My Cancer Journey: Part 5: Chemo Week 2
Day 27 Worship and Weight
It has been just about 48 hours since the last chemo treatment, and I felt pretty good when I awoke. Since it is Sunday, I tried on my suit. It is still too restrictive in the groin, so I wore shorts. This also prompted me to weigh myself, because I figured my suit should be loose on me by now. The day of my surgery I weighed 169lbs. 19 days post surgery, and after a week of chemotherapy, I weigh 164lbs.
I have only lost 5 pounds. Which is quite remarkable, all things considered. So that is something to be grateful for.
It was a typical Sunday morning. We struggled to get everyone out the door on time for church, but we made it. I felt pretty good today, but the pews still are not good for me, I find it difficult to sit still, and therefore end up moving around more than our kids do. I have requested a Lazy Boy Recliner from the Committee of Administration…we’ll see how that works out for me. Pastor Ben preached a sermon on the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. I really appreciated this sermon as I am learning that Jesus is everything. Afterwards we talked with a lot of people. My coworker Mike showed up again which was nice.
After lunch I had to get my blood work done, so I went to the lab. By the time I got back home, second service was already starting, Both Teresa and Noah were sound asleep. I joined them…
I forgot to mention in my previous post that I had l started losing my sense of taste late on Thursday evening and by Friday evening after the 5th treatment everything tasted like I was chewing on a mouthful of dirty coins, unless I drenched it in barbecue sauce. Then it tasted like coins drenched in barbecue sauce. THANKFULLY, my taste is just coming back this evening.
Day 28: Maid Service And Bleomycin Treatment
Monday. Today is the only treatment day for the week! I am so excited!
I felt good today, a little tired, but that’s par for the course. My taste buds seem to be working as the smoothie I had for breakfast tasted extremely good compared to the last few.
At 9 am Molly Maid arrived to do a deep cleaning of our home. Mom and Dad Dehaas have arranged for our home to be cleaned weekly. This is amazing, and both Teresa and I are very grateful. Two wonderful ladies were here for 4 hours, and cleaned our home from top to bottom, and they will come once per week while I am in recovery… I can’t even explain how much this means to me. Teresa has taken on the entire burden of our family, including the burden of a sick husband. So it is a massive load off of me to know that this burden is not on her.
I noted a little bit of tinnitus in my left ear around 10am, but it subsided quickly, it also coincided with the vacuum cleaner…
At 3pm Phil showed up to take me to my Bleomycin treatment. About 8 years ago, Phil had an almost identical diagnosis to what I have right now. It was also neat to see him interact with a couple of the nurses who treated him. While at treatment, pastor Ben came by and dropped off his Kindle, loaded with all sorts of books – fantasy, theology, pastoral…I am like a kid in a candy store. I really appreciated that.
After being dropped off at home, I ate and drank some water and then promptly fell asleep on the couch.
For dinner Rob brought over some Linguine Alfredo with ham and peppers, an apple celery salad, some cookies and flowers. (Thanks Naomi!) It was delicious and a hit with all of us. Noah devoured it, and even Meagan loved it. Everyone had seconds.
I went to bed stuffed and feeling quite well.
Day 29 Ringalingalingaling!
Today was not a good day.
Tuesday morning at 130am I awoke with ringing in my ears. I instinctively covered my ears with my hands and realized what it was. Tinnitus. It was the first time it had woken me up. It lasted about 15 minutes and was quite maddening. If it had not stopped, I wonder if I would have fallen back asleep. But as it was, I fell back asleep sometime around 230am.
In the morning, I ate my usual smoothie and had some toast with PB, then walked the kids to the bus stop. At about 8am I developed a headache. I drank some water. Then the headache got worse. By 9 am it was really bad, and I was not feeling well at all. Then the tinnitus came back.
A headache and ringing in my ears…
I checked my temp – 36.7 – and took some Tylenol. Being immuno-compromised means I cannot take pain meds unless I am fever free. If I have a fever, I am not allowed to take meds and I have to go immediately to the ER, because a fever could be fatal.
Then, right on cue, my acid reflux came back.
Headache, tinnitus, and reflux…at least I don’t have a fever!
I stopped to think about yesterday. I checked my journal. I was feeling good, so I had not drank enough fluid before or after my treatment. Oops. I am supposed to drink 2 litres before and after my treatment and I only drank 1. Plus I didn’t sleep well.
I took some Zantac for my tummy, and chugged 3 cups of water…not a good idea. It made me feel worse. So I tried to lay down, but my tummy refused to comply. So I puttered around the house and organized some cupboards in the kitchen.
Thankfully the tinnitus stopped after about 10 minutes, and I sat on the floor of the kitchen for about an hour with my head against the cupboard door, just being silent. Around noon I felt a little better and had a small lunch. I again tried to lie down but the tummy would not have it, so I puttered around the house again.
