I don't know. I don't know what to write about anymore. Since our story went "viral" last week I feel a little trapped in my mind. This blog was where I was processing. It was already difficult knowing that people I love dearly would be reading my inner most fears, learning more bad news and having to endure my sailor-esque vocabulary but I made a conscious decision to not censor myself and Nathan supported that. It was also the easiest way to communicate with those people what was going on without having to repeat ourselves a hundred times which in and of itself is exhausting. But now I feel even more exposed. Who's reading? Do they expect something of us? Screw it. I can't worry about other people. I've got bigger fish to fry. There's a lot to say about the last week and this may only be a partial recap of what's been going on. It's 4 in the morning and I'm not sure when I'll run out of steam.
Nathan and I are deeply, deeply grateful for and in awe of the global outpouring of love, support and inspiration. I mean literally GLOBAL. Who could ever have seen this coming? I guess it's happened before. Wait, I know it has. Sometimes people receive a lot of attention for doing nothing other than finding themselves in a seriously shitty situation. The Chilean miners come to mind. It's just that you never imagine it's going to be you, or rather, we never imagined it would be us. None of it. We never imagined one of us having cancer. We never imagined both of us having cancer. We never imagined both of us having cancer at the same time. We never imagined our family and friends rallying to our side with one goal in mind, a happy ending. We never imagined that that goal would be shared with people all over the world. And we never imagined we would feel so blessed for all of it. That's the thing about shitty situations. They can give you more blessings than the burden itself. They can teach you more than you wanted to know. They can heal you beyond your pain.
Don't get me wrong. If I had the choice for Nathan and I NOT to have cancer, I would take it. In a heartbeat, I would take it for Sadie's sake, for our parents and for all those people who love us and worry about us. We didn't choose our diagnoses, but we do choose to be in a state of gratitude. There is too much love and healing coming our way not to feel blessed.
So I guess I would say that emotionally/spiritually we're in a really good place. As for our physical states of being, we're still looking for improvement. Warning: If you're squeamish, skip the rest of this post. My first week after treatment was truly awful. I was puking and had diarrhea for 6 days straight. I was afraid to be more than 2 feet from a bathroom at all times. In between trips to the bathroom, I made sleeping an Olympic sport. To add insult to injury, I got my period. Yes, my period. Even though I was two weeks late (no doubt due to a mild case of stress) and the fact that menstruation should cease during chemo, I got it 3 days after my treatment. I blame the super moon. I just wish I had know it was coming because I was experiencing extreme pain in my lower abdomen and lower back and the fear took over. I cried to Nathan, "It's spreading." That's the problem with a metastatic diagnosis, well, one of them. Every pain I feel throws me into a panic. I worry that the cancer is spreading further. So in a way, I was relieved there was clear cause for the pain.
On Thursday, I was due for my 2nd chemo and I was feeling much better but my blood work showed that I was extremely potassium deficient. It should have been a short session because I only received one of the 3 drugs they are giving me, the Abraxane, but then I had to stay for a 2 hour infusion of potassium. The potassium definitely helped. Since that treatment, I have only suffered from fatigue, some intermittent abdominal pain and a new normal of diarrhea but overall not too bad.
On Friday, Nathan had his 4th chemo session. He got the results of the EKG he had been wearing for 24 hours after his scare the week before and they looked normal. They performed another EKG just to be sure and again it was normal. Because he had experienced severe neuropathy from the last round, his doctor decided to reduce the amount of oxaliplatin he would receive and also give that infusion over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, only one of those things happened. He got the reduced amount but the infusion was still 2 hours instead of 4 hours long. A mistake was made. Overall, it was not a big deal but by the time he got home Friday evening the side effects had already started. To recap, the side effects he seems to suffer from the worst are: sensitivity to cold, any cold, which includes the air, tingling in his fingers, the sensation of his tongue being swollen and burnt, pain in his salivary glands when he begins eating anything, pain in his tear ducts when crying, fatigue, abdominal pain and constipation. It's also a pain the ass to have the take home infusion. Yes, it's definitely a medical advance to be able to provide the take home infusion because it works better that way - something to do with the half-life of the drug - but then you have to be super careful when holding your kid or hugging people, you have to sleep on your back and you can't take a shower. It's "convenience" seems to cause a whole lot of other inconveniences.
It's morning now and we both got a decent night sleep though I have been up since 4 am writing this post. I definitely need to eat some breakfast, though I'm not hungry. It's crazy. One side effect I forgot to mention that I am experiencing is a lack of appetite. I'm not talking about being nauseated and, therefore, not wanting to eat. That's a whole separate side effect. I'm talking about a real lack of appetite. I just don't get hungry anymore. But don't cry for me Argentina. Unlike Nathan, I have more than a few pounds to spare. In fact, if nothing else, I'm hoping I'll be in great shape for a bikini this summer. And I won't even have to figure out the new points system on Weight Watchers!