Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Time flies whether or not you are having fun!

Back on November 14, 2012, the first time I went to my oncologist's office, one of the oncology nurses, Morgan, explained the chemotherapy protocol I was about to undergo.

1. Take two steroid tablets in the morning and two more in the evening of the day before, the day of and the day after chemo.

2. There were two prescriptions written in case of nausea. Take the first one. If it doesn't work, take the second one.

3. On the day after chemo, come in for an injection to help you rebuild your white blood cells.

4. Potential side effects: nausea, metallic taste in my mouth, achiness, darkening of finger and toenails, numbness, hair loss, heart problems, chemo brain, heartburn, leukemia (yes, folks, kanswer is a potential side effect of chemo!) - you name it, chemotherapy can bring it on. As if kanswer itself isn't enough of a problem.

5. Blah, blah, blah, call us. Blah, blah, blah, go to the emergency room.

All the while, my tears were flowing, and in my heart, I was asking God, "Why is this happening to me?" When I could pull myself together enough to speak, I said to the wonderful young nurse, "I feel like this is a death sentence and this is never going to end."

She said, "No, Gail, this is not a death sentence. It's going to go by much quicker than you think. You are going to be fine. You are going to get through this. We are going to get through this together."

I left that appointment scared, discouraged, and convinced that chemotherapy would be the end of my life as I knew it.

I saw Morgan this past Monday and she asked how many rounds I had remaining. I said, "ONE!!!" And I threw my arms overhead and did a little dance right there in the treatment room. Other patients and their companions laughed at me, but I didn't care one bit. She reminded me of her prediction: "See, Gail? I told you you'd get through it." She was right.

Fifteen weeks after Morgan's truth-telling - I am less than one week from MY LAST ROUND OF CHEMO!!! Yes, friends, family members, and loved ones of all stripes, my sixth and final round of healing therapy is this coming Monday, March 11th at 10:45 am. Glory be!!!!!!!

************* Imagine me doing a combination of a chicken dance,
                           the electric slide, and Beyonce's Single Ladies dance right now!!! ***************

Here are ten ways that I know I am approaching the light at the end of the healing therapy - chemo - journey.

1. I'm already thinking about how great it will be to have hair again. Hair keeps your head warm. Who knew?

2. I'm making plans for all the food I'm going to eat again once my taste buds regain their functionality.

3. I woke up in the middle of the night last night - not to pee, not to worry, but because I was imagining how great it will be to land in Madrid again and lay eyes on my dearly beloved friends in Spain.

4. I'm already choosing the clothing I will take with me on the aforementioned trip to my favorite place in the world.

Watching church on television...  
not as a bedside Baptist, but a prostrate Presbyterian.
(Do you think I have enough books and papers on my bed?)

5. I am looking forward to going back to church on a Sunday morning. The last time I was there on a Sunday was Thanksgiving weekend. The next time will be Easter Sunday morning. (There's a blog post in there somewhere.)

6. I am anticipating trips to Target, the supermarket, the mall, movie theaters, and other public places without wondering who has what dreadful strain of the flu, trying not to focus on when was the last time the carts were wiped down, and without having to wear gloves.

7. I've made firm plans to go to the beach for four days with one of my soul sisters in the middle of April - post-chemo and pre-surgery - and I've already made the journal I'm going to take with me.

8. Yesterday I made a date to get my teeth cleaned. One thing you may or may not know about me is that I am obsessed with dental care. I have weak teeth - I cracked one while eating a Lara bar back in August. I cracked another one while flossing - yes, you read that right. I flossed off the edge of a tooth at the end of November. So I brush and floss obsessively to keep cavities and other dental issues at bay. Because of chemo, I haven't been able to get my teeth cleaned - apparently, bacteria and germs abound during dental cleanings. Who knew? Well, now I have an appointment set in April.

9. Everyone around me keeps asking me to do things - like take trips with them or have them come visit me or artist dates or dinners out or parties. And I keep having to pull out my calender and remind myself that there is life to be lived after March 11th. Until I began to flip my calender past March, I think I truly had internalized the notion that there was nothing beyond that date, that perhaps I wouldn't survive beyond that day. It looks like I just might make it.

See that dark half-moon at the bottom of my thumb nail?

10. To quote a dear sister and friend, "in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, all is well."
In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, I am going to survive chemo.
In spite of the fact that I have experienced many of the side effects of chemo,
there is finally an end in sight.
There is healing in sight. There is restoration in sight.
There is great cause to celebrate - and soon.
There is peace. There is hope. There is a future.

****************

It's amazing how one song can mean so many different things at different times.
Back in 2008, this song was my daughter's theme song.
She and I sang it and danced to it when she was in the hospital.

Now in 2013, it is my song. She and I will sing and dance to it again.
Before, during, and after my own hospitalization.

I have a hope. I have a future.
I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me.
My life's not over; a new beginning's just begun.
I have a hope. I have this hope.

God has a plan, it’s not to harm me
But it’s to prosper me and to hear me when I call.
He intercedes for me, working all things for my good
Though trials may come I have this hope.

I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God.

My God is for me, He’s not against me
So tell me whom then, tell me whom then shall I fear?
He has prepared for me great works He’ll help me to complete
I have a hope, I have this hope

Goodness and mercy, they’re gonna follow me
And I’ll forever dwell in the house of my great King
No eye has ever seen all He’s preparing there for me
Though trials may come, I have this hope.



by Tommy Walker

8 comments:

Kate S said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!! :)

AmyMak said...

Gail, I clicked over here from Momastery. I'm so glad to hear your good news. And what a fantastic writer you are! Hang in there and can't wait to hear more good updates!

reprezent98201 said...

I love that song! So so encouraging in our times of trial...we really do have quite a God, don't we? "He intercedes for me...working all things for my good..." Amen. I too click over here from Momastery and I am praying for your continued journey of victory!

Karmen said...

WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

CELEBRATE girl..... and yes, there is a blog post in the Thanksgiving/Easter church services most definitely.

Lisa said...

I found your blog . . from the blog of someone else . . and I love it! I think you are a brave woman and here I am in Alabama doing a happy dance for you!!

Lisa said...

This is so beautiful! It makes me weepy with joy and gratitude...and relief and hope! xoxoxo

*Alex* said...

Gail, I found you through G at Momastery and I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations. I am so glad for your good news, for an "end date", for you to have that feeling of light at the end of the tunnel! I just finished a major spine surgery 2 days ago and it has been pretty dark around my parts and you and G have been sending me the light and love and hope I have been needing through your blogs. Thank you so much for being here and sharing your story with me and everyone. You have been helping me more than I can say. Your strength and G's has helped me find mine. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thank you and I congratulate you, you deserve it! I don;t normally comment on others' blogs but you and G have been here for me through your words and I wanted to let you know that I am here for you too!

elise_on_life said...

So glad to hear your amazing news, fellow Monkee! I am dancing and singing with you!