Chemo Eve

May 08

It’s that time again: Chemo Day #4.

Tomorrow the girls will go to Phenom’s house while I work out, prep healthy veggies and meals for the next few days, tidy up, run laundry, and pay some bills.  At lunchtime, I will leave for Dr. Wonderful’s office.  The nurses will check my weight, blood pressure, temperature.  I’ll see Dr. Wonderful and/or his nurse practitioner.  I will bring a bouquet of five dollar gift cards for the staff break room.  I like this office, these people, the hope and kindness they offer.

I will enter the Chemo Room, and choose a recliner.  Sometimes the room has an enthusiastic murmur of conversation running through it; other times it is still and sleepy.  Always, I feel God’s presence there.  One of the nurses will access my port, draw blood, and run it to make sure that my blood counts have rebounded appropriately.  I’ll drink green tea and read while I wait.  I will look around at the other patients, praying for them, observing fashionable and brave headwear, listening to their words.  Hopefully, my blood counts will be strong, and I will get saline, steroids, and anti-nausea meds through my port IV.  Oddly, each puts a different flavor in my mouth when they are pushed or dripped in through the IV.  It takes over an hour for them to drip in, and I will pray, read, text, write.  It is still strange to sit down and, for lack of a better word, relax for three hours in the middle of the day.  Normally, I am always on the move.  Perhaps, if the mood is right, I will talk to other patients.  I pray for each drug as it drips in: that it would reach it’s target, stop the side effects, and help me be strong.

After the meds finish, I’ll take Tylenol because I’ve learned that when the first chemo drug goes in, I get a dull headache.  I’m practiced at this regimin now.  I know what to expect and I am visiting with old friends.  I pray for the drug as it runs: that it would target the cancer and leave the healthy cells alone.  At some point, I will ask for a warm blanket because they are just so delicious and the Chemo Room is always cold.

Finally, the last drug is not dripped in.  It is brought out from the back in a gigantic syringe.  It is about eight ounces of bright red liquid.  The nurse who delivers it has to wear a special gown and gloves to protect her from the toxicity.  My mouth has so many blood vessels and capillaries that I am susceptible to mouth sores as this drug enters my body (the drugs can eat through the walls of the vessels and cause bleeding into the mouth.)  She hands me a cup of ice so that I can chew on it and constrict the blood vessels in my mouth to avoid the sores.  And then, the gowned nurse, while protecting herself, injects the chemo drug into me.   I keep ice in my mouth for the eight minutes it takes to empty the syringe.  It’s like being at the dentist where you are in close proximity to someone but conversing is impossible.  I watch the red liquid snaking through the IV lines and I pray that it would spare my healthy cells and kill every. last. cancer. cell.  Once the syringe is empty, the nurse runs some more saline.  And then, I am done.  The port access is removed, I pack up my things, I say good-bye.  My job for the day is done.

The drugs, however, they keep working: they course through my veins; they wreak havoc on a microscopic level.  Bwahaha cancer!  Die!

I will go home, rushing against the traffic to get to my girls.  I will hear of the magical adventures they had with Phenom.  I will be grateful and joyful.  We will pull into our garage, past the lawn that we did not mow ourselves, into our house that we did not clean ourselves, to eat a dinner that we did not prepare ourselves.  Friends are taking care of all of those needs.  We are so blessed.  We four will breathe and rest and laugh together.  I will fall asleep visualizing the fury that hath been released upon the enemy.  It is well with my soul.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. –Psalm 23

39 comments

  1. Heather rose /

    You are simply amazing!

  2. Your strength and sunny attitude are inspirational. May the chemo kill the evil cells and restore your body as your faith has lifted your soul.

  3. Ah! One of my FAVORITE Bible verses. I am still reading and praying from Ohio. You are a victor and chemo is your ally!

    EJ, http://www.thesearemyreasons.com

  4. Jean /

    Amen! His words, His promises, His presence… claiming each of them with you.

  5. You know, for all the years that I’ve been hearing and reading about cancer and chemo, this is the first time I’ve read such a good, visceral description of the experience. Thank you for being such a good writer and sharing your story with us.

  6. I’ve heard about the tastes but never before had I heard about the ice. Your writing is making this so very real to each of us. I will be praying tomorrow for you, your family, and your chemo drugs as they go after those cancer cells and pummel them into submission and defeat. Go chemo, GO!
    I have no doubts, it is indeed well with your soul, Jen.

  7. Lindsay /

    Praying for you as you kick cancer’s butt! Have the best day possible!

  8. Caryn /

    Peace. Like a river. A red river, coursing through your veins. It is well with your soul, and mine, too.

  9. michelle /

    Thank you for such visual insight. I was going through your day with you, sitting next to you in your recliner, home in the evening with your family. Your positive, spiritual, peaceful and even happy attitude amidst the fray you are going through is something your girls feel. Keep on keeping on! You are rocking this chemo/cancer thing. Stay strong. Thanks for the posts. Praying for you and your family.

  10. Sue Nitz /

    Gosh I feel like I just got the most wonderful massage! Thank you! I pray Psalm 23 everyday and lately you have come to my mind when I do. God is so Good!!! He hears our prayers and answers. He is working all around you and through you and with you. You always make me want to praise Him more! We will be praying with you this afternoon. Much love to you, Jen.

