Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A week of fever….and no chemo

This has been a tough week….there’s just no other way to put it.  It’s really hard to find anything good when you feel so rotten.  You can take a day or two, but day after day begins to wear you down.

Last Monday I saw my primary care physician per my oncologist’s request.  He said when the regular radiologist evaluated the CT scan of my sinuses – that was taken the previous Saturday in the ER – he did see a “thickening” on one side, so he continued treating me for a sinus infection.  He said he didn’t really like doxycycline for this kind of infection and changed me to cefdinir.

The rest of the week I continued to run a fever, much of the time, just over 101 – enough to make you feel terrible all the time.  I’d take 2 Tylenol and wait for the sweating to occur.

Tuesday I had to work on the spare room to be able to get a bed set up in there.  I was able to do it, and with Guy’s help we got the bed put together.  And we had room to spare.  When the sun comes into that room each morning, it is so pretty through the sheer curtains.  I think I probably over-did on that day, but it had to be done.
Wednesday my temp was back up to 101.  It always goes down with 2 Tylenol, so I have a few hours where I don’t feel so bad.  I was excited this day, because Mark and Chris arrived to stay overnight.  They were on their way to Dallas where Chris (13) was going to be in a soccer tournament.  They swept the 3 games of the tournament.  Meanwhile, Dylan (15) was in another tournament.  They lost the 1st game but won the last 2. 

Thursday morning, I was able to fix breakfast for us all.  We’ve drove by the new house so they could see it in the daylight. Mark wanted to take Chris out to the farm and show him where he spent most of his weekends growing up as a boy.  They walked around the barns.  
I stayed in the car.  I didn’t dare get out in that cold.  I was pushing it just getting out period.  Then Chris drove the Jeep around the open pasture – having a ball – could barely see over the steering wheel.  
He drove the 7 miles back to town on the dirt road.  
He did a good job.  What would really be fun for the boys would be to let them drive around out there on the UTV…..maybe this summer.  Mark and Chris really enjoyed the hour or so before they had to come back to town and get on the road.  They brought Heidi and Abby (the golden retrievers) for us to keep for a few days.  They are such sweet dogs.

As soon as Mark gets back to KC, he has to fly to Birmingham for some mandatory meetings.  He will drive his company car back, coming by here to get the girls on Feb.6.

Later in the day, I chilled all evening long and a couple hours into the night.  I went to bed in fleece pajamas and piled on the blankets – HATE chilling.  About 3 am the blankets when flying off!  I even had to get up and change into lighter PJs.  Before I got this infection, I was still sleeping in my summer PJs – like to sleep cool.  Nighttime here lately has been crazy.  Sometimes it with light PJs and barely covered up.  Sometimes, it’s winter PJs and socks on my feet.  Other times, it is everything in between.  Sometimes I get pretty good sleep with getting up once, and sometimes I get no sleep at all.  Other times, it’s everything in between.

Friday and Saturday my temperature was all over the place – high was 101.2.  Friday I went to the infusion center to get my bag of fluid.  I couldn’t tell that I felt all that much better after getting it because of the fever.  However, it did keep me out of the ER over the weekend.

Saturday I just lay around  – NO energy.  Saturday night was steak night at the local grill.  I knew Guy looks forward to that each week.  I asked him to just call in an order, we would eat it here, which he did, and we both enjoyed it.

Saturday night when I went to bed I felt SO miserable!!  You know, there are times when you just can’t pray – you simply can’t put words together.  It was like right after one of my surgeries – all I could say was “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” This night, what came to me was the nighttime prayer we all learned as a child.
“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
If I should die before I wake…..I thought…..is this what it’s like to die???  Well, if I do, I’ll just wake up on the other side.  Not really a bad deal, all things considered.  But I woke up Sunday morning still on this side.

