Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chemotherapy Treatment #3

Another benefit of the Chick-fil-a night that I didn’t mention before was that it served as a great distraction from thinking about my impending chemotherapy appointment and from my cancer in general. But after the event was over and I laid in bed thinking about the coming days I could not help but think about my cancer. I knew it was a “dangerous” road to go down, but my mind was reeling. I was thinking about how this is a very small cancer and has not appeared to spread. But they can’t simply take the cancer out and be done. I have to get these dangerous, toxic chemicals put into my body that will cause short-term sickness and possible long-term problems. If you think about it, it’s really pretty bizarre…yes, chemotherapy treatment is “high-tech” in a way, but at the same time it seems like such a “primitive” method of treatment (“Oh, you have a strange mass in your body? Here, let me inject some poison in you - that‘ll take care of it!”). Oh well, all I can do is to trust that God is giving my doctors wisdom and to pray for peace of mind for myself.

For the rest of this post I’ll keep a play-by-play diary of my chemotherapy treatment…


I am in the waiting room getting ready to go back for my blood tests to see if my counts are good enough to get my chemo today…


Action in the waiting room…a lady is having a seizure and the nurses are giving her some oxygen.


The lady who was having a seizure is doing much better now. Thank the Lord.


I was just talking to another patient in the waiting room and told her I live in Pooler and have three young children. She said, “Oh, I read about you in the newspaper last week!” Another man overheard the conversation and said, “Hey, young lady…that was you on the TV last night, wasn‘t it?” By this point several people in the waiting room were looking at me and talking about seeing me on TV. It's kind of embarrassing, but I guess it's also a good conversation starter…


Waiting, waiting, waiting. It has been an hour and I still have not gone back. This could be a LONG day!


I finally got back to see my doctor. He walked in and said, “So, you’re like a rock start now aren’t you?” Oh boy…


I am finally back in the chemo room. I am about to get my new drug, Epirubicin. This drug is so toxic that it will give me third degree burns if any of the fluid leaks out of the IV onto my skin! Most people who get this drug avoid this risk by getting a port (basically, a semi-permanent internal IV connection that a surgeon installs). My doctors said I have good enough veins that I might not have to have the port. I guess we’ll see how today goes. I also have to take a medication along with this new drug that costs $100 per pill…yikes! Good thing the Chick-fil-a night was a success!


Matt and I brought our Christmas card project to chemotherapy today, so we’re putting stamps and address labels on the envelopes. It’s a little tricky with an IV in my right arm, but I’m managing okay…


Well, the "poison" is all in and I‘m getting topped off with one more bag of saline solution. The nurse that helped administer my chemo drugs turned out to be a member of Providence Presbyterian Church (which belongs to the same denomination as our church), so we had a good time talking about friends we had in common, etc.


[Matt] We finally got home from chemo at about 5pm. After helping me give the kids dinner and baths, Erin was pretty exhausted and starting to feel nauseated. She ended up taking some nausea medicine and going to bed for the night at about 6:45pm. Compared to her previous chemo treatments, those side effects seemed to come on pretty quickly this time.

While Erin’s cancer treatments aren’t nearly as severe as those some other people must deal with, it is still a serious disease that has effected her body and her life in countless ways and it will continue to do that for years to come. As a husband, it is hard to watch all of it unfold. But it is times like this when theology (what you believe about God) gets practical. I believe God is sovereign over all, so now I have to trust that He is in complete control of my wife’s cancer. I believe God has unlimited power, so now I have to trust that He is fully able to heal Erin completely. And I believe God is faithful and good to His people, so now I have to trust that these hard days are not in vain because He is faithfully working for her good. I’m not sure how all the pieces fit together…and at times I wish the pieces were different…but I must believe that God is fulfilling His perfect purposes in all of it.

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24