So I haven't updated my blog in awhile because the chemo got the best of me unfortunately and landed me in the hospital for 4 days.  I had that first chemo session on the 16th of this month, and it wreaked havoc on my intestinal tract causing non-stop nausea for 5 days straight.  The two drugs I am taking for chemo is Adriamycin and Cytoxan.  I know.  They sound like poison just by reading their names.  Adriamycin is nicknamed "the Red Devil" and rightly so.  It is blood red in color, and it takes about 10 mins to administer.  During that time, they want you to eat something really cold to decrease the blood flow to your mouth and reduce the risk of mouth sores later.  I'm not going to lie, it just looks toxic when it is going in.  I HATE putting this stuff in my body, but what other choice do I have.  It is the only proven thing they have even though I feel that they should have more by this time.  It not only targets the bad cells like cancer in your body, but it also targets the good ones too.  By that I mean the rapidly dividing cells like skin, mouth lining, hair, and intestinal tract cells.  I haven't seen any hair loss yet, so I'm still tightly holding onto each and every one on my head.  That is not suppose to hit until this week, but I pray against it.  I will cross that bridge when it comes.  Back to the story.  That Wednesday night (the 16th) I began having the nausea feeling, and it didn't let up unfortunately.  I attempted to work on Thursday and Friday, but I didn't make it long before giving into the sickness.  I went home early both days.  I thank you Lord for my wonderful boss, Randy, who is so understanding and caring of my situation.  He has been such a great Christian example to me since I started there, and I couldn't ask for a better boss.  He is such a blessing to me, my family, and my co-workers.  I tried the medications that they had prescribed, and believe me I took them as often as I could.  The weekend arrived and I continued to just survive it.  It was miserable but what other choice did I have.  It was so depressing to feel that way 24/7, so Monday morning I called my oncologist at 8 am sharp.  I couldn't keep feeling this way.  They had me come in at 10:15 am, and it didn't take long for him to look at my green face and decide he was going to hospitalize me.  I couldn't even look at water, food, or anything at that point without wanting to upchuck.  I graciously accepted that offer as much as I didn't want to be in the hospital ever during this process.  I was willing to do anything to stop the madness!  They hooked me up to my port to feed me full of Zofran and lots of fluids.  It took most of Monday to start feeling any type of relief, but to my likings I was able to finally eat a grilled cheese sandwich that evening.  Let me tell you that was the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever tasted!  The initial plan was just one night in the hospital but by the next morning my stomach still wasn't right and my white blood cell (WBC) counts were really low.  This continued for a couple days despite the fact that they injected a booster in my abdomen every day at a cost of thousands of dollars I'm sure.  In fact, on Wednesday I had to be put on neutropenic precautions and couldn't leave my room without a mask.  Also, no one that was sick could enter my room, and I couldn't even order anything off the wonderful hospital menu like salad or fresh fruit that could be contaminated.  It was fun needless to say.  My nausea was fairly controlled, and I could eat.  However, the meds and chemo had also caused another problem.  This is where I get frank.  I was so backed up at that point that my stomach was literally growling each time I ate trying to process it all.  Wednesday morning after taking countless amounts of laxatives and eating prunes on Tuesday, the crap hit the wall.  No, not literally but that is funny.  I was down the hall at the nurses' station about 5:30 am asking for some apple juice when suddenly I found myself running with my IV pole in tote to my room to barely make it to the bathroom.  It finally cleared me out, but the problem lies in the fact that then my intestines had yet the other problem the rest of the day.  If it wasn't one thing, it was the other.  My intestines were not liking me at this point, and the nausea starting coming back.  I was soooo mad.  Dr. Pruitt and his nurse practitioner came by that morning and let me down by saying that because of this and the extremely low WBC counts I was yet staying another night.  They said I could go on Thanksgiving morning if I didn't start running a fever though.  I had almost reached my boiling point at this time because of the prolonged, unexpected stay in the hospital, but I agreed that it was probably for the best.  I wanted to feel at least 75% back to normal before I attempted to come off the IV meds and fluids and transition to oral meds and my normal home schedule.  Thank our heavenly Father above that on Thanksgiving morning Chris picked me up and we waved goodbye to the wonderful nurses that had taken great care of me during my stay.  I can't complain about that for sure.  I love Northwest Texas Hospital, and it helps to know lots of people up there.  They take extra good care of you then.

