I'm almost finished with my very last phase of intense chemo. I didn't anticipate that this all would actually fly by, but it definitely has. Between blocking out my memories of the bad days, forgetting about the uneventful days on the couch, and enjoying my good days to the absolute fullest, I've almost done it. I still have 2 years of chemo to go, but I could equate my feeling now with being just a few feet from the summit of a very large and treacherous mountain. To get to where I am, I took all the steepest paths and there were no shortcuts. I felt a great deal of pain, and pushed through- always with the end in sight. But now? I can actually see it. My last intensive chemo appointments are scheduled. There's no turning back. I don't feel so sick. I'll feel like I've really hit the mountain top on the day I get my PICC line removed. I've been staring longingly at every body of water I pass, whether it's the clear cold lake, or my bathtub down the hall. My left elbow longs to be submerged. My maintenance chemo for the next 2 years will (hopefully) be a breeze, especially compared to what I've done in the last 8 months. Once we get everything figured out, I'll only see the doctor once a month and will get my chemo then, by IV. While I'm so happy to have my PICC line out, I'm not looking forward to the 24 lab draws by needle, or the 24 chemo infusions by an even bigger needle. But it's a downhill slide none-the-less. Before we know it I'll be at the bottom of the mountain and ready to carry on with my life. I know there will be other mountains, and I know I can do what I need to do because I've done this. And this has been the hardest thing I've ever done.
Now let me give you a quick rundown on the last month or so...
I had a headache for about 3 weeks which was pretty terrible, and they still come and go but less frequently now. In the beginning it was full blown migraine symptoms, with my hearing fading in and out and being super sensitive, tunnel vision and sensitivity to light, and them often lingering for days and keeping me awake at night. I finally gave in to doctor's orders and got an MRI. The crazy part (other than the fact that the MRI machine looks like a spaceship) is that they could actually see the area in the left side of my brain that had been impacted by the migraines. The MRI machine sounded like a jackhammer, which of course gave me another migraine, and I can't get my nose ring back in. But all is well in my brain.
In the last 2 weeks I spent 8 days getting chemo in Eugene. I can say I'm getting a little sick of the drive, although it has been absolutely beautiful out and at least it's not trips to Portland! It is curvy though, and last week they didn't give me any nausea meds, and I didn't notice until the trip home. Then I noticed, and I puked a lot, and now I really appreciate the nausea meds because they work (when you get them)! When I started chemo I absolutely pictured it just how it is in the movies: bald, pale and puking a ton. For me only 2 of those things have been true the majority of this time, and fortunately I've missed out on the worst one for the most part.
Last week I had a terrible terrible (worse than all the others) lumbar puncture. You know it's going badly when the doctor has tape across the bridge of his nose from the last patient, and he says to you (after the 3rd try at getting spinal fluid) "I'm going to go get the other doctor, he's really good at these" My thoughts, you ask? Wow, we should have started with the really good doctor, shouldn't we have? This of course came after our 5 hour wait to even get the procedure started, and afterward I still had to lay flat for 2 hours. Needless to say, it was a long day, and lumbar puncture #13 was NOT a lucky one. I was supposed to have another one this last Thursday, but I asked that it be delayed because I was still sore and bruised from the last one. The delay is almost up, and lumbar puncture #14 is happening on Tuesday. Fingers crossed it goes a little better!
For those of you who remember me mentioning that I could potentially be done by April 18th, obviously that's not the case. At the beginning of the month my ANC had to be over 750 to move on to the second half of the phase, and it was 500. That meant that I had to delay by a week. But it's okay, because I ended up being able to take a trip to Washington with the family for my cousin's baby shower! That means I'll be an aunt soon, right? right? Yeah, something like that.
And this is the part of my blog post where I would normally update you on my chickens and my garden, but Max told me that he's pretty sure everyone knows everything about my chickens. So if you don't, go look at my Instagram. It's become my Chicken-gram. And my garden? It's doing great so far! I picked a spinach leaf out of the raised bed yesterday and right as I was about to eat it my dad reminded me that it could have bird crap on it, and it had just grown straight out of compost. I reminded him that my ANC was over 1,000 and ate it anyway. It was delicious.
It's far too beautiful of a day for me to spend more time writing, and I'm sure that'll be a pattern here for the next couple seasons. I'll try and keep you posted, but don't count on it. If I'm feeling good, I'll be outside with my big floppy hat, my sunscreen, my garden, my chickens, my dog and my husband.