well, chemo round #2 happened two days ago (rachel: 2, cancer: 0). it went much better than the first time thanks to my little alien baby that was implanted on tuesday. no more burning arm and i have both hands free to read my "who needs hair" book I got from my new 80 year old friend, Nonnie, who too has cancer. they also switched out one of my anti-nausea drugs via IV due to a rare side effect that i had last infusion. good news is that i shouldn't get that headache i had last time, bad news is that this drug only lasts 24 hrs as opposed to the other one which lasted 5 days. it's been about 40 hours and so far so good. i'm mentally tougher than that ;)
i decided that cancer in itself isn't all that bad...it's what comes after the diagnosis. all the doctor's visits, the xrays, CT scans, PET scans, surgical biopsy, bone marrow biopsy, echocardiogram, pulmonary function test, and now my new friend i just got put in my chest. i haven't named her yet, but it will be something i will share because i like her...so, suggestions welcomed.
the tests are just cruel...take the PET scan. they make you drink 2 huge bottles of watered down sugary milky crap and then make you lie still for 30 minutes in a small tube where all you think about is how much you have to pee. and don't let them fool you, because even when you motion for the tech to come into the room because you are gonna pee all over their multi-million dollar machine...she will ignore you, because there's no way she's gonna stop the scan. plus she knows there's no way a 28 year old is gonna pee her pants. i'll show her next time!
the bone marrow biopsy was not fun either, but it's just pain...i can handle that. it's not like a small bladder where it can all flow out...clearly i'm just still bitter. but they can only numb you so deep, so the doctor says, "this will hurt...just think good thoughts...and don't move because we don't wanna have to do this twice." there's no way i'm moving now...and yet my body starts to move. but, i realize i'm not moving my body...it's the hollowed out screwdriver stuck in my back that is moving me. good times. i did get to see the bone marrow in the specimen cup. totally worth it.
cancer changes everything. i have no stress. doctor's orders and i willingly abide. it helps that i am married to the world's greatest husband who has made every step of the way so easy on me. everyone is so nice. a friend pointed out how life would be so different if we all treated each other like we had cancer. so true. i now look for the hidden meaning in things...7 days after my first treatment, i woke up in the middle of the night in the worst bone pain i've ever felt. it was as if i jumped off a building and landed straight-legged and jarred my entire body. it was 3am and lay awake for an hour while joey held me and i cried. i just kept repeating in my head, "rejoice in your suffering, rejoice in your suffering."
but when you don't have any stress, you can handle the steroids waking you up at 4am, water tasting like metal, food lacking all taste whatsoever, wearing a surgical mask on a plane, accumulating scars all over your body (7 and counting), watching your hair come out in your hands...because it just drives you to persevere even more.
the support from friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers has been amazing. www.teamrachel.com is spreading like wildfire and is so exciting to see the effort that has gone into it and the generosity that will come out of it. joey and i have decided that along with donating the remaining money to a charity, we want to help out others who we have met in the treatment center who need assistance with their co-pays and deductibles. this fundraiser is going to truly change lives...and we will all look pretty darn good doing it in our team rachel gear :)
so, even though my new friend is causing me some pain and discomfort after being implanted under my skin, i like her. she is just giving me more character...and who couldn't use a little more of that. so, when we come up with a name, don't forget to say hi to her as well.
"we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts" romans 5:3-5