“Mom,” Bear cocked his head to the side, “I think you have one eyebrow on higher than the other.” That’s when I knew it was going to be a bad day.
Y’all have been so gracious to ask how I’m doing, to see how my new chemo is going, to ask for updates, to pray and encourage even without them. Thank you.
I have had three rounds of the new chemo so far. The first round knocked my blood counts down pretty badly, so she lowered my dosage and that seems to have helped. I will have to be very careful with this new drug because it will affect my blood counts. Cuts, bruises, bug bites, sickness, etc. are all areas where my immune system and blood clotting factors are going to be weakened. I am still on a two weeks on, one week off cycle, but my week off is my lowest point with blood counts and hardest point with fatigue.
That being said, this new drug seems to be more tolerable as far as most side effects go. My hair is thinning more and more and my eyebrows are mostly gone, thus the drawing them on crooked. I grow so weary of the drawing on of eyebrows… of styling my hair just right to cover the bald spots and thinning, of the dark circles under my eyes and the pale skin, of no eyelashes.
Saturday we went to one of Bear’s baseball games. It was the heat of the day at a field with no shade and I had forgotten to bring sunscreen. Bri and I kept commenting on how burnt he was going to get. We didn’t think about me. I am a sunscreen Nazi, but even without it, I rarely sunburn, and when I do it quickly turns to a tan. Y’all, I burnt to a crisp and I am still in pain whenever I bend my legs.
These are the side effects I rarely talk about, because they seem so trivial in the long run.
I am learning this new chaos, but not learning very well. I can’t figure out from day to day what life looks like.
The main side effect with this new drug is fatigue.. mind-numbing, bone-exhausting fatigue, and while I am so thankful to have minimal nausea and little joint and muscle pain, the fatigue is life-altering. I go places and just sit… or I don’t go at all. (Thankfully, I do have some days here and there with energy. We were able to camp last weekend and dance together at a wedding.) Then there are days like yesterday. Last night I could barely make it through Bear’s baseball game. Yesterday I got through four loads of laundry and managed to make some strawberry freezer jam from some strawberries turning bad in the fridge. Then I looked around at my house and cried because of how messy it was and how little I had left to do anything about it. I cried because last summer, that jam and those loads of laundry would have been the beginning of my day, not the whole of my day. Last summer I would have gone berry picking (how I long for fresh red berries!) and cleaned house, too!
It is this ache of acceptance all over again. All of it. Life will not look like it did six months ago. Summer will not be the same as before. We are all having to open our hands (as we must every day) to the Giver of Life and accept the life He has given us even when we don’t understand it.
And like I wrote in my last post, we are still finding beauty.
I marvel every day at the scenery of this “Beulah Land” in which we live. I get to hear rain on my roof and watch lightning flash all around. I get to watch my children grow and take on extra chores and love on each other when I am unable to. I get to weep on my Brian’s shoulder when life is hard and know he will not condemn me for my weakness–he will not complain; he will love (and yes, he’ll try to fix it sometimes, too). I have meals lovingly prepared for us twice a week and parents who will do anything for us. I get to hear the crack of the bat and watch my Bear run bases. I get to listen to my Ash sing at the top of his lungs in church. I get to snuggle with my Bella-girl every night at bedtime.
These are gifts that I try not to take for granted.
Life with cancer is hard.
Mind-numbing, bone-exhausting, life-altering hard.
But it is life.
“Got no silver, got no gold
What I got can’t be bought or sold
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night
Sunshine gives me a lovely day
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way
Got no checkbooks, got no banks
Still I’d like to express my thanks
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night…
And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I’m all right”
(~by Irving Berlin, from Annie Get Your Gun)