Show Your Stripes!
I am currently living my life in 3 month intervals. Mike and I don’t really know what my prognosis is going to be past these 3 month intervals. On chemo, I have to get my blood checked at the end of each 28 cycle, and after 3 cycles I have to do a CT scan. The blood work is to ensure my body is handling the chemo well enough and my white and red blood cells, platelets, and bilirubin are all at relatively normal ranges. The CT scan is to see how well the chemo is working and whether or not the tumor(s) have shrank and by how much.
So, back in April I was in Tampa to see the doctors so they could check me after my first round of chemo, we set this June 10th date to get my first CT scan after attempting chemotherapy. Everything has been planned around this date. We even decided to bring the boys and my parents, brother and his family along and make the Florida trip into a Disney trip! It was great to have a fun reason to go to Tampa, and the boys had a blast in Disney. I’ll be making multiple posts on our Disney trip soon, so stay tuned.
After a fun week exploring Disney World, Mike and I woke up early in Orlando on Friday, June TENTH (the day has arrived) and drove to Tampa. I had blood work at 8am, then I went for my CT scan at 9. I get checked in, and they soon bring me a travel box that holds 3 drinks (about 12- 16 oz each). It looks as if I have gone to Sonic and bought drinks for the entire car, but no- they are all for me. What are in these cups, you might ask? A nasty orange drink that tastes terrible. I will give them credit, they try to make it tolerable, but I can’t imagine ANYONE would ever prefer this drink taste. I’m told to drink 1 cup every 30 minutes, and they’ll be back for me in 1.5 hours. I am called back within this 1.5 hour to get an IV put in as well. And I would like to say that this was the largest IV I think I’ve ever received. Not sure why it needed to be so large, but it took the nurse a bit to find my vein which is oh so pleasant since I’ve already been stuck once from getting blood drawn, I haven’t eaten because you can’t eat after midnight, and I’ve been sippin’ on some sizz-urp that tastes like nasty Tang. And I’m freezing. I’ve been sweating my ass off in Disney all week, and now I’m freezing in Moffitt even with my sweater on. After my IV gets set up and my arm feels like it’s going to fall off because the medical tape to strap it on is cutting off circulation, I’m back to the lobby to finish my orange syrup.
They call me back after I finish my lovely beverage and the 1.5 hours is up, and I lay on the beam/table to be scanned. As I’m lying there I couldn’t help but feel a little emotional. I decided to say a prayer which I was originally thinking would be a prayer to pray that I am okay. Instead, all I could think about is how thankful I am. It was a weird feeling because I honestly didn’t feel particularly thankful lying there on a beam, my shorts around my knees (so the metal pieces wouldn’t show up on the scan of my abdomen), and an IV in my arm getting saline and contrast injected in that makes me feel like I’m peeing my pants. All I could think about is how thankful I was that I have 2 healthy, happy boys who just had the best time in Disney. I have a husband who loves me (medical issues and all) and supports me through all the good and the bad. He even loves me when I have crazy hair, bad breath and digestive issues. I’m thankful that I have 2 parents that are active and healthy and love to be with my boys and love them like they are their own. I have friends that pray for me and send me messages to let me know they are thinking of me on this big day. Cancer sucks. Getting scans suck. Having to go to Tampa frequently for doctor visits and not for the beach sucks. Chemo meds definitely suck. BUT…crap happens…to all of us…and this is my crap. I could focus on the crap, but I choose to focus on the good. We all have a choice, and I choose to be happy. I have mental struggles constantly…I’m thankful for the good things…but I’m sad that I have cancer…I’m thankful…I’m sad…I’m thankful…I’m sad…the ping pong match goes on and on, but when I settle the score, I choose to be thankful instead of sad. I’m going to let myself have some moments of sadness, but I’d rather be happy than stuck in the sadness.
One great thing about Moffitt Cancer Center is that they schedule all my medical nonsense in one day for me, so blood work at 8, scan injection at 9, CT scan at 10, follow up with doctor at 12:40. By the time I see my doctor, they have already gotten my blood work results and my CT scans. The results were in, and fortunately the tumors are stabilized. They have shown some shrinkage, but mainly they have stabilized. The best news would be that they have gone away completely, but the 2nd best news is they have stabilized which means the chemo is working. Yay! The chemo is working! Boo! I have to keep taking chemo because it’s working. Here goes the ping pong match again. Yay! Boo! Yay! Boo! (The emotions are really quite exhausting.) Okay, so more chemo (damn), for how long? At least 3 more months, but more than likely for at least a year. A year?! (damn, damn). Okay, wrap my brain around that and don’t turn into an emotional basket case. It’s hard! We go back to Tampa in 3 months for another CT scan (yay! I get to drink the orange poison again!), and we’ll figure out what to do after that. So here we go again with living life in 3 month intervals. I’m quite confident that I will continue to have ping pong matches of emotions, and I’m going to let myself have them; I will choose to remain happy and positive though. No one wants to be around negative Nancy…including myself. Cheers to the next 3 months and figuring out how to get through 3 more cycles of chemo. What I do know is that this little family of mine will get me through it all!