Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whirlwind of a Week

It has been a whirlwind of a week...and it’s only Wednesday! 

I started off the week on Monday by going to get an MRI biopsy on a suspicious lump in my right breast (the original tumor is on my left side). I was not prepared for what that procedure would be like. I had two other biopsies done in the past few weeks and they did not hurt too bad and they healed very quickly. I was expecting the same this time, but I was oh so wrong.  When I arrived the nurses started telling me about the procedure. They told me I would be in recovery for observation for about an hour after the procedure was over. I hadn’t had to do that for the other biopsies, so that made me begin to get nervous. I waited for about an hour while they gave me the IV in my arm. Then I went back to get the MRI. I had to lay on my stomach with my head down and my arms over my head for over an hour while they took pictures then biopsied, then took more pictures and did more biopsy. Compared to the other biopsies, this one was far more invasive and painful.

But the real pain came that evening. After I had been home for several hours, I suddenly experienced incredible pain and severe bleeding where they had done the biopsy. The nurses had told me to call if I had any substantial pain or bleeding, so I immediately called but could not get a hold of anyone. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but this pain was so bad that Matt and I decided to head to the Emergency Room (thankfully, Matt‘s parents were visiting and were able to stay at the house with the kids). When we were half-way to the hospital, a nurse returned my call and told us I probably had a blood clot burst. While it was very painful, she said it was not necessarily an emergency and that I could stop the pain and bleeding on my own (applying warm and cold compresses for 20 minutes each). Matt stopped at a gas station to get some supplies to get the compress treatments started. Once we knew it was working, we headed home.

On Tuesday, we met with the oncologist  to discuss my chemotherapy treatment. Once again, we had a lot of information given to us. Here are the basic details. I will start chemotherapy next Tuesday (November 9th) and will return for treatment every 3 weeks for an 18 week period. The chemotherapy drugs (taxotere and cy) will take about 2 hours to administer through an IV. The week following the treatment will probably be the hardest in terms of fatigue, nausea, and a very weak immune system. The next week will be a little better and then the third week (the week before the next treatment) will be fairly normal. Then the process will start all over again for another three week cycle.

There are a few things I need to take care of before chemotherapy begins on Tuesday. One of those things is shopping for a wig/ hat/ scarf... I will begin losing my hair the week after my first chemotherapy treatment, so the nurses suggested finding a wig to match my current hair color and style while I still have my hair. I do not want to let my hair fall out a little at a time, so I will probably have someone shave my head a few days after I receive my first chemotherapy treatment. I don’t think I will wear the wig all the time, but I think it would be good to wear when I am around the kids and when I am in public. Another thing I need to take care of is getting some new glasses. Apparently I can’t wear my contacts during chemotherapy and my current glasses are several years old (so the prescription is not very accurate).   I know my identity is not in my body and in my physical appearance, but at the same time, being somewhat young and having this happen is a little disheartening.  It is always good to be reminded of God’s Word:
Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Here are a few prayer requests that I have in light of all this:
1. Please pray that I will tolerate the chemotherapy fairly well. I am especially nervous about getting sick or getting infections because my immune system will be so weak.
2. Please pray that I will not become withdrawn because of how I am feeling and not being able to get out.
3. Please pray that my children will not feel the separation that will happen because of my health.
4. And most importantly, please pray that I will continue to use this experience as a ministry. God is good...ALL THE TIME. Please pray that I will glorify Him!