By 3pm I was able to lay on the couch, and I dozed off. The girls awoke me at 430 by coming home.
It was a short evening as I went to bed pretty early.
Day 30. I feel good…why not try doing everything?
On Wednesday, I awoke at 7am to walk the kids to the bus, but after my smoothie I went back to bed and slept to 11.
When I awoke I felt pretty good. I guess I needed 13 hours of sleep.
I ate a small lunch and then decided it was time for an adventure! I was out of bananas, berries, milk and a couple of other things.
So I decided to go to Superstore.
It took me 90 minutes to pick up 10 things. I slowly walked through the whole store, often stopping to rest on the cart. An awkward moment came when an elderly lady was trying to get a box off the top shelf, normally I would jump up and grab it for her…but this time I just looked down and felt silly as I slowly walked passed her.
After Superstore, I hit up a local Farmer’s Market for my produce. While I was there, I noticed some minor numbness in my left big toe and left thumb. Ah great, another side effect… But once I got home it started to feel better.
I also decided to do the laundry. Since I can’t lift more than 10 pounds, I sauntered up and down three flights of stairs 6 or 7 times…
At dinner time, I cooked slider turkey burgers, and quickly realized that I had over exerted myself as I was completely exhausted.
That exhaustion manifested itself as I lost my temper at the whole family. Everyone – all the kids and Teresa…Over basically nothing. I apologized to everyone together at the table, and later that evening to each person individually. While talking with Kaityn, she said something like, “Daddy, I think God is using the chemotherapy to teach you patience. Sometimes we think we are better than we are. Jesus came to show the Pharisees that they were not perfect, and he is showing you that you are not perfect either. He came to save sinners like you and me. He forgives you. Me too.” Then she hugged me.
Needless to say I wept as my 10 year old pointed me to the gospel.
Day 31. Appetite is Back
Thursday. Today I feel better than I have since I started Chemo. For two days I did not have a single visitor, I guess the Lord knew I needed rest – though I messed that up by doing too much! But today was certainly different as our home was busy all day.
I awoke and I was actually hungry. So I made my usual smoothie, and had a peice of toast with PB. Then an apple.
I did some more laundry today, but took it easy for the most part. I did not need to over do it again especially with friends coming over.
For lunch I had 3 of the left over slider turkey burgers and a spinach salad. Did I mention that my appetite is really good right now?
After lunch, Alfred came for a visit and we chatted about all sorts of things from church to school to family, it was really nice to catch up with an old friend. I also had my first coffee since my heartburn issues. That was really nice. Then my neighbour Greg came over with pizza! So the three of us sat around the table, listened to hymns, ate pizza, and chatted. I ate 3 slices…Did I mention that my appetite is really good right now?
Today also marks 1 month since I started this cancer journey, and since I last worked. Our bank balance is bearing the bruises as the “total” column steadily decreases. The good news is that I received a call from Service Canada that my sickness claim is approved for the full 15 weeks which helps immensely. It is not near what I was making, but it will get us through the surgery recovery, the 9 weeks of chemo plus a few more weeks. Hopefully by that point I will be well on the road to recovery and able to do some sort of work again.
At 4pm Grace stopped by with some homemade cinnamon buns. That was a really nice surprise! The kids are going to love these. (I am going to love these…)
For dinner John and Maggie and the kids all came over and brought a beet and kale salad, a curry chicken dish with rice, and pie. It was all delicious. We had a great time visiting and the kids were shocked that we let them stay up until 930 on a school night.
Day 32 To the weekend.
Friday. Today I awoke feeling really well. I cant believe the week is almost over. I cleaned up the kitchen and had breakfast. I looked at the laundry and then decided to sit here on the couch and write this post.
Junho will be coming by later this afternoon for a visit, I am looking forward to that. He’ll be bringing dinner as well. I wonder if he’ll bring some Korean food? We’ll have to wait and see!
The only side effect I am experiencing today is my left hand thumb and forefinger tips are definitely feeling strange like I spent all day playing guitar – but I didn’t, and you don’t use your thumb for chording. It is not so much painful as it is mild discomfort. So I assume it is just some nerve damage from the chemo. Also, my head is itchy, which is a sign that my hair should start falling out in the next few days. I will be buzzing her soon…wait I should do that now. Be right back…
Done. I also showered and weighed myself… and good news, I weigh 166lbs. So I have gained 2 lbs this week and am only down 3 overall.
The kids clothes still sit in baskets. I am not sure how to fold them…
I expect this weekend to go well so there shouldn’t be much to report. My oncologist said I may have a spike of energy just before the third week, and so far that appears to be the case. Just in time for rainy days.
2 weeks down. 7 to go. I know there will be some hard days head, but I am taking it a day at a time and today is a good day.
Thank you again for all the cards, emails, messages, gifts, meals and visits. We have received so much support, and I want to thank each of you. I love you all.
God is Good. Jesus Saves. Look to him.