I feel SO much better! What I am learning is that God so often doesn’t keep us from the fire, but He keeps us through it.
The Chemo from Hell
I have already experienced 4 treatments of chemotherapy, but this last treatment with my final drug Docetaxel (the one my doctor called “harsh”) really took me for a ride. I felt like I had been run over by a bus, and then backed over a few times. I realize that not everyone reacts the same way to every drug, but this drug made me wonder if I was ever going to be normal again. Not only did it completely wipe out my immune system by taking my neutrophil count to zero, but it caused severe neuropathy pain in my legs and feet to the point that I could hardly walk because of the pain and weakness in my legs. It also caused my abdomen to swell to the point where eating and breathing became painful. I constantly felt like I had eaten a huge turkey meal and I could not get rid of the pressure of that meal. On top of that I broke out in a bright red rash on my hands, face, neck, chest and back. And with my good bacteria all destroyed, my mouth was filled with thrush, and my gums, tongue, inside the mouth, and lips all felt like they had been burned raw. Yet through all of this God gave me two special blessings. I was blessed to have no nausea at all and I was so fatigued that as the painkillers took effect, I would sleep through until the pain woke me up again. Sleep is a tremendous blessing from God!
I was admitted to the hospital with a fever last Wednesday in the early hours of the morning. The ER doctor did not waste any time knowing that whatever caused the fever could kill me. I was put on two different intravenous antibiotics over my hospital stay, but even then my temperature started to climb again. I was prescribed Morphine pills, but I got more relief from Tylenol and it also worked to bring down my fever. By Friday my feet and hands were swelling and so I was taken off of intravenous fluids and given a diuretic. I also got the good news that my neutrophil count had jumped to 28,000! Normal is between 2100 – 6000. I was no longer in reverse isolation and the nurses could take off their masks so I could see their faces. I begged to go home to recoup in my own bed. My doctor left without giving me permission to leave, but the hospital staff were great in agreeing to contact him and get verbal permission for me to be discharged. Otherwise I would have been stuck in the hospital until Monday.
On the Mend
I feel so much better today and the pain in my legs is now under control and my feet are doing a lot better. Praise the Lord! I now have new confidence in going ahead with the next three treatments. My doctor has said that he will no longer give me the full chemo dose because of what it did to me last time, so I am hoping that things won’t be as bad. But if they are, God will again help me through the fire.