My Cancer Journey: Part 9: Light at the End of the Tunnel
Before I dive into talking about cancer and my treatment…My new blog site is up!
Isn’t it snazzy?
All my old posts are available on this site now. The domain is the same, but the host is different.
So I am a little bit late posting this cancer update since the blog was down for about a week. I consider myself to be “self-taught-tech-savvy,” but with my brain fog from the cancer treatment, I kept running into bumps that I couldn’t figure out. I ended up finding someone to help me with the migration process — I am glad I did that.
For you the reader, the only real changes will be the layout of the site and better site navigation (once it is all set up) but for me, behind the scenes I have far more control over content, ads, etc. and the site will do a better job of proof reading my articles not only grammar, spelling, and content, but also for SEO and readability. Also, I can finally “monetize” the site. Not that I expect to make much off of it, but every little bit helps when you are not working…
Anyway, so here we are at the beginning of round 3. There is light at the end of the tunnel! It looks like I am going to get through chemotherapy after all.
I am going to continue the journal below, for family, for myself to look back on, and for anyone interested in the day to day effects of chemotherapy treatment. However, I thought I would start with a short synopsis and end with an epilogue for those who are not fond of my TLDR, or “Too Long Didn’t Read,” cancer blog posts:
So, this post is about the third week of round two. It is the best week of the 3, but the fatigue doesn’t leave now. My energy is highest in the morning, but I am always a little bit tired. Even after taking a nap, I am still tired. When I try to do things, like house work, I run out of steam really fast.
The acid reflux has been taken care of which is a great relief.
The numbness and tingling in my left hand has become worse, to the point that there is pain in my thumb and finger, so much so that I can’t even do things like open a can of 7-Up and I have trouble doing up buttons. My right hand is now showing signs of neuropathy as well. This is the most concerning of the side effects for me, as the job waiting for me when my recovery is complete is in landscaping…and I need my hands for that. I wonder if I could use my teeth to pull weeds?
…but I am not going to get worked up about that. I know that it is all in the Lord’s hands, and I am taking it a day at a time.
As I write this it is the beginning of round 3. We are nearing the end, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Now, on to the journal! (or feel free to skip ahead to the last paragraph – I get it – #TLDR)
Day 52 Busyness = Nap
I managed to get up and go to prayer group today. That means the fatigue is not as bad as last week. I noticed that my chemo brain is still bad, as when it was my turn to pray, it felt like I couldn’t string any two coherent sentences together. But I know that the Spirit perfects our prayers, as Romans 8 teaches. It was really nice to get out and spend time in the Word and in prayer with these guys.
After prayer group, the family all went to watch Meagan at gymnastics. I am so impressed with her athletic ability; she certainly does not get that from me. She can do this thing where hangs from the bars, holding her arms in an L shape, with her knees pulled up and parallel to the ground, with a foam block resting on them, and she can hold that position for almost 5 minutes.
After gymnastics we went to the mall, we had to get a few things…
After that I was done. Too much go go go for me.
The fatigue kicked in and suggested that I take a nap…so I did.
Day 53 Church
I like Sunday.
It is a day where we rest from the daily grind, where get to go to church to join with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and hear the preaching of the Word. At church, we had Dr. Jason Van Vliet visiting from the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton. It was nice to see my old pastor again, whom I hope to study under one day. He preached on Philippians 2:1-18, “Shine Like Stars in the Universe.” After the worship service, Jamie handed me a flash drive with all sorts of songs on it! I appreciated that, it must taken him quite some time to do it all!
Of course today was blood work day, I have to do the blood work the day before I have chemo, so that means I have to do it on Sunday. The nice thing is there is never a line up on Sunday. I took Meagan with me for the first time. She wouldn’t look…
After getting blood work done it was nap time.
Day 54 Bleomycin Day
Monday. Today started as per usual, walked the girls to the bus stop and had breakfast.
My mom came for a visit around 930 and we spent all morning chatting. It was nice.
The cleaners arrived around 10 and did their usual great job cleaning the house.
In the afternoon I had my Bleomycin treatment. I was in and out in 30 minutes, which was really nice.
After treatment, Allyson brought us a home-made stew, it was made with beef and had broccoli and brussel sprouts in it…but the kids didn’t even notice! It was delicious. I had 2 helpings.
Day 55 – Hand pain!
