Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 2 Recap

It is 4:42 a.m, and I have been wide awake for almost an hour. This is just another way in which my body has betrayed is very confused about our sleeping schedule.
I am nearly to the end of Week 2 of my new Life o' Chemotherapy. Friends are sending me Facebook messages and kind e-mails wondering how things are going. I was trying to think of a good analogy for this and here's what I came up with: I feel like one of the poor little lizards that Little Middle loves to catch and keep as his "pets" in the summer months. Chemo has made me feel stuffed in a jar, with just enough holes cut in the top to get some air. Week 1 had me flat on the bottom of the jar--no stirring, just surviving. Week 2 has allowed me to move around a little bit. Every day I feel a little bit stronger and more "normal," although it does feel like someone keeps picking up my jar and shaking it to get a good look at what I might do next. Hopefully Week 3 will be even better and I can climb the rest of the way to the top, towards freedom.
When we went to "chemo school" a few weeks ago, the nurse ran down an endless list of possible side effects. I was listening, but still holding out hope that most of those wouldn't apply to me. I'm not the typical interperitoneal chemotherapy patient, you know. I'm young, and other than the cancer that invades my body, I'm healthy. That's kind of a joke, ha ha. So now I know that the drugs are more powerful than the mind games I was playing. Nausea is at the top of the list! From the second day forward, I felt sick. Never actually throwing up is a big mark on the positive side, but the icky feeling...ugh. The good news is that I have 5 different medications that treat the nausea symptoms. I try not to think about what I would have felt like without those meds.
Another big obstacle has been food. I have never had an issue with food--EVER--and all of a sudden, I can't eat. I don't even want to be close to food! Chemo changes the senses of taste and smell. I'm still navigating these waters to find out what works for me and what doesn't. The biggest disappointment has been my lack of taste for all things sweet. My family has enjoyed some of my favorite desserts while I hide in my room to avoid them. Sigh.
You also hear about chemo patients feeling fatigued. I have discovered that there is a big difference between "tired" and "fatigued." Tasks that should be fairly simple--like drying my hair or sorting laundry--can easily become overwhelming. I am learning how to lower my expectations for myself and break my days up into sections, so that I can try to accomplish smaller things and still get the rest that I need.
Of course, the last major thing I was concerned with was the possibility of hair loss. I was given this disheartening statistic at chemo school: 100% of Taxol patients lose their hair. 100%. The odds are stacked against me. Preparations have been made and many tears have been shed. The waiting is hard. Nonetheless, Hubby and I pray every day that God would single me out to be the first person in the history of oncology to keep their hair while undergoing treatment. It could happen.
All of this sounds kind of pitiful. I hate to be a downer, so here are a few things that have happened this week that I have the sense to be thankful for:
1. After 8 days of being in the house, I drove myself and the boys to Bahama Bucks where we enjoyed the first shaved ice of the season. Baby chose Blue Bubblegum flavor, and his lips (and cheeks, and nose, and shirt...) were stained blue for two days.
2. I am in awe of the bluebonnets that have sprung up and the green, green grass and trees. His Creation is beautiful.
3. My family enjoyed dinner together, with all 5 of us sitting at the table.
4. I went to the park with my dad, my kids, and Abby dog. I watched my daddy organize all the neighborhood kids into a great game of soccer, and loved seeing my boys run and play in the sunshine.
5. I received the gift of a coffee table book filled with pictures from a family photo shoot we did before I started chemo. The book is beautiful, as are the hearts and the talent of the two friends who blessed me beyond words with it.
He is still good.
I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing." Psalm 16:2


Gran said...

You are amazingly beautiful!! I know this will be a good week!! Love you lots!!

Sandy said...

I go to church with your precious parents and have kept up with your blog. I have been praying relentlessly for you, your boys and the rest of your family and will continue. I hope to encourage you by saying that you have no idea just how many people you inspire and the lives that you enrich as you allow us to read your thoughts and experiences during such a difficult battle. The Lord shines through you so brightly that I'm not even sure if you realize it :>) Thank you for maintaining this blog when I know most days you probably do not feel like it. The Lord is truly using it as a light to many. As a mom of two boys that are 6 and 8, I can very much relate to you and the pain that you feel in your heart as you try to protect them through all of this. I know that they will keep you fighting and I know that God IS using you during this time to shine and reveal His glory through your countenance as you endure the hardship. I am so very sad for all of you that you have to go through this BUT I pray you take comfort in knowing that people you do not even know, are frequently and boldly laying you before the throne of Almighty God and asking for complete and total healing!
Your Sister in Christ,
Sandy Klamert

Anonymous said...

I am blessed by your blogs. I know God is at work in your life and your family's life. I teared up as I read that your dad organized a soccer game. I can see him doing that, what a cool treat to be where you could take that in.
Your life is not in vain, Allyson.
Your Papa God is with you and it shows.
I continue to pray for you and your healing as well as your family and your parents as they travel to and fro to be with all of you!!

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Allyson you and your family remain in my prayers. Thank you for allowing us to peek in the window (or jar) of your world.

Keeping you wrapped gently in His tender, healing arms.


Colleen said...

Dear Allyson,

I don't know if you remember me, but I was ORBC's Children's Director in 1981-1986. Your mom and I are Facebook friends, and although we haven't corresponded directly with each other, I began to notice her posts and the long list of people praying for your family. It wasn't until your mom posted one of your blogs that I got the full story of what was going on. Oh dear, precious Allyson!

So vivid to me is the picture I see of your innocent little face and that of your brother's standing beside you, singing and praising Jesus with all your heart in Children's Church each Sunday. When I read your lizard-in-a-jar analogy I cried to think of where you are right now. What an awful place, and yet, paradoxically, what a wonderful place--to be able to so strikingly communicate the horrendous difficulty God has called you to endure, and still recognize and enjoy the love of your family, the bluebonnets of the Texas spring, the vitality of your dad's love, your friends' compassion, and type in bold print: "He is still good." I suspect that your life in the jar right now is more real than those of us looking in. The fellowship of Jesus in suffering makes it real, and His joy comes in the morning!

I join the army of people praying for your strength, endurance, courage, faith, and healing, and for your family's excruciating struggle as well.

Keep posting your blogs when you can. You obviously have a gift in writing, and God has already used it to for good in at least one case I know for sure--me!

Colleen Averill

Anonymous said...

I am with Baby - thumbs up to Bubblegum shaved ice. And I am pretty sure you are doing something wrong if you don't stain at least some part of your body.

Here's praying for you to get to the top of the jar.

Love ya-


Anonymous said...

Prayers still being offered. And, yes it "can" happen sweetie, the God that created your hair follicles can command them to hold tight!! AMEN. --Rebecca B.

That Guy said...

You know, the hair loss isn't ALWAYS a bad thing...

My Dad, with his fight against Leukemia, lost all of his hair during chemo...

His Super 70's Frizzy Fuzzy 'Fro hair.

...that he had kept through the 80's. The man would have put Will Ferrel to shame.

Thank God for small miracles.

Kandice said...

hey!!! Sent you a little package earlier this week..Hope you got it!!! Keep in mind the girls helped pick out some of the things!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to read this and know that you are feeling a little better. You are right - it could absolutely happen & you could still have a head full of hair! I love the things you find to be thankful for - you are precious! I'm still praying!
Betty Hayes