Tuesday, November 30, 2010

first day of Chemo

written by Don

Today was my first Chemo therapy day, but also another radiation treatment.

We left the house at 7:45, made it to radiation by 8:45. The radiation therapy was not nearly as long as the first one, I was tied down for only about 10 minutes. I still felt a little of the claustrophobia, but thought it out and survived. It's a strange impulse to want (crave) to sit up when you are tied down...

The Chemo took a LONG time. We were there for initial bloodwork at 9:30, they told us it would be 45 minutes to start the Chemo; the Chemo med was delivered at 2PM...   If they had said it would be a 4 hour wait we would have been ready for a 4 hour wait. You all know how that feels I'm sure.

The Chemo consisted  of 30 minutes of saline for hydration, 1 hour of chemo, then 30 more minutes of saline. Once it starts it doesn't take long. And for the first time anyway, the chemo didn't feel any different than the saline. They gave me two anti nausea pills prior to the IV, by 9PM I still don't feel any nausea. We'll see how that pans out....

 Next Chemo day, 12/6, we are going in by 7AM, get the bloodwork done, then go to Chemo; not only will we be nearer to the head of the line and have a shorter wait, but we can do radiation in the middle at 9AM, during that shorter wait time. Should put us home by 3 or 4 instead of 6.

The Government VA hopsital is not interested in alternative anything, their main concern is that it may hinder their current treatment. In fact, they only use FDA approved treatments, meaning they only use the drugs that the drug companies submit to the FDA for approval. They won't even consider any alternative.. I don't like that. I'm sure that the chemo is not cheap, somebody has to pay for all that R&D...

I am so grateful for all your thoughts and prayers, it really makes a difference when I am in treatment. Chris B told us she prayed specifically for the radiation to kill all the cancer cells and spare the good tissues, I like that. I am so certain that God's will be done, I will be finished and cancer free sooner because of all the prayers. Thank you all and God bless you.

From Mary ...

Today was a really tough day. It's only the 2nd day of treatment and I as I sat alone in the overly crowded room .. I cried.

The day started out hurried and out of order.
I need to get a new order going in my life, an early morning routine.
 I have smoothies to make, vitamins to count out and oil capsules to fill. On top of all the regular morning stuff I was able to make an awesome smoothie - beautiful green kale with added carrot and apple.
We were going to have a long day today and trying to keep on top of Don's alkaline diet I knew I needed to have food from home. I was able to find some fresh green beans, put them in a zip lock and make some herbal tea in my thermos. In a desperate attempt at food I threw in a package of cancer food, white flour crackers. Finally, off we went. We made it there on time and made our way to the clinics.

Downstairs in the BASEMENT - no windows, concrete walls - we go to the radiation dept.
It's a small waiting room with enough electrical plugs for me to use to plug in my laptop.
The tough part is looking at all the other patients as they wait for their turn. Most of them just stare at the walls. Some, like the guy sitting next to me today, love to talk. This one man was telling me how the Lord helped him through homelessness and into a better life. He said that now he is very prayerful because He has to ask the Lord what bad things he is allowed to do and to what extent.
I was in a bit of shock - I told him that is different from me cause the Lord doesn't allow me to do any bad things. He told me his reasons, I asked him if he reads the Bible, he said he does so I figured the Lord will teach him through His Word.

As I sat out there in the waiting room, my heart was in the radiation room with Don. I was so sad that he was in there.

I have had a battleground in my mind.

We made it up to chemo .. it's a larger room, it has one TV with pointless shows and people just staring. Some of the folks seem well, but many are alone and silent. As I look around the waiting room I see the many people rolled in and out in their wheelchairs. Bodies slumped down. Alone. There are a lot of older men, bended backs, worn.
I hated being there.

The system at the VA is a first come first serve program. We came in later so we were far down on the list - but we didn't realize about that process all morning. We just knew we were supposed to be going in for Chemo at 10:00 am but instead it was waiting and waiting.

 All along my goal and my hearts desire was to be encouraging for Don. I was battling in my mind and heart.
I had a few grounds in which I was battling. The first one was my internal objection to this whole process in our lives. This demanding invasion.
The other battle was my self pity. Oh boy, did I have a lot of that. I had forgotten my goal of replacing my self pity with thanksgiving.
In my previous medical experiences I had become accustomed to .. comfort, lovely decor, privacy, my needs attended to.
Instead, at the VA -   there were crowded conditions, coughing, somber faces and
being one of the many.
Being surrounded by all that was despondent - I didn't even remember to think about the Lord.

It was while Don - being ever brave - was in the chemo room receiving the his treatments, not complaining and but instead finding the good- that I came to the lowest part of my day.

As a last desperate attempt to have some control in my life I opened my laptop. I found the classical section on my Itunes and proceeded to have order amidst chaos.

I looked at the pictures from our family Thanksgiving and like a piece of ice beginning to thaw I started to remember my blessings.
Looking at their faces made me smile.
Then listening to amazing praise music, looking at my blessings I remembered the Lord.

That's when I cried.

All the emotions came to the top of my heart. I felt safe enough to cry.

Don, is my protector and provider and he has cancer.

Somehow the room condition didn't matter as much, it was secondary. I came to the real issue, my fear.
I felt safer somehow. The Lord brought me to my need for Him. I am so thankful that He reminded me of Him - even amongst all the chaos.

As I was listening to my music, crying and being with the Lord I saw the nurse practitioner I had previously decided I didn't like - mostly because she represented chemo and the dangers it ensued - and the Lord showed me a time in the future when I was no longer going to dislike her but instead have peace with her and the situation. I was grateful for that impression. It enlarged my perspective. That was today. Tomorrow is another day .. one day at a time.

Dwelling in the shelter of the Lord Most High


Christina said...

Mary and Don,
I miss all you Abele's so much! I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers, even though life is a whirlwind for me like most and I don't make the time to call. Today I've been quite sad thinking about my sister...and reading about your day made me cry. I hope you will remember God and receive his strength. I forget too sometimes and I feel completely miserable, but somehow, usually through the children, I remember...
Christina Molner

Cathy Hall Sharpe said...

Love you guys...your posts help me know how to pray...

nancycarol said...

My heart and mind are heavy with thoughts and prayers for you. I see you both as a light in the darkness of the VA hosp, even in your pain. We love you.

Dee Dee said...

Praying for the day (soon, Lord, please) when this will all be dim memory, Don will be well, and you don't have to make these trips anymore.