole family from dreamland, I would go right now and run a hot epsom salt bath with some lavender in it to soak in and see if that would help.
And now I am tired of rambling and I am sure if you have stuck through reading this totally random post for this long that you are either tired of reading it too or you now have a headache from trying to keep up with it...or both. So, I'm off to drink more milk from a wine glass since the heartburn is still with me. I will update, more concisely, in a few days.