Happy New Year, everyone! May you find many reasons for joy and hope this year.
After about a month off, John is back on chemo again. His first treatment was on Friday, January 8. He lost his appetite (and 10 lbs.) over the weekend, but so far the other side effects haven’t kicked in yet. Basically he just slept a lot.
I gave him his first Grastofil injection today to help keep his white blood cell count up. Six more to go before the next chemo day on the 22nd. Being back on Grastofil means he can probably proceed with treatment uninterrupted until he and the doctor decide it’s time to take a break again. He’ll have another CT scan in about three months to re-evaluate.
Please continue to pray that the chemo will be effective, that God will give the doctors wisdom in their decision making, and that I will have the strength to take care of our family on the days when John is not feeling the best.
Keep praying for the baby too. My last ultrasound the week after Christmas showed she was growing normally, kicking and moving around, and she had a normal heartbeat, so we are very thankful for that. I found out earlier in December that I have gestational diabetes for the first time in my life, so I’ve had to monitor my blood glucose daily and follow a special diet, which so far has helped keep my numbers on target without the need for insulin shots — another thing I’m thankful for.
I’ll close with a little story to brighten your day. Sometimes I use Bible verses for the kids to practice their handwriting, and I stuck a copy of Philippians 4:13 on our fridge back when Harry was memorizing it. It’s been there for months. The other morning, he saw that I was tired and I must have seemed frazzled because he pointed to it and said, “Mom, just remember, whenever you feel weak, read this verse.” I just thought I’d share these words of wisdom from an 8-year-old for anyone else who could use the reminder today.
“I have learned the secret of living in every situation… I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’” Horatio G. Spafford
This post may be a bit on the longer side, but it makes up for my sparse postings this month. In case you just want the quick facts:
Last chemo: similar symptoms as previous
CT results: Thursday, May 30
Next chemo: Friday, May 31
Want a little more? Keep reading.
I had my CT scan today in Cambridge. It was much quicker than my last scan at Grand River back in January. We were back in the van within 45 minutes. Unlike Grand River they made me drink my barium sulphate suspension at home which sure beats drinking it at the hospital and waiting for an extra hour. It doesn’t look very appealing but the taste was acceptable. Well, acceptable enough to drink the 1.5L without vomiting. I was pretty thirsty by that point in the day anyway as I was not allowed to eat anything or drink anything for 4 hours prior to my scan, so it was somewhat nice to have at least something to drink again.
They gave me the contrast dye again. It has a rather interesting side effect while it is coursing through your veins. It makes you feel like you are going to the bathroom. Fun stuff. I found it more disturbing the first time as I was concentrating hard to hold my breath at the correct time and didn’t like the idea that I could be urinating all over their multi-million dollar machine. This time I barely felt the sensation. The CT scan felt routine and I suppose it will be a regular routine for the rest of my 60+ years of life.
The nurse had trouble setting up my IV for the dye injection today. It was weird because I’ve had numerous IV’s in that arm. I get so many things inserted into my arms that I felt it necessary to assign different designations to each arm based on the direction of flow of the fluids inserted or removed. My left arm is my “in” arm which is where I get my weekly vitamin C and mistletoe IV and my right arm is my “out” arm where I have my blood test samples taken bi-weekly. Anyway, I’m not sure why the nurse had trouble with my “in” arm as my veins were clearly visible from the outside but she just couldn’t quite get the needle inside the vein once inside my arm. It was actually pretty cool to see her wiggling the tip of the needle around inside my arm trying to catch a vein. At first, I was a little shocked but since it didn’t hurt I was rather fascinated by the process. After the second needle poke in my left arm and subsequent fishing for a vein she gave up and used my “out” arm instead, catching a vein on the first attempt. I’m really getting used to and tired of being stabbed.
Speaking of getting stabbed… During my last chemotherapy session, I happened to catch a glimpse of the port-a-cath needle that gets inserted into my port every chemo session and delivers my drugs for two days. The thing is huge! My port-a-cath is on my right shoulder so the nurse usually does her prep work on my right side. Often I don’t notice what she is doing due to my lack of vision on my right side but I sure did this time. I’m glad this was not my first plug-in or I might have been a little apprehensive. It is kind of disturbing though, as they really jam it in there. I find it helps to inhale when they insert the needle but it is still rather unpleasant to feel a sharp object poking through my chest.
The symptoms from my last chemo treatment were basically identical to my previous one. I will add that Sunday was probably my best day 3 yet. I ate more, felt less nauseous, and was moving around a little more than usual.
I can’t blame this solely on my last chemo session but I am definitely losing my hair. I hadn’t really noticed as I am not due for my annual look-at-myself in the mirror for another few months, but Leanne took a photo of me on our hike at Shades Mill tonight and I was shocked to see how thin ridiculously patchy my hair has become. I think it is time to shave it off.
One more thing: Sometimes people assume the worst when I don’t post anything on the blog. They wonder if something dire must have happened to me. Let me try to clear this up. If I don’t post, it’s because I am feeling great and/or I have nothing of significance to report. My conscience will not allow me to flood your inbox with daily “I’m doing ok” mass emails. Don’t worry; if I am ever unable to share significant information, mi esposa has access to our blog and will post an update on my behalf.
I actually do enjoy writing these posts; my enjoyment is directly proportional to the number of giggles I hear from Leanne during the proofreading stage (also known as the making sure I don’t say anything too offensive stage). While I started this blog primarily as an efficient way to update the many people who were praying for us, I also hope that people will see how God is working through our situation, how He answers prayer and that He is in control. My CT scan might show new little Tony’s throughout my body or Tony could be gone completely. I’m cool with whatever the scan may show because God is calling the shots, not me.
Thank you, everyone, for praying for us and for reading my posts.