Tuesday. I awoke with ridiculously itchy and painful palms. Teresa thinks it is just dry from washing my hands so much, but I am not so sure. Even if it was a reaction, it was not that bad, but the itching was crazy. I put moisturizer on them and let it be. Today was uneventful. I tried to do laundry, but my hands were not happy with that, so I worked a little on the blog migration and I napped.
This afternoon Phil brought us a casserole with beef, red peppers, penne noodles, tomato sauce, cheese and a loaf of French bread ((thanks Sharon)) This was a hit with the kids and with us.
Day 56 – Track meet
Today my itchy hands seem to be better. I spent most of the morning resting and trying to fix my blog issues. At this point I started looking for some help, as I am not as tech savvy as I thought I was…
At around 1030 I went out the school track meet at Bear Creek Park. It was nice that it was close to home, so I could go and cheer on Kaitlyn who ran in the 1800 meter run. I chatted with some of the other parents and enjoyed being outside. Here is a picture of Kaitlyn running. She was sure she would finish last, but she didn’t give up. She surprised herself and finished 163rd ahead of about 50 other kids, and she beat her personal best. Now she can get back to what she is good at… academia and geek-dom.
Once home, I ate and took a 3 hour nap. I am noticing that I am very fatigued in the afternoons. The chemo is catching up to me, but if this fatigue is the worst of it, I really can’t complain.
Day 57 – Typical Day
Today was typical. I walked the girls to the bus stop and ate breakfast. I found someone to work on my blog issues, and I did some house work.
The only side effects today were just the incessant fatigue and the neuropathy in my fingers.
After taking a good nap for a few hours in the afternoon, my old (and good) friends Gabe and Maggie came over with Pizza for the whole family. We have not visited in years, so it was really nice to see them again.
Day 58 – Oncologist Appointment
Teresa took the day off today. Actually she gets every third Friday off which always corresponds with my oncologist appointment. It is nice to have her with me, just in case the doctor has some thing serious to discuss. I had lots of energy today. It is my best day this round, and we decided to go to Moxie’s for lunch before the appointment.
My oncologist had nothing but positive things to say about my cancer treatment. My body is apparently handling the treatment really well. I am maintaining my weight, and the according to the blood work the chemo is working on the cancer as the tumour markers are lower as of the end of round 1. In fact, the appointment went so well, that we ended up even going off the topic of cancer!
That afternoon Casey and Ria stopped by for a visit and brought a meal for us of homemade chicken noodle soup and buns. Soup always goes over well with our family! We had a nice visit, and they even brought a gift from my old pastor – their son – Dr. Jason Van Vliet, who is professor of Dogmatics at the seminary I hope to one day study at.
Day 59 Pancake breakfast and Date Night
The Maranatha Church held a pancake brunch for the community, hosted by the Home Mission Committee and the Men’s Prayer Group. It was quite well attended for a first time go at this. I went and helped out in the morning. I did mostly light duty things, like putting the table cloths on and setting out syrup etc. The other guys did a great job in the kitchen. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a success!
Obviously I was tired at the end of this. I got home around 1230 and went promptly too bed. I slept for 3 hours, and then it was date night. We went to My Shanti and Indian restaurant in South Surrey. It was nice to get away for a couple hours and forget about the cancer, the chemo, and just spend some time alone with my wife.
I write this on Monday after the long day of chemo. In the oven, a wonderful taco casserole is heating up, sent by Lindsey (thanks!) It smells and looks fantastic as it heats up!
Today round 3 started, and I found out today that my neutrophil (white blood cel) count is at 0.5, the lowest they have been so far since my cancer journey started. At this level I am prone to infection as my body cannot fight much off. So hand washing is being strictly enforced. Okay, my concluding remarks are a lost in a fog of fatigue… Man, cancer sucks.
And now…Ok, I need to put the laptop down…ugh…as I write the epilogue, I can feel some nausea, which isn’t good…time to take my meds.
Be right back!
So I took my anti-nausea meds but I took them too late…the nausea grew even stronger. So while my family ate a wonderful meal, I bowed to the porcelain throne. So there goes my perfect record of not getting sick on this cancer journey. I called the ocologist on call (since the nursing line is closed now) and the doctor advised me to take Gravol and wait 20 minutes then take the Metonia, and then when the nausea had passed take the Dex and ondasatron. So its now about 8pm, ( I got sick around 6pm), and the nausea has passed, I have some chicken noodle soup heating up on the stove, and I am going to retake my last meds now. Thanks for reading.
God is good.
PS – Guys, check your nuts. Seriously, you don’t want to go through chemo so catch the cancer early!