Sunday I was scheduled to give my whole testimony – my story – in church.  I had been looking forward to that so much all week, but I knew Saturday it just wasn’t going to happen.  I was SO disappointed!!  My temp went up to 101.1 and more chilling.  I was feeling about as low as I could get when Guy called after he got out of church.  He said, “Do you think it would be OK if Pastor Ted comes by to give you communion?”  I was lying in the recliner in my PJs, hadn’t bathed for 2 days, but YES!  That would be great.  I’d love a visit from my pastor.  I got up, washed up a bit, and dressed for the 1st time in 2 days.  Shortly, Pastor Ted arrived.  With him was my husband’s cousin, Bert, 94 and a retired RN.  Bless this dear lady!!  She has called me so many times to check on me, and I love here dearly!  She hugged me and said, "Oh! You are so hot with a fever!"  Once a nurse, aways a nurse!  😀 Also along was Robyn Galyon.  She is the daughter of two people we went to school with.  I knew who she was but don’t think we had official met, although we were both in the group of people who made noodles for a church chicken noodle dinner before this all started.  It was so sweet of her; she sat by me, holding me hand the whole time.  Bert served me the bread, and Pastor served me the juice.  And I just cried!!  God knew on that day I needed a visit from 3 angels!!  I cannot tell you how that blessed my heart – just can’t put it in words.

By 8:00 pm, Sunday night my temp was 103.7.  That is the highest it has ever been, and it scared me.  2 more Tylenol brought it down to 99 by 11:30 pm.  Thankfully, I was able to go to sleep with it down.

This morning, I called Dr. Jackson’s office to get an appointment since he had told me to see him if I were not better by Monday.  The appointment was for 1:00 pm.  My temp was 101.1 at 8:30, so I took 2 more Tylenol, which of course meant that I had no fever when I got to his office.  But I had kept a detailed journal of my temps and Tylenol all week and took a printout of that to give him.  Once a nurse, always a nurse - if it's not documented, it didn't happen!! 😀 He said he wanted to draw a set of blood work and do a nasal swab for flu.  At the regular lab, they would not draw the blood from my port, but I could go up the oncology lab, and they would draw it there.  I had not put any numbing cream on – I should have anticipated this, but they had a numbing spray.  Ouch!  I think that hurt worse that just letting them stick me.  Oh, well, they got the job done, and I went back to his waiting room to await the results.  It wasn’t all that long until I was called back.  He said, “Well, all your lab work is within normal limits, and your flu swab is negative, but you’re still running a fever and are miserable!”  He thought a bit and said he would order a new antibiotic.  He also said that this could be a virus that would just have to wear itself out.  But he did want to get a repeat CT of my sinuses.  He said he didn’t want it today because I was so tired.  (I had fallen asleep in his office when he came in.) But they would call me and hoped to do it tomorrow when I come to my 11:00 appointment with my oncologist.  I know if I’m still running a fever, she won’t give me chemo, and I’ll be a week behind and off schedule.  Perhaps if I’m OK by the end of the week, they might give it.  I don’t know; I’ll just have to wait and see what she says.

What is interesting is that I have not felt feverish the rest of the day.  Knock on wood, but this will be a first in 10 days.  And I have felt the best the rest of the day in those 10 days.  Now that feeling better probably has something to do with the fact that I went ahead and took the two Dexamethasone this morning in preparation for my chemo day – just in case and took the other 2 tonight.  Which means I probably will not sleep tonight.  Oh, well, you pick your battles.

Jesus Calling always seems to have what I need for the day.

“Worship Me only.  Whatever occupies your mind the most becomes your god.  Worries if indulged, develop into idols.  Anxiety gains a life of its own, parasitically infesting your mind.  Break free from this bondage by affirming your trust in Me and refreshing yourself in My Presence.  What goes on in your mind is invisible, undetectable to other people.  But I read your thoughts continually, searching for evidence of trust in Me.  I rejoice when your mind turns toward Me.  Guard your thoughts diligently; good thought-choices will keep you close to Me. – Ps.112:7, I Cor. 13:11”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I’m not Wonder Woman….sniff

I woke up this morning with a disturbing realization…..I . am . not .  Wonder .  Woman.  I’m sure that comes as no surprise to you, but all my life, I’ve thought I was!  Oh, not the beautiful Linda Carter…..I would never pretend to be her.  But I’ve lived my life in such a way that if I set my mind to do something, I pretty much got it accomplished.  Not that I didn’t have plenty of help along the way.  I’m not bragging or boasting that I’m any kind of self-made woman.  I’ve very much needed the Lord by my side all the way. Always been very dependent upon Him!

But I think I’ve felt I was different somehow.  I’ve always met challenges head-on.  There isn’t much that gets me down.  I was the strong one.  Being a nurse, and knowing what was going on with diseases, I think I thought that gave me some kind of edge. I know….crazy, isn’t it??  I’ve really looked at this cancer journey as just that – a journey – keep moving, and you’ll get through it.  I never stopped to consider the emotional toll it would take on me. 

