Back to Chemo

I fell asleep early lastnight. Netflix continually lost the audio of the show I was trying to watch, so I just gave up, and shut everything down, including me. Perks of adulthood.

I woke up around 3:30 am, and remembered what day it is. My three week break from Chemo is coming to an end. Today is the Monday before Chemo Tuesday. There are so many feelings that go along with that thought.

My first thought was, this is #2, out of four, so I’m almost halfway done. I am learning so much along this path, and one thing is, God is big.

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I’ve had  this Meme for a while.

Just pondering it’s meaning, and today I see what it means to me in so many ways. There are no surprises to God. He knows our life story, because He is the Author, so me going through Chemo is no big shock for Him.

Looking back, I can see how everything just fell into place. My daughter and I have lived on our own, with God’s guidance, for almost 4 years. It was my job to keep her safe, and care for her the best way I knew how. Living life together, one day at a time, has brought me an extreme amount of joy.

Today, it would seem, our roles have reversed thanks to Chemo.

I didn’t know I would be battling Breast Cancer this year, but God did. It gives me great comfort knowing He has already gone before me to fight this battle, and God always wins.

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John 13:7 says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

My daughter started driving the day she got her permit. We were leaving the DMV, and she asked, “Can I drive?” That was about a year ago. She learned to drive with my Ford F150, and I told her, “If you can drive this truck, you can drive almost anything.” It was hard for me to sit in the passenger seat at times, but she never put a scratch on it. She’s an excellent driver.

Daddy stepped in at Christmas, and gave her a car. Actually, he bought her two. The first one he bought, was her dream machine. A canary yellow, 2010, Chevy Camaro SS. I was amazed, and told him, “Uh, No.” She had been dreaming about this car, and he had searched the ends of the earth to find it. It was the hardest thing ever for me to say no.

He then bought her a more sensible car. Still sporty, but safer. Great gas mileage, and a thumpin’  sound system which is vital to her. He still has the Camaro parked behind his office. I am sure she drives it every chance she gets, but she now sees why it was a no. It’s way too much car for her at this age.

IF she hadn’t started driving when she did, I wouldn’t have a live in driver to Chemo.

What started out as something that had to be done, has turned into something she wants to do. She wants to drive me, and care for me in this way. It was very difficult for me to allow this to happen, but I knew I couldn’t drive myself. Chemo has helped me surrender to areas of my life that I couldn’t before.

I have to let people care for me.

Today, I will clean house, and restock the fridge.

Even though I don’t know how I will feel after Tuesday, I can prepare. Healthy snacks are a must after Chemo. I think I’ll buy flowers too. The last time I encountered The Red Devil, I slept for 3 days. It took another 2 days to feel somewhat human again, and 6 days to have a clear thought.

I may not know much of God’s plan, but I know He has one. I would have never imagined Chemo would be a part of it, but this path is only temporary. He is teaching me patience, because we are nowhere near done yet.

Learning With Chemo

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“A writer needs to write”, they say.

This is true. I think of something to write about almost everyday, but it rarely ends up here. As a writer, I get focused on sounding eloquent,  or making sure there is true meaning to my words. They also say, “Write. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.” My life doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I have a sister who is ten years older than me. Ten years ago, she went through the same kind of Breast Cancer I have. It even occurred the same time of year. The doctors know more now, so my journey is easier than hers.

She started sharing a list of things not to do during Chemo. I just laughed and said, “Oh, I’ve already done all of that. Thanks though!”

*The sun is not your friend.

I used to love to soak up the sunshine, and just feel it penetrate my skin. I did that after one of my Chemo Treatments, and paid the price for two days. I felt really sick from the sun.

*Google is not your friend.

Do not Google your symptoms, or any side effects. I love Google, and use it all the time, but not for Chemo. They list every side effect imaginable, and there are some horror stories out there. I was terrified of the thought of Chemo, and then I read a comment, “Cancer doesn’t kill. Chemo does.” I was done with Google, and would call my doctor if needed.

I believe God has given me a relatively easy path through this, so I can share with others.

There will be things you need to modify. It’s all about your body, and what it’s going through. It’s time to listen to, and be kind to your body. Pretty much every little thing you did before Chemo, you will be grateful for afterwards. I have a lot of gratitude for what it has shown me, and you can read more about that here.