  11. Zoey /

    Praying for you, sweet lady. That is my favorite Psalm. Love and peace be with you today.

  12. Cameron /

    GO CHEMO GO! Praying right along with you today and every day.

  13. Anonymous /

    The Lord had me praying for you much of he night, HEALING! I agree with Sue N., you make us praise Him more and more- we can SEE Him upon you in a mighty way! I pray for a visual of His presence by the quiet waters today as He uses these meds to heal you. His protection over your body physically and spiritually -that He would halt any side effects from your treatment. You are a remarkable young lady- inspiring to the enth degree!

  14. Angela Johnson /

    Praying with you also!! In the quiet, icky days ahead I pray for comfort and rest as the chemo destroys the cancer and the battle for Jen rages. You are strong and beautiful and full of the Lord’s Grace! God be with you always and always and may blessings and love continue to shower down around your sweet family and envelope you in safety and care! Posting angels around your house, wherever it may be – the angels know!! :)

  15. Dave Schreier /

    Prayed for you last night with some friends, praying this morning and I will set my phone to remind me to pray the entire time you are in chemo. We will not stop praying for you Jen. God is good. May your heart be open more and more to his presence. You are loved by the Schreier’s!

  16. Praying for you today and always! And amazed at your strength. Keep fighting & know there are so many people(many you haven’t met like me) behind you.

  17. genora /

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Shari Hannah DeRossett /

    Jen, Your blog must help so many people with the humor and strength you show in it. You are a wonderful mother and a superb writer! Your blog entries would make a great book for other women battling cancer…. While I get teary thinking of you going through this, I am so happy that you are not putting your life “on hold” until you do get through it. You are enjoying every day without the nonstop worry that overwhelms many people dealing with an illness. Prayers and love to you and your family!

  19. Jeni /

    Jen, you are truely amazing. Chemo, go kick some cancer butt.

  20. Bonniebj /

    Praying now and through the day Jen, the streams from the river of LIFE are your constant source of strength. Interesting that the main chemo drug is Red; color of strength, color of power and the color of neverending GRACE. Will be with you in spirit..

  21. Rach /

    Praying for you today. This link was shared over at Momastery yesterday – did you see it? Go chemo go!
    http://youtu.be/ihGCj5mfCk8

  22. GO CHEMO GO!!!!

  23. Lacie /

    Praying with you today!

  24. Jen /

    Wow! You never know what somebody goes through and you have offered a clear and vivid description. I am praying for you! Hang in there and keep up the fight!

  25. Ashley /

    Thinking of you and praying for you today. Fight, fight, fight!
    ~Ashley in Louisiana

  26. Chris /

    Praying for you today!

  27. Praying for you, and praying for chemo. Spare those beautiful healthy cells and demolish the cancer!!

  28. Jamie /

    Praying for you right now…

  29. Kim /

    Praying that the drug kills every. last. cancer cell.

  30. I will pray for the drugs as well.

  31. Shelley Carter /

    GO CHEMO GO!!!! Praying that it kills the bad cells, spares the healthy ones, and that you are currently cozy under a warm blanket.

  32. Jodi Shaw /

    You are in my thought and prayers this afternoon as you go through your treatment! I join you in praying that the medicines kill those cancer cells and spare the healthy ones.

    You are an inspiration to so many, even some you have never met- like me. I found your blog through Momastery and look forward to your posts each day. Thanks for sharing your story here!

  33. Carrie /

    Am praying and thinking of you today from Marysville, OH.

  34. Christy /

    Sending prayers your way! Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

  35. Melissa /

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.. you are so talented, positive and just plain amazing. I thought of you and your family as I was “plodding” along my leg of my first marathon relay this past weekend. I said a prayer for you all and it pushed me that last 1/2 mile! Keep fighting!! God bless you!!

  36. I spent about 15-20 minutes today skimming back through your blog posts because I needed to spell the word “mastectomy” and I remembered that you had written about your first attempt to joke about it some where along this journey. (Yes, I remembered what blog I read it on, but not how to spell it–go figure!) Sure enough, I found it in your very first post. Having read your most recent post earlier today, I was struck by how far you’ve come in such a short time. Kudos to you! It encouraged me to take a more optimistic view of some of the really big tasks on my plate right now, and think, “Yes, this can be done–not all at once, not as soon as I want it, maybe not even the way I want it, but progress is possible! And if I keep moving forward, steadily, I may get farther down this road than I thought I could.” Thanks for the inspiration! I’ve being following (silently) since the first link from Momastery and I pray that Chemo Day #4 is great for you in every way possible.

  37. Michelle Wolfe Clapsaddle /

    Jen- your writing gives me hope and warms my heart. Your courageous spirit gives me energy as it is contagious. I think about and pray for continued strength and serenity for you and your family. Fight on Girlie…good girls NEVER let the bad boyz win!

  38. Amen & Continued Prayers :-)

  39. Oh Sweet Jen! I continue to pray for you daily. I cannot imagine what your nickname for me might be : ). You are a warrior! You bring me such joy and perspective. I see each interaction of the day different because of you and my life is richer. Love you!