Friday, September 12, 2014

The struggle continues....

Yesterday I got my port, or as someone who has gone through chemo will say, my new best friend. I didn't feel that way at all when Bruce, Janet and I were led to my little room to prepare me for the surgery. When the nurse was verifying my health history, he said, "You have thyroid disease and a history of cancer."  Hearing that was such a shock, I blurted out, "WHAT?" Then it hit me, yes I do, now every time I have to fill out a health history sheet, that box has to be checked. Will it always hit me like this or will I eventually be able to check it just like my thyroid and high cholesterol? At some point will I stop thinking my body has betrayed me?

Bruce helped me change into their lovely hospital gown and then I had a major meltdown, I couldn't stop the sobs and bless Janet's heart, she totally understood. She said, "This makes it all so real." Instead of smacking me and telling me to get a grip, she took our hands and prayed for strength to calm my fears. She also told me that crying is like a check valve, if I'd been a pressure canner full of tomatoes, the ceiling would have been coated about then.

When I woke up, I was being tucked under a warm blanket and that started the tears again so the nurse held my hand and told me it was good to cry, don't hold it in. Fat chance of that happening. She offered me toast and juice but all I wanted was water and finally to get dressed and go find Janet and Bruce. We had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a pain medication and a lidocaine cream that I will use on the port site before I go for a treatment. In the bag was another bottle of pills I didn't know about, they are for extreme nausea, that set me off again. That has been one of my biggest fears about chemo, I've often wondered how people stood it.

I laid low all evening, the port was beginning to hurt but I didn't want to take a pain pill till I went to bed so hopefully would sleep all night. They worked great, right now hydrocodone is my new best friend, it wasn't long until I was 'floating' and didn't wake up until 3 am for another dose. I didn't know what to expect from the surgery but I didn't expect it to be quite this painful and that was depressing. Bruce has been wonderful, trying to cater to my every whim mostly I just want to lay on the couch, under my flannel quilt and not move. I know people have wondered how yesterday went but I've not felt like emailing anyone.

Then my friend, Becky, called and said she was bringing dinner so Bruce didn't have to cook and that just goes to show the mysterious ways that God works. Just a year ago her daughter in law, Brooke, was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation and now is cancer free. Becky just got back from seeing them and she showed Brooke my first blog. She said when Brooke finished reading it, she said that was exactly how she felt the first trip she made to the oncologist. Brooke also said that getting the port put in was the worst part and that I would not get sick from the chemo. After sharing tears and fears (and chocolate, chips and other junk food) with Becky for the last 3 1/2 hours, a couple of text messages and a phone call from Brooke, I'm feeling as though I will make it through this after all. 

I'm not writing this to make you feel sorry for me, I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to tell this chapter. I have found it's very cathartic to write about my journey and I'm even thinking about changing out of my pj's now! I'm also finding out if you want to know how much you are loved, come down with a serious illness. So many people are praying for me and tell me I'm not fighting this alone, my friend, Paula, put it very succinctly in a card, "They always say that hard times and bad things happen for a reason and only makes you stronger. What a load of crap!"

The first chemo was set for Monday but the hospital called today to say they are getting the run around from insurance so we are on a wait and see right now. So stay tuned and hopefully I will find out for myself that the worst is behind me.


  1. Thank you Julie, for having the strength to write this, I want to know how you are doing, and this answers all my questions.. And many thanks to Becky for being there for you and being able to give you hope. At the garden club meeting, everyone sends their love and many asked if you needed transportation, they were volunteering. Yes, you are loved! May it all be down hill from here..................Rosanne

  2. I echo Rosanne's comments completely...well, except for the garden club part; I don't know those people so I can't vouch for their comments but I have no reason to doubt your sister! People you don't even know are concerned about you and you are in their prayers as well. How wonderful to hear from someone who has "been there" to give you strength and hope; thank you Becky and Brooke! Better days ahead, Julie, you can count on it! Love you!

  3. How many days now that I have sat and tried to think about something to mail to you. You, who have been so sweet to my girls sending them birthday cards and gift packages while away at college. You, who will see something somewhere and "just have to get it" for that special someone who you know will like/love/get a kick out of when they receive what you are about to send them. What to send? What to find? What to say? What not to say? What to do? To do nothing is driving me absolutely nuts. How about candles? I love them. But I am afraid a cat may knock it over, not good to have hot wax on a cat or the floor, and well, the flame is another thing all together. wind chime? Some people absolutely hate them, I have no idea if you like that clanking of them. Of course food is my number one choice, but ew, nothing worse than stale food (as it would be by the time I got it mailed out to you). So, dear Julie, I give you daily prayers. Prayers for healing, for peace, for calmness, for patience and for acceptance for this dreadful diagnosis that no one wants to have, ever. Why? Why you, I have no idea. All I do know is that we have a loving God, and I praise Him for the goodness that can come of this. The knowing that so many people love you, I bet you will be surprised many times at little things that come up or out of this. The knowledge that this is one of the cancers that much research has been done and that there is such high recovery or remissions of this kind, that you can kick this thing over the wall and beat it. (just like Brooke did and my sister in law did) Maybe once you are cancer free, you will be able to help others, even if its by reading your blog, to give others hope, I don't know but there will be something that will come from this and will be life changing for you, I can feel it! SO, relax when you can, sleep when you want, know that some days will be better than others, just as they were when you worked at the post office! Keep up with the writing, it helps us out here too who are wondering how things are going and how you are doing, and how Bruce is doing too. (He too is in our prayers.) I also thank God that this diagnosis has come when it did, mostly because it would be so very much harder if Janet wouldn't be around, I think.... its so wonderful to have her be there for these appointments; to ask the needed questions, or to help answer them, and to hold you and Bruce as she prayed, what a wonderful thing to do. God Bless you all.

  4. Thank you so much for writing your blog and keeping us informed. If there is ANY THING I can do to help you out just give me a call.