I was talking with Jeannine this morning – she always has a way of putting things in perspective for me.  Of course, I know that this stinking sinus infection has kicked me to the core this week and greatly discouraged me.  When you have a fever, you feel lousy – just no other way to describe it. And I have not been able to kick this fever yet.  ARGH!  Things that ordinary have no effect on me – those that I ordinarily just let roll off my back – are really starting to get to me.  I’m finding it very hard to de-stress.  I know that lack of sleep is a big factor!!  I’m very much aware if that. 

For example – all this political and controversial stuff on Facebook.  It upsets me, and I can no longer deal with it.  I went into the settings and unfollowed all those posting a constant barrage of it.  Click, click, click – felt good!  I’m a Christian and a conservative, as are most of my friends, and I’m just fed up with all this nasty, vile, disgusting, display of evil in the media.  I don’t want to hear it; I don’t want to see it; I don’t want to think about it.  It is disrupting my healing process, and I cannot allow it to continue.  All I want to see are inspirational things, prayer requests and prayer support, quilts and quilt tips, pictures of children, grandchildren, pets, beautiful nature scenes – the OLD Facebook!  So I just had to take care of that.  I mean no harm or disrespect to others.  I just have to do this for me.

As I talked to Jeannine, she told me about how she had learned to go to her “safe place” to reduce her anxiety, and how imagery really helped her.  We talked about looking into support groups or perhaps just a support individual, since I might not be ready to hear and take on the issues of a group yet.  We don’t hesitate to see a doctor for our physical needs – we should not hesitate to address our mental and emotional needs as well.

After lunch, Guy left to go to a shooting range.  Bless his heart, he just needed to get out and have some fun.  That left the house very quiet.  There were no TVs on, no radio, just silence…..blessed silence!!  I sat down in my very comfortable recliner, and began to go through some papers that needed filing.  Here is what I found among those papers.

It was a list of Scriptures that I had printed before my 1st surgery that I took to the hospital.  As I sat there in my “safe place”, I read over these Scriptures, then I began to pray these Scriptures.  I poured out my heart to my Comforter, and it wasn’t long until the most blessed peace came over me. 

I still felt awful, physically – just couldn’t get this fever to break.  I sat in the recliner covered up most of the afternoon – WRONG thing to do!  Got over-heated.  Fever shot up to over 101 – highest so far.  I finally forced myself to get up, drank a bunch of water (ack – nasty water, even out of the bottle – chemo has got my taste buds).  I got out a frozen banana, some frozen raspberries, some blueberries, and a little vanilla ice cream and made a smoothie.  I thought, “I’ll attack this fever from the inside!”  It did make me feel better, and by supper time, I actually felt like cooking a little.  Amazing how much better you feel when a fever breaks – and how WET you get!!!!

I guess I can share that it is now official – we spent the evening on the phone with our realtor, signing the contract on our Alabama house that she had emailed us.  Last night we were presented with an offer.  We countered, and they accepted it.  They have no house to sell and want to “close FAST!”  Woo hoo!!!!!!  What a LOAD off my shoulders!!!! Unless something unforeseen happens, we will no longer own property in Alabama once the contract closes – probably in early March.  We did not get what we had hoped for, but it was far more than we had been offered by anyone else, so we could not pass it up, and it will enable us to make our deal here.  Yep, God meets our NEEDS – not all our WANTS.  And that leads me to another thing – God’s timing.  March is tax reassessment time – my agent said it would not be good if the assessors came out and found our house vacant – I don’t understand it, but it would mess up our tax rate.  So, we are going to make it by the hair of our chinny chin chin!! 

God’s timing……when will I let it be *my* timing as well??????  Oh, my!  That is something that I just simply struggle with.  Always have!  Come on, admit it….who of us has not struggled with that?!  In my head, I know it is going to happen in His time, but in my heart, I want to see around that corner!!!  He knew that if that house sold when WE had wanted it to sell, we would have done something foolish, in our haste, with that money – and this other house only just came on the market a couple of weeks ago. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

You’re, right, Lord…….You always are…..and I’m still a work in progress.  I’m SO glad He never gives up on me.

And as always……..I remain in His hands…….