I then had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my mom's family with the help of my new best friend, my mask.  Then, Friday morning I decided that I felt good enough for us to drive to Muleshoe, so we could see the Shelburnes.  We had a great time with everyone and yes I beat all of them in a nice game of Nertz (despite my handicaps of feeling weak and being unable to fully reach across the table with my left underarm tightness).  Just kidding.  I can still kick their butts!  This weeks plans are to possibly get more fluid put in the expanders on Monday or Tuesday, 2nd chemo on Wednesday, and back to work all week.  Hopefully life will go on as normally as can be with the second chemo, and then I will be halfway through this group of chemo drugs!  Today I'm going to enjoy seeing our church family in Canyon and some much needed personal time at home with my very anxious 3 yr old daughter who wants to put up the Christmas tree.  Thanks goodness I have her because I might not put one up otherwise.  Sorry Martha Stewart/Tiffany (my sister), who spends days on end decorating their home to make it look like something out of Homes and Gardens.  Yes, it is beautiful and I'm jealous but I don't have that much energy on a good year or desire to do so.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, Chris, for putting up with me during this ordeal this last week and stepping up to the plate to be super husband/mom during my absence and my inabilities to fulfill my motherly duties.  Also, thank you to my family for stepping up and taking care of Brenley during our hospital stay.  They made the transitions much smoother than expected.  Bren probably enjoyed the break initially, but by the end of it we were both missing each other deeply.  Lastly, thank you to Chris' work for letting him leave to come stay with me at the hospital and for being so understanding of our situation.  You know I have so many things to be thankful for always, but I admit that I have not always thought this way in the last week.  I will also admit, reluctantly, that I was mad at God for a few days.  I felt like I had prayed for relief from it all without feeling like I got an answer.  Again, God was testing my patience and faithfullness to him.  I didn't score very well this past week.  I failed to realize again that he doesn't do things in our timing but in his.  He waited until Thanksgiving Day to make me realize that fully and humble me to know that his will is always what is best and to be desired.  I read in my book Jesus Calling something really good.  It speaks as if God was talking to you and says, " You give me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I will give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances).  This is a spiritual act of obedience (at times blind obedience).  You may still be in the same places, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My persepective".  That is so true.  Sometimes our perspective is so foggy and bogged down with stress and anxiety from what we set our focus on that we fail to realize that our focus should be up instead of ahead to circumstances we can't control.  I'm learning to look up for sure.  It is so much easier to handle this way with his perspective and help.  I'm trying.  I'm a  work in progress for sure.  Thank you God for ALL of my blessings good and bad.  I want to thank you in times when I feel great physically and in times where I feel like death has come over me.  Those are the times when you know what I'm going through and are just patiently waiting for me to give up complete control.  I thank you for my friends and family and what they mean to me in my life.  You are all knowing, fully loving, and my completely understanding God whom I love so much.  God bless you and yours and don't forget to thank God daily for everything.  Shay 
Cheryl
11/28/2011 10:01:36

My prayers for you have been unceasing. I hope your next couple of weeks are better than the last two. Stay strong, even when you feel the weakest--remember the footprints poem--when you can't walk, Jesus is carrying you. Love you.

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Kim
11/28/2011 10:24:20

Sweet Be-Lah,

I had been grumpy and disappointed about our somewhat dramatic Thanksgiving (family). Then I read your blog and it puts everything in to perspective. Now I am counting the many, many blessings. You have also inspired us to begin a "family prayer time" every night. We have so many blessings to thank God for and also many people to lift up in prayer. We love you!

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Connie
11/28/2011 17:46:16

God Bless Your Sweet Heart!!!! We are praying that the next few weeks are tons better than the last couple of weeks. Praying this "yuck" time goes by fast and better days are ahead. Thank you for your honest witness. God is using you to help and touch so many! You and your precious family will continue to be in our prayers and hearts! Go Shay!!!

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Donna
11/28/2011 18:24:34

Wow, Shayla, I hate that you are having this experience. I have always seen great strength in you so I'm not surprised that you've put so much of your journey and your faith in the blog. I have you in my prayer journal and you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. love ya!

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Jenny Mills
11/29/2011 13:32:15

Shayla~
Wow do we have some in common! You were not kidding. I am so sorry you have been so sick. I fortunately did not have to endure that to the extent you have. I pray for your second round to go much better. Our drugs were a little different. I took Taxotere instead of Adriamycin. Maybe that was the difference in the sicknesses. I felt rotten, but not the way you just described. I know it is very hard feeling bad, especially with an energetic 3 year old. I just prayed for myself that she won't remember this, and if she does that she will understand someday why mommy wasn't always so energetic with her.
I went to my oncologist yesterday for my last blood check, and it was great. I made my next appointment for the end of February. As I walked back out to my car, I had an overwhelming relief come over me. I was through this phase and on to the next. I made it!!! I sat in my car and cried and thanked God for carrying me through this part of my life. I am not done with everythig, but this poison is done! It has strengethened me beyond belief, and it has blessed me by allowing me to meet wonderful people like you who are going through the same thing. You too will make it through!! I pray that your hair stays, also, but if it doesn't, it is ok. I cried the day it started falling out, but that was just something I had to get out. I wear hats/beannies all the time. I haven't ever worn a wig...it just wasn't me. My hair should start coming back in about 6 weeks. People say it is ONLY 12 weeks...well, in the beginning 12 weeks seems like a long time. It will be here before you know it. Hang in there! Please let me know if I can help you with anything. I actually have one prescription of AMEND...don't know if you are taking that, but I would be more than happy to send it your way. Keep on Shayla! You have such a great outlook and perspective! God will lead you through. Call or email me anytime. 214-585-3766 babyc55@yahoo.com

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