by Christie Perkins
Three weeks ago my blood work showed that my tumor markers tripled in just a 2 month time period. We knew where my next treatments were heading (IV chemo. Yuck.) but we needed to take a cat scan first. Cat scan revealed the secrets of the blood work and that’s when I started watering my flowerpots with my eyes.
Hey. We’ve been on a drought restriction so sometimes you just gotta get creative. Except I think I drowned a few pots (ok, ok… I really didn’t but it would have been a really good idea. Why do all the good ideas come later?).
So the new news of more cancer growth on the spine and multiple spreading spots on my liver is hard to take. Magic potion number 9 wasn’t quite right for me. Above all, the thing that bothers me most is that I can’t quite catch my own grip on this news.
Stop crying girl.
I’m processing the results without talking to the doctor first. I tell her to let me know results after my presentation on the following Wednesday because I know what it’ll do to me. It’s hard to be perky (and liked) when you are squirting the front row listeners with your tear hose and leaky faucet nose. But deep down I know where we are headed anyway.
So my obedient doctor contacts me on Thusday morning, approximately 16 minutes after twinkling my fingers at my husband at his opening institute for school (I was there watching my son perform in a concert). The doctor releases the flood gate: it’s time to stop the chemo pill and head straight for the potent IV chemo.
And we’ve got to do it now. In less than a week.
And that’s when I drown the flowerpots… well after first giving my leather van seats a good soak. I really hate chemo. But we have to be more aggressive.
Yeah, I know it’s a strong word and I tell my kids not to use it… but I’m a bad example. Meh, I’ll get over it.
My husband is stuck in a contracted day at opening institute for the school and my Mom rescues me from my grief. But first I remain in the van dumping buckets of water from the flash flood eyeball thing I’ve got going on.
But I can’t. Usually I can have one good day of crying and I’m good for a while. I move on and get over it. But this time I can’t stop crying. I cried the whole week before processing what may come, then start a new whole week of crying processing what won’t go away. IV chemo isn’t a nice word. Everyone sees my not so perky perk. And I’m not good with how that works.
The IV chemo beast makes my eyes all leak and my voice squeak. Been there. Done that. Don’t want to do it again.
But, I need to. I need to because I’ve been praying for more time. And I’m assured that more time is given when I take this step. And when you pray for things and the not so great idea is presented before you (IV chemo again)- you have to go for it.
You have to go for it because God sends you little indicators that he’s got your back, He’s there for you. He let’s you know that He hears your heartache. You see it because you look for it and acknowledge His little love notes. And somehow you are assured you will have the strength to do the things you need to. Trust becomes your new comrad. You thank him for all the good… because really there’s lots of good.
But first I had to face what wasn’t good.
Groundhog Day in August… yep, August.
It’s Groundhog Day all over again. A little factoid here: I was re-diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on Feb 2, 2016, Groundhog Day. I’ve never liked the movie Groundhog Day (1993 movie with Bill Murray). It’s my least favorite show. The premises of it is that he wakes ups everyday on the same day, making the same mistakes, some new ones, and fixing the other ones. It’s very well done on the awful time trap of the same old day. So it’s interesting that I was diagnosed with cancer on Groundhog Day.
Yet, there continues to be a repeated theme of the same repeated day. Or pretty close I’d say.
So yesterday was my second round of IV chemo. I started IV chemo on August 16th, the second day of school. It was almost exactly 4 years ago I started chemo for the first time (4 years and 9 days to be exact).
The side effects are the same: hair loss, feeling sick, taste bud loss, and neuropathy. But, my doctor is splitting my dose into thirds in hopes that I will handle it better.
So you see why I wasn’t as cheerful the second time… but I knew what I was getting into. It bothered me that I wasn’t cheerful. I cried the whole time I was slurping up poison and innocent by-standers were leaking their compassionate eyes with me. Sorry guys.
But. I made it through.
Dry Those Eyes
I got home exactly in time to pick up the kiddos from school. And as soon as I was with them my emotions dried up. Just like that, I was okay. They were my magic wet vac sucker uppers.
I didn’t cry again for the next week (well I didn’t cry for myself, for others, yes). And just like I trusted I saw that Heavenly Father had my back; I was strengthened. Yes I still had unbreakable headaches, major energy plummets, and minor morning stomach jumblers but overall I did fantastic. So round 2 was much easier to show up for.
I can still taste my food, I feel great, and I still have hair so that’s my latest perk for now. And there’s lots of power in enjoying right now. Put the future worries aside, and in today’s joys abide. It’s how you enjoy the ride (it’s easier to say now that I’m chilling with my beast). It’s my greatest lesson I’ve learned in my cancer journey.
I’ve got this. I even smiled a bunch in round 2. Ah… that’s more like the me I like.
So… if you have troubles and worries you’re dealing with now. Cry your eyes out. Go ahead release your pain. Then face the beast and become the ringmaster not the meal. Take the lead and make the most of the blessings before you. Just know that heaven has your back. I know that for a cemented-in-solid-facing fact.
We’ve got this. See today for it’s good… then go and get it! The grumpy moments will subside. There. Now I told you. I do have my grumpy days but I get over them. Have a great day- cuz that’s what I’m going to do.
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