Thursday, April 3, 2014

I am so much stronger than this....

"I am so much stronger than this"

Those were the words I found myself typing to my boss one day two weeks ago. Tears streamed down my face as I typed the words that summed up all the feelings I could feel that week. All of the feelings I could feel all year.

I had reached the lowest of low points in my cancer journey.

My last chemo infusion was on the 10th of March. I was expecting to be feeling so much better at that point. Unfortunately, on St Patrick's Day, my body had other ideas. At the worst possible time, I found myself with what turned out to be a simple stomach virus. I will spare you the horrible details, but suffice it to say that in the course of 7 hours, I lost 4 pounds and became severely dehydrated.

I had been scheduled for blood work that day at the oncologist, so I went and hoped I could talk to them about some relief. I was REALLY sick.

The oncologist recommended that I be admitted to the hospital, but I asked if we could avoid that- I didn't want to go in the hospital. They agreed to give me some treatment in their office infusion center to see how I did with that as an alternative. I was relieved.

I spent 6 hrs in the peaceful oncologists office while they did labs, gave me lots of fluids and medications via IV. That helped the nausea and the dehydration. Once my color was better and they were confident I was doing better, they sent me home for the night with the agreement I would be back the next day for labs. We kept the IV in place just in case I needed more treatment the next day.

The following morning, my labs were within range. I had kept some food down so I was able to avoid more fluids and treatment.

Unfortunately, I had a reaction to the adhesive on the plastic bandage covering they use to cover the IV. While I have reacted to adhesives on rare occasions in the past, it has been years (since 1992) and I have had many IVs with the same type of covering with no problem in the interim. No idea why it did it now- but it resulted in a large burn on the back of my hand. Oh well, just one more thing.

I had hoped to return to work half days on the 24th of March, which brings us to that note I was typing to my boss. I had to send her a note letting her know that I would not be strong enough to consider returning to work that Monday. I felt so defeated. For the first time, I felt that illness had gotten the best of me. I was down, beaten.

Once I typed those words, cried those tears, I started to feel that defeat leaving. I just needed to be defeated for a little while. I needed to let it get me down so I could start to get back up. I know this sounds silly, but that is exactly how it felt. Once I said those words and admitted that's how I felt, I no longer felt that way.

Within a short time, I let those feelings fade away and just waited for my strength to return. Each day that went by once I could eat a little more, I got a bit stronger. By the following Monday, I was a whole new person- almost back to myself.

That Monday, I spoke to the doctor and got approval to begin working on the 31st. Just half days, but it is a start. Sitting at my desk is a sense of normalcy I haven't felt since mid-December.

I missed it terribly. I am glad to be back!