You will get through this, and be better for it.

It’s ‘body over mind’ time Beautiful Souls.

*No heavy lifting or strenuous work.

I drug my 50 lb. fully loaded trashcan down to the street just like before. Once was enough. I thought my heart would explode.

When your body says, “Stop”, just stop and stretch out across your bed. It needs to rest.

The main thing is to pour more goodness into the body, than poison. Chemo stays in your system for 48 hours, and then leaves, so be careful the day of, and two days after. Eat small meals of goodness. Fruit, veggies, good cheeses, with crackers. Do you buy those Goldfish crackers for your kids?

Eat them all. Parmesan Goldfish will be your best friend, and taste delightful right after Chemo.

I drink a ton of liquid nutrition. It has been my very best friend, and you can find that here.

If you, or someone you know is going down this Chemo path, please feel free to share. The path may not look beautiful at first, but this is one journey I won’t soon forget.

 

 

That Chemo Brain

Having thoughts, and getting them from my mind, to the page, is similar to herding cats. Being a writer, that’s frustrating.

I’m learning to relax. It is safer for those I love.

What used to flow from my heart through my hands, is now literally pecking one sentence, or thought, at a time. They call it Chemo Brain, and I fought it for a long time. I should be able to do, say, and think like I normally would before Chemo, right? Tomorrow will be my 10th treatment, so no.

I’ve attempted some crazy stuff during Chemo, like mowing my yard that sits in Texas. Tasks I took for granted became insurmountable. Being the poster child of Overthinkers, I didn’t want Chemo Brain.

If someone asks you what you want for dinner, and you can’t figure that out, you probably shouldn’t be operating machinery with sharp blades.

Be encouraged my warrior, because Chemo has it’s perks. Early on in this journey, I documented, “Things I Love (Thanks to Chemo).” You may be having toxins pumped into your body, but the outer shell is looking good. My eyes are bright, and clear, and that shower is down to 5 minutes. No more shaving because your body is hairless from head to toe.

You have this healthy glow, but I’m guessing it’s because my insides are glowing.

One of the most difficult things for me to embrace, was the mindlessness. I’m quiet a lot. Mainly because the thoughts go by before I can converse. If they give me too much steroid with my treatment, you don’t wanna hear my thoughts. Steroids help fight the disease, but I have heard they turn me into an ass. You learn really quick who loves you the day after Chemo.

The best part is, this is only temporary.

Everything my body is going through will pass. It’s all part of the fight. I saw a quote, “The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.”-Napoleon Bonaparte. Well, my mind is pretty quiet, so heal away body. God will bring me through this better than before. For now, I can be quiet.

Question the Chemo

I am here to shed a positive light on Chemo.

Talk about a complete change of mindset. My initial reaction was sheer terror. God has shown me so many things through this, and the first thing was trust. I had to trust Him on this path, and that He was going to perform His miracle through this. I still believe that, but He shows me I have a part.

By placing my trust in God, I tend to not ask many questions. God always uses physical pain to grab my attention. He doesn’t put me in pain, let’s be clear, but if I am experiencing physical pain, He will use that for all it’s worth. Then it becomes a match of tug of war, but I eventually surrender.

Yesterday, was my seventh treatment.

I only have five more, and then I get a two week break before starting four treatments over a twelve week period. Lesson One. Don’t get too comfortable where you are. God doesn’t like complacency.

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Yep, this is one of my favorite Memes. Yesterday, as I was curled up in the fetal position in my Chemo chair, I wasn’t feeling much like a Badass. The complete opposite actually.

Of course I waited to say anything, thinking my body was just overreacting. Listen to your body. By the time the nurse came over, all I could say was, “I don’t feel good.” Then I started sobbing. By then it was too late.

The insurance company had changed one of my premeds. I will call them today, and find out the reason, but I am thinking they found one to make more money on. My thighs started aching severely, but I tried to walk it out. Then, I couldn’t walk, because it felt like someone was stripping out the veins in my legs, and I began having severe abdominal cramps.

The nurse stopped the premed, and gave me saline to help flush it out. She also gave me an anti-nausea medicine, because I had been looking around for the nearest empty trashcan.

