Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Joys of the Holidays, Friends, and Happy New Year!

Well now that the holidays are behind us, we are finally catching up.  I've had chemo sessions #2 and #3 since the last blog.  Session #2 was fantastic.  I felt good enough to travel to western Washington for  the holidays.  We enjoyed spending time with family, played games, had lots of fun, and ate lots of good food.  In fact, we were having so much fun, we didn't stop to update my blog.  I thought, "Wow, I'm going to breeze right through this!"  Then came session #3 last Thursday, and oh boy, it hit me.  I went in for chemo in the morning and that afternoon I felt achy and tired.  On Friday morning, I went in for my white blood cell shot.  The nurse noticed immediately I wasn't my usual self and gave me an IV to administer fluids and anti-nausea medicine.  I'm usually there a half hour to an hour but didn't get out of there for 2 1/2 hours, but I felt better after the fluids.  Fluids really help after chemo treatment.  I can tell a difference when I take in enough, but they do NOT taste good AT ALL!!  I've tried water, water with lemon, herbal tea, and Pedialyte and Gatorade diluted with water or 7-up, but nothing tastes right.  I am feeling a little better today (day #4 after chemo).  Oh, and I've been a little shaky today.  I'm sure these are all symptoms from the drugs and the drugs are doing their job so march forward I will!  My nurse said session #4 will be the worst which I'm really not looking forward to but, once we get through that, it should get better from there.  Three weeks after session #4, I go to 12 weekly chemo treatments and those are not as harsh.

One thing that's been hard for me is not being able to do things - to get up to cook or clean or decorate for the holidays.  Sometimes I don't have enough strength to get up and get a drink or something simple.  I really enjoy doing things for others, too, and it's been hard not being able to do that, especially when I hear of friends who are struggling.  I want to go help them and I can't.

The other thing I noticed is there are a lot of people with struggles and illnesses, more than I've ever noticed before.  Is it this time of year, this time in my life, is it always like that and I haven't noticed it before?  Do people keep their illnesses and struggles to themselves?  Are our eyes that closed to our friends and those in need?  For those of you, not just my friends, but my friends' friends and anyone else, who are struggling, my thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you…always.

Some fun stuff and things that brought me joy since my last blog:

My daughter-in-law took me to try on wigs (photos below).  Curly or grey?  What do you think?  

I received a quilt from our dear friends, the Maxwells, with a note on the back of the quilt that said, "This quilt was made to give you our hugs."  I can feel their love from across the country.  

Another friend, Lynette, drew me a "Zentangle" picture with a heart, pink ribbon, flower, and a "Z."  She wrote a very special letter to go with it.  She also picked some things up for me to finish my Christmas presents since I couldn’t go out.  What a blessing.

My daughter's friend, Angela, made me a beautiful heart quilt.

The 15-16 year old Sunday School class at church made a blanket and presented it to me at church yesterday.  What a thoughtful group of teenagers.

When I feel down or weak from chemo, all I do is think of the people who are walking through this with me and I feel strong.  Some of you, I haven't even met, and I thank you for your care and concern.  My family members and friends tell me of friends and friends of friends who are asking how I'm doing and sending their well wishes and prayers.  Thank you, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, and Happy New Year!  May this year bring you and yours many blessings and joyful memories.

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