Beach Escape and Chemo Port and Covid Test...oh my!
We were lucky enough to escape to the beach last weekend. For two nights the boys, my mom, and I were able to relax, sleep, swim, play games and spend time together. I realized that we had not escaped from the day-to-day grind of work and home expectations since COVID began. This was the first time we had taken the time to do so. I felt like I was finally able to exhale and just be present in the moment. It was truly magical. It also was the last break of time we had before things ramped up in terms of treatment and everything started to feel real.
Monday I had a COVID test (the first of many during the plan ahead)....and it was negative. No surprise there but, Yay! It was a very fast process (done via drive-through with the kids in the car), and the swab only went partially into my brain.
Yesterday I had a chemo port surgically installed into my chest. It's an incredible invention. It is a small metal disc about 2cm in diameter; the base of the device is made of silicone and rubber and can be punctured hundreds of times with a special needle. The base has a narrow, flexible catheter that is inserted into a large blood vessel in my neck, which will deliver the chemo drugs directly into the bloodstream. Overall, it's a nifty way to have all blood draws and chemo be administered and save the veins in my arms and hands from being overused.
(yep, that thing is my new friend for the next several months...right now it stings a lot)
It was a quick procedure. I was checked into the hospital at 8 am, in surgery around 9, and home around 11. Due to a bad reaction to the combo of drugs they used in surgery, I struggled with quite a bit of nausea and vomiting but now we know what anti-nausea meds won't work for when chemo starts, right?! I've also had some pain getting used to the implant--general itchiness and maybe some nerve pain as my body adjusts to this implant?
The craziest thing about all of this cancer nonsense has been that it just hasn't felt real. I keep feeling like it couldn't possibly be happening to me...I feel good! I feel healthy! How could I possibly have cancer?! It just hasn't seemed real. Thursday was hard. Driving to get a port installed into my chest for the purpose of receiving chemotherapy? Well, that felt real. Very real. I'm scared for the battle ahead. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't....and I know without a doubt that I am going to beat this. I believe that whole-heartedly to be true. Especially with all of the love and support I have by my side.
The next steps are to let the chemo port heal, meet with the oncology team next week and then chemo starts Thursday, November 5th. Each chemo session should last 6-8 hours, so keep those tv and movie recommendations coming.
I have been asked by many if I have stopped working and the short answer is no (or at least not yet). I love what I do. I love teaching and the kids, families, my colleagues, and my school community. I am hoping to power through as long as I can. At least until Winter Break. I anticipate that having this will give me purpose and help me not go crazy, but I will adjust as needed.
Thank you again for all the messages of love and support and all of the offers of help. I promise that when I know what I need, I will ask for it (well, maybe I will have Rick post and ask...because you all know I am much more comfortable in the role of helping *other* people, and asking for what I need is not an area of strength for me).
For now, go vote! At our local drop off yesterday, it was good to hear that over 300 ballots were returned on that day alone!