Chemo Round 3, Day 2: It’s All about the A

7 Oct

Thursday’s treatment went really well, no complications.  We were in and out in about 3 hours and then I went home and took a long nap.  I’m definitely starting to feel the fatigue and some mild nausea, but it’s all manageable at this point.  I expect tomorrow to be a little tougher, but I’m going to tackle it with prayer and mental fortitude and see if I can’t beat back some of the negative side effects.  My God is powerful and I know that he will get me through the toughest moments.

I have a confession to make.  I am a horrible daughter.  The WORST!  :)  October 5 was the one year anniversary of Dad’s heart attack and I completely missed it.  Wonder if I could blame this forgetfullness on chemo brain and get away with it??  I love you, Dad!!  I am SO thankful that it was not your time to go home, that you fought hard to stay here, and that God granted us the gift of more time with you.

A little update on yesterday’s post.  Pumpkin briefly showed me some loving on Thursday after I came home from treatment.  It only lasted for about 5 minutes – then he was done.  He contemplated lying down with me while I took nap, but then decided against it.  At least his compassion meter was on for a little while today.

It’s All about the A.

Attitude.  It’s the difference between coping and living with cancer or letting it destroy you not only physically, but mentally.

People are telling me I’m such an inspiration, that I’m brave, that I have such a great attitude about all of this.  I don’t think I have a choice.  If I sit around in the muck of pity, I will only feel worse.  Then, I will be dragging down those around me, especially Barry because he has to live with it every day.  Can you imagine living with someone who’s doing the “whoa is me thing” every single day??  That would be terrible.  I wouldn’t even want to be around myself like that.

But it’s not always easy to stay up, and strong, and positive.  Barry’s the greatest help in that department.  He’s a realist.  He babies me when I need to be babied, but he also encourages me to do as much as I can on the days that I can.  It’s the perfect balance.  My sisters are the foundation underneath me.  My parents are being so strong, even though I know they are afraid.  You all are incredible encouragers – my family and friends.  Talk about blessings in disguise!  Who knew that I was surrounded by this incredible cloud of witnesses who would see me through these tough days?

I am also inspired by the patients in the treatment room.  They are all so positive, sweet, and encouraging.  They don’t talk about having cancer with a “poor, pitiful me attitude.”  They talk about it with a matter-of-fact attitude of someone who is doing a job that has to be done.

Mr. Hess is quite the talker.  His mouth started running the minute he walked in the door and he didn’t stop talking until they stuck some Ativan in his IV to wind him down a bit!  Sweet man.  Not thinking at all about having cancer, just wanting to make the most of his time there by chatting with those around him.

You get to know the other patients and it’s so nice to see how different family members look out for other patients, offering to get coffee or a blanket for someone.  It’s as pleasant of an environment as it can be for patients like us.

I met a lady yesterday who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1988.  She’s getting treatment for it’s 4th recurrence and is taking the same drug protocol that I am this time.  I thought she looked really good.  It’s been 23 years since her original diagnosis – made me feel encouraged, considering they didn’t have some of the better protocols when she started that they now have.

And let’s not forget the nurses – the most crucial component of the treatment room.  They set the tone and it is always upbeat.  They are silly, they sing, they act goofy, and they become compassionate and loving when needed.  The nurses are phenomenal!  There are usually a couple of patients who are pretty sick and frail on any given day, and one or two who struggle emotionally.  The nurses rally around these patients and give them the most tender, loving attention.  It’s a precious site.

It’s hard to be too discouraged when I am surrounded by patients making the most of worse situations.  They, too, are blessings in disguise and they don’t even know it – blessing me with their positive energy, smiles, and hopeful outlooks.


9 Responses to “Chemo Round 3, Day 2: It’s All about the A”

  1. Brenda McFarland October 7, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Rachel ~ You have so caught the essence of what God is doing in our lives in the treatment rooms around the world. Having been there many times now … myself, dad (3 times), and mom … I have met so many people whose hearts shine brighter than anyone else on this earth. We stayed at the Hope Lodge in B’ham mamy times. It’s a lodge run by the American Cancer Society where patients can stay free of charge while taking treatments. It is such a beautiful place …. but the real beauty is in the people inside. The entire staff, as well as the patients, family, and friends who are all marching through this same battle with the big C. They are from every walk of life, every economic status, every religion, every everything with this one common thread between them. I have always been so amazed at the difference people can make in each others lives at such a time as these. God has truly blessed each of us wiht all the people that He puts in our paths throughout our earthly journey!!! If we can be such a blessing to one another in such difficult times …. just imagine what God expects from us the rest of the time!

    • rachturner October 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      You would expect to find people facing the big C to be anything other than positive and encouraging, but they are. It’s as if the diagnosis itself, stops you in your tracks long enough for you to realize what is really important. It’s not our busy schedules or the things we think we want or need to do. It’s not about the interruptions and inconveniences. It’s about people and caring. Thanks for sharing, Brenda! I loved hearing about your experiences, although I hate that you had to go through them.

  2. gayle carter October 7, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Good morning. Rachel. Praying you have a blessed day with minimum setbacks. I am doing fine. Surgery went Textbook according to the doctor. Have to take a stroll here in a little while. Wheeee.can’t wait! You do good this weekend! Love u precious lady. Be blessed

    • rachturner October 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Hey Gayle! I’m hoping by the time you read this you are home and resting comfortably in your own bed. Yay for textbook surgery!! Now, the rest is up to you, huh? :) Here’s to happy healing and a weekend of good rest for both of us! Love ya.

  3. Kathy October 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    I love Mr. Hess and I’ve never even met him. I love that he makes your treatment time more entertaining!

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you don’t have a choice about having a great attitude in spite of everything. A lady at the restaurant one day said she was glad to see that I was doing OK because she heard me laughing. It reminded me of how much other people need to see me laugh. I said, “Of course I laugh…God has given me a multitude of things to laugh about, not just this tragedy”. I’m thankful for every bit of it because I know it is part of the perfect plan God has designed for my life. I need to laugh as much as I need to grieve. It is not God’s desire for us to be sad. I’m so thankful we were raised to see things this way and to not become absorbed in self pity. What on earth would we do if we had a whiner in the family! Now I know why we never had a brother…he would have spoiled us and turned one of us into a whiner!

    After we closed this afternoon, I opened your card (Merci Beaucoup!) and tears welled up in my eyes. Matt came to me when he saw the tears and Michelle said “Do you know how lucky you are to have a family this wonderful”. I said “Yes, I really do and it’s this love that makes the pain much, much lighter”.

    • rachturner October 10, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” What movie is that from?? :)

      I am constantly inspired by your perspective, Kathy. You’ve always been very insightful – the grief is bringing out a whole new level of wisdom from you.

      You’re welcome for the card. Love you much!

  4. The Savvy Sister October 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I would give you an “A” for astute and ambitious. Sucks that you have to go through this, but you are helping many through sharing.

    Love your fluff ball!

    • rachturner October 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Aww, thanks! Isn’t he the cutest thing?? A little temperamental, but what cat isn’t?


  1. The Word is Welcoming « Blessings in Disguise - December 9, 2011

    […] the fact that they are there for treatment, too.  I’ve talked about this patient before.  Mr. Hess is someone who has really touched my heart, and especially today as I learned more about it. […]

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