It was the premed, because once she stopped it, the pain ceased immediately. Then I just got pissed. How dare they change my meds without consulting me first? It never dawned on me to ask if I was getting the same medicines every week, but now I will ask questions.

That was yesterday, and today is a new day.

I feel fine, just a little worn out physically. Chemo can be a beautiful thing, so have no fear. They had me on the perfect dosage of meds, and I felt great! I actually felt better during Chemo, than I did before Chemo. I guess because it is fighting the bad guy and is winning. Have faith in God, but question man.

Thank You Chemo

God knows when to talk with me. It’s either in the shower, or while vacuuming. Both are a mindless movement where He can get my undivided attention.

Taking a shower, and relishing in the fact they’re so quick now. I hop in, lather up, rinse, and step out. Ten minutes max, depending if I take time to stand there under the rain head.

I will save a small fortune on shampoo, and hair products, during Chemo. There is less to pack to go away for a weekend. The hairdryer alone, took up a lot of space.

The same amount of time it took to style my hair, is now used more productively. Like getting out the door on time.

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The first week of Chemo, I dropped 10 pounds. What girl wouldn’t love that!

Years ago, I drove to Austin, TX once a week for 6 weeks, for laser on my chin. Standing in front of a mirror every morning, plucking the chin hairs out of my chin, was not my idea of fun. Genetics in action.

I was advised to shave the area, just like a man would, and come in for laser. It worked for a while, and then they switched machines, and it stopped working.

I just kept shaving my chin, up until a week ago. No more chin hair! Love that!

I hardly have to shave anywhere now, and I am loving that. Sliding into a pair of shorts, at a moments notice is now awesome. Don’t haveta check my legs for hair because there is none. This might actually get me somewhat excited for swimsuit season. I’m digging it.

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No matter what life brings Beauties, it’s how we see it that matters most. Look for the unseen, and strengthen your Faith. God will use it, but be warned, Satan will too!

Look for the good in everything. Some days are easier than others, but that’s when God sends people into your path. Following this Breast Cancer Journey, has brought so many amazing people into my life. Like never before! I feel loved, and I get to love them back!

I still feel a little awkward when I see people today, that saw me a month ago with a head full of hair. A vendor at The Farmer’s Market looked at me and said, “Is everything okay with you health-wise? Because the last time I saw you…you had hair.” I appreciated his candor. His mother died from this.

My hairdresser/friend that shaved my head twice, didn’t charge me anything. I told her, “God is going to bless you for all the good you do for others.” She said, “I don’t even haveta look for the blessings anymore. They’re just there.”

Tips During Chemo

I am grateful to so many people right now.

People that God has given me, so I don’t walk this journey alone. There is a Blogger on this site I am extremely grateful for. I don’t even know her name, only her Blog name bookjunkie. She wrote this yesterday, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. She is ahead of me on this path, and blazing a trail for us all.

morning

Once I stepped outside, my morning looked like this. It’s a new day. Here’s what I can share, for anyone else walking this path is.

*Don’t let yourself get hungry.

Eat small things throughout the day, and keep your body fueled. My new fave is Parmesan Goldfish crackers. They taste divine! Fruit, veggies, crackers, and plenty of water will make your body sing. Don’t eat pizza after Chemo. I waited until I was starving and did that. Haven’t been that sick since in years.

*Make sure you are getting the best possible care.

It’s your body, so be picky. The first Chemo treatment I had, my port was newly installed. Being protective over it, I was very nervous about the treatment. The nurse picked up on that, and missed my port completely. The Chemo needle went straight through my chest. I left and went to another location for treatment, and had the most loving and gentle care.

*Get plenty of rest.

If you haven’t read yesterday’s Blog about that, here it is. My body is fighting cancer, and being an otherwise healthy body, it doesn’t know what to do with the Chemo. Give it plenty of water and rest my friend. This too shall pass. The day of, and the day after Chemo, don’t make any plans. Give yourself that time to let your body fight to heal.

Just remember, this is a temporary situation for a long term result. You’re stronger than you know. See you on the other side.

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Chocolate and Chemo

I woke up this morning wanting to put the brakes on my life. Just for a few days. Everything happened so fast. The list of who I’ve seen and what has been done is huge. Tomorrow, I get my port placement inserted very early. Austin is growing on me.

