I'd like to inform you that I only blog when I'm feeling medium, usually. I don't blog when I'm feeling really bad because I can't focus and I'd probably just complain anyway. And I don't blog when I'm feeling really good because I'm taking advantage of feeling good and actually doing things or catching up on my life by doing things like cleaning, organizing, and paying bills. I haven't blogged in a while because for about a week I was feeling pretty bad and then I spent a week pretty fatigued but feeling decent, and this last week I've been feeling really good! The feeling good was perfectly timed, I've been busy as a bee! Although, thats all relative. In my normal life, I wouldn't have considered the last few weeks very busy, but for the new me it was busy. We had company from family, celebrated Christmas twice, had a few doctor appointments (although not as many as usual) and then this last week my best friend Jenna visited us from Atlanta!
Right now I am in between chemo phases and it isn't often that my body gets time to recover, but now is one of those times. When I finished the last phase around the 15th of December my ANC (Remember, that's the count of cells that fight off bad guys, my immune system essentially) was 60. It has to be 750 for me to start the next phase and right now I am at 480. My platelets (cells that help my blood clot) at that time were a very scary 6, which is worse than what they were when I got diagnosed. They have to be 75 for me to move on, but they're already back up to over 100- that means I'm allowed to shave my legs, but I'm probably still not allowed to do contact sports (That's funny, because I haven't even jogged in 4 months.) The plan, if my ANC cooperates, is to start phase 3: Interim Maintenance on Monday. We'll start off with a bang, with a new chemo drug called Methotrexate and my old friend Vincristine (the one that makes my finger tips numb) as well as a lumbar puncture over at the hospital. The following day I will get Pegasparagase which I'm getting used to but it makes us all a little anxious because it is relatively common that people have an allergic reaction to it. This overload of drugs within just a couple days is common during this phase of chemo, but thankfully I'll only be going in every 10 days other than to the Florence hospital for lab work and probably blood transfusions as needed.
As for 2015 as a whole, I've had better years. I think 2014 is my favorite so far (We started the year living in Alaska, moved home, got married, and I taught 5th grade at Mapleton, all while taking our health for granted.) 2015? It started off great, but then I got cut from my job at Mapleton. I got another job right away which turned out to be an amazing fit for me, but then, as we all know, I only got to teach for 2 days. Then everything changed.
I am ending 2015 with a new appreciation for life. I have gained perspective, empathy, and the ability to reach out for help and allow others to help me. I am finally taking that year off like I had always I would, it just looks a little different than I had hoped. I've spent more time on a couch this year than I ever have in my life. I've travelled to Eugene probably about as many times just this year than I had in all the previous years of my life. I haven't made the drive alone even once though, and because of that I have spent some amazing quality time with people who clearly love me because I know that it's not fun to spend your day in a chemotherapy treatment room. I've also had more people reach out to me and encourage me than I could have ever imagined. I've had old friends bring up amazing memories and new friends support me through the most difficult time of my life thus far. My family has never ceased to be there for me, and my grandparents have an open door policy halfway between Florence and Eugene for food and bathroom breaks. I've been gifted so many amazing things, and received so many delicious meals, from people who would do it any day of the week to people whom I never would have expected it from. I am so thankful for the people who have just spent time with me, because I can't imagine spending too much time alone with my thoughts on some days. All of these things have helped me to stay positive. A lot of people have commended my positivity, but honestly, my support system makes it easy. I know cancer is scary, and things could go south for me at any moment, but it's very rare that I even have time to think about that. My thoughts are filled with gratitude and I am always moving forward.
On to 2016. I doubt it will be my best year either, I think 2014 will be the winner for a while. 2016 will be a year where I spend the entire calendar year on chemotherapy drugs of all sorts. Things should slow down around May or June when I enter the maintenance phase (which will last for 2 years).
I only have one New Years resolution, and that is to do my best.
That's all I can do, and I know that things will get tough. Chemo wears a person down, and right now I am less than halfway through the tough stuff so I know there will be times where things will be very difficult: Staying positive, being nice, paying bills, being independent, the list goes on and on. But I promise to do my best. And I don't want to wish away the first half of 2016, because as hard as this all is, I know there are many things I'm gaining from it all, but in all honesty, I do wish that it was June already. I want my body back, my hair, my strength, my normal appetite, and my healthy life. Through it all though, I'll do my best.
Cheers to 2016 right now, because I know I'll be asleep before midnight.