Saturday, September 20, 2014

family, friends and a photobooth

I've been lying in bed and listening to the rain. I know so many people are keen for the promise of the warmth and sunshine of spring but being wrapped up warm in my comfy bed listening to the rain brings back wonderful, childhood memories. The feeling of being cocooned, cozy and safe in bed with the rain drumming on the roof. I'm holding on to those feelings after a pretty full on week.

Nothing says cozy like my ruby red slippers.
There's definitely no place like home!

My pre-chemo oncology consultation was a pretty long, drawn out discussion with two of my oncologists. We went over exactly what happened during and after my first chemo round. You take it seriously when your chief oncologist starts to say that we'll try this round and then consider whether we'll stop it or carry on. That the benefit of treating my breast cancer cannot outweigh the risk to my life and longterm health. I was very grateful to have my sister Karen with me. She joined in the discussion and planning as a medical professional informed by her personal experience as a breast cancer patient. Her input was valued and key to the planning for this round. Changes were made with my chemo drugs and the follow up regime of meds for managing my nausea at home (hopefully without the dibilitating headaches). So far so good.

Karen picked me up for chemo in good time. I was a mixed bag of emotions - anxious, fearful, worried... I was very afraid of what might happen. I know many people were holding me up in prayer and sending me all the healing and love vibes they could. That gave me the courage to face whatever this day would bring. The staff were were very kind and thorough in getting me ready for chemo. They knew exactly what had happened before and did not want me to have a second bad experience. Karen was amazing - she set up my tray with a table cloth, she made me ginger tea in real cups, she rubbed my arm while the line went in (I have had some trouble with these resulting in massive bruising), she rubbed my back through waves of nausea and hot flushes. She was the best support person/ nurse/ sister ever! Holly arrived part way through and that was such a treat. Her smile and rainbow hair light up the room. My chemo nurse was wonderful and attentive. When it was all done, she gave me a big hug as I left for the day. 

All and all I'm incredibly lucky with how it's gone so far. The second round of chemo went as smoothly as could be expected. This new regime causes more nausea so I am being very careful to manage it well at home. I don't want to end up back on the Oncology ward on a drip. I have been wonderfully supported by the love, care and visits from my gorgeous family and an army of friends supplying the most delicious meals. The kindness, thoughtfulness and care in preparing these meals has made the nausea so much easier to bear.

 Everything comes wrapped in love. 
The best medicine!

With all the ups and downs, backwards and forwards, "cha cha" of this cancer journey, life can be tough for not just me but my family. They are trying to negotiate this journey for themselves alongside me. The overwhelming feelings, the helplessness, the emotional, psychological and physical toll has impacted us all in unique ways. We try to deal with them the best we can but to say it's hard is an absolute understatement. So on the Saturday before this chemo round we planned a family dinner. A time where we could enjoy being together, belly laugh, talk loud and let our hair down - some more literally than others! It was definitely a fun, crazy, celebration of love and all of the good things that make life worth living. 

I'll leave you with some photobooth snaps from the night. They tell it all... 
Doin' the cha cha our way!!

We even managed to include
Esther and Ben who are 
living far away in NYC.
My baldy 
buddy Josiah!

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