I went to see my doctor today. He is delightful, and has a sparkling attitude. He was going over the results of the MRI, with this puzzled look on his face. He said when they did the mammogram and ultrasound, they saw three other small satellites floating around the one mass. After reviewing the MRI, which is significantly more detailed, there were none.

No satellites. Just the one mass alone.

He looked puzzled, but it was no surprise to me. I flat out told him, “God is healing me!”

He smiled, nodded his head, still looking at the MRI and said, “Yes. We need God.”

Then I went to learn all about Chemo.

I had my book ready to take notes, but didn’t need it. On her lap was this large binder filled with pages , which were all going home with me. I put my book away. She started flipping through all the pages, and at first it was mild. She was telling me what I could expect from the medicines.

It was all good until she started talking about some negative effects of the combined Chemo. My face was priceless I’m sure as I looked at her and said, “Rebuke.”

I’m just walking up to doors on this journey. Tapping to see if they open. When they do, I walk through and see what the person on the other side has in store. God has lined up the most wonderful people for me. My doctor laughs and says, “You’re gonna be just fine.”

The lady in the Chemo department is excited about me being there. I noticed about 3/4 of the way through her stack of pages, she just stopped and put them up. She said she didn’t see any need to go over the rest because I was gonna be just fine. As I was leaving, she told me, “We’re gonna have fun! I’m so glad you’re here. We need you.”

God has me right where I’m supposed to be. After we left Austin, I stopped and bought this.

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A bowl full of chocolate that I best enjoy now, because chocolate and Chemo don’t mix.

Keep Choosing Her

I woke up this morning to the smell of Mrs. Meyers. I cleaned house yesterday, and not just the usual dusting and vacuuming. No, my darling, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing corners.

It reminded me of my drinking days.

I was a falling down, blackout drunk.

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I posted this on my Letitgocoach Facebook page, but seeing it again this morning, it spoke to me as a sober woman. Sobriety is a choice, and when you have family history of alcoholism, the odds of drinking increase.

Recently, I offended a friend of mine.

She lost her sobriety after taking care of her Grand-kids for a week. That would definitely be a tempting time to drink, but no, I’m not giving up sobriety. She asked if I’d ever been tempted to drink, and I told her, “You would think so when the doctor told me I had Breast Cancer, but you can’t drink during Chemotherapy.”

She compared my Cancer, to her one bad day.

Hey, anyone can stop drinking, but living sober is an act of God. It’s a hard choice, and by His grace, the only choice to continue being a sober woman, is to keep choosing her.

Body in Balance

I’ve been familiar with this nutritional product since 1999. I knew what it could do and how it made me feel. It gives my body a feeling of optimum health, consistent energy, and well being.

During my Breast Cancer Journey, it showed me it was capable of doing so much more!

When I learned of my diagnosis, in March 2016, I started drinking more than the suggested amount. My body would need to generate a ton of new blood cells to counteract Chemo treatment. The Chemotherapy was killing off blood cells faster than my body could produce.

Body Balance is a liquid, and feeds your body at a cellular level, which oxygenates the blood creating rapid cell reproduction.

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God and Body Balance kept me alive during Chemo, and I continue to drink it everyday. My daughter drinks it too.

At the end of Chemo, my Oncologist called me into his office for one final visit. His words still haunt me to this day. He said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but your blood looks better now, then it did when we first met.”

We need good health to enjoy life.

If you know anyone going through Chemo, or who wants to feel good everyday, connect with me for more info. My name is Barb and here’s my email: Letitgocoach@gmail.com

God’s Not Done

Yesterday, I was pondering God’s plan for my life. I wanted to know I’m on the right path. If I’m really doing what God wants me to do.

Well my daring, there’s one thing I do know.

Either way, He’s going to use it for our good and His glory. It’s all part of a greater plan.

In particular I was thinking of my Chemo treatments for Breast Cancer. It was scary enough having Breast Cancer, but Chemo was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Toward the end of my treatment I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but God pulled me through.

It felt like Chemo was killing me, but God was using Chemo to kill the Cancer, not me.

Looking back I can say, “Breast Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me.” It brought me heart to heart with the King himself.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am.

It’s a new day, so God’s not done.

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