I was in a bad place

I was in a really bad place this weekend — and I don’t even mean the E.R.  I was just so tired, so worn out from whatever it was that was making my heart race and my breathing funny, that I didn’t function very well at all. 

My feet were so tender from the medicine (the biological agent leaks out slightly, making them bright red and tender) that it hurt to stand on them, or to take a step.

So I didn’t.  I slept.  I rested (doctor’s orders!).  I hydrated.  It was really, really boring.

It put me in a bad place, a canyon of fear and dread with walls so high that I could not see out.  I knew that it would pass, of course, but it sure didn’t feel that way.  It felt dark.  The sticky spots from the monitor leads wouldn’t rub off.  The hospital discharge papers sat on my desk, reminding me to call and follow up with my oncologist.  The CT results, showing what they said was a new hot axillary lymph node, topped my pile of “to dos” on the bookshelf.  It couldn’t be a  new hot axillary lymph node, I knew that — I don’t even HAVE any axillary lymph nodes, since they were all removed last April.  But no one could tell me whether this is one they saw before, and my oncologist was on vacation.  I worried.  I cried.  I tried to work, but I didn’t get much done.  I needed to make some decisions – buy an airplane ticket?  Buy a therapy tub?  Build a sunroom?  and I felt stymied, stopped, stuck. 

I felt stuck.

Should I move forward as if I were going to be here for another year or five?  Or was any money spent on my behalf wasted?

Terrible thoughts.

I won’t tell you more; you don’t need to hear it.  I’m embarrassed to even admit that in the midst of all this caring and thoughtfulness, I allowed my trip to the E.R. to sadden me this way.  The physical weakness made me feel powerless, and I had a real setback.  I realized finally that I needed a little shove to get back on track.

Or, apparently,  lots of love.

I thought I needed a shove, but somehow the love and prayer (the novena continued, concluding last night) helped boost my spirits, a little at a time, and after a few days, I could see the light peeking out above me, above the canyon, and I clung to the rope I thought I was at the end of, and I pulled myself up, a bit at a time, and I let my friends pull me up too.

Like @Techsavvymama who brought flowers and gummy candies for my kids on Friday.  Like @Teachmama who came to sit with me on Monday — and brought bread and soup and fruit since both C. and I were under the weather.  Like Rebecca, who kept calling to check up on me when she heard that my scan showed another positive lymph node, and I was worried.  Like @canape, who reached out, even in the midst of her own pain, to tell me about her father.  Like Colleen and Marie and school friends, who continued the novena.  Like  @jessicaapiss who took my boys and me on a normal playdate to the nature center, because I needed to feel normal again.  Like @stimey who offered to come sit with me, again, and all the friends who twittered with me or left me comments here.  Like all the wonderful friends who sent notes to be put in a very special little box that @itsmylife sent to cheer me up.  I’ll write more about that box when I’m a little better, but please know that it’s here, and it is so beautiful, inside and out….

And yesterday, I left the house and went to Target, and among all the Valentines and decorated cups and plates for the preschool party, I bought swimsuits. 


I intend to be here this summer to wear them. 

Oh!  One funny thing about my trip to the E.R.  The umpteenth time through my medical history, I told the doc that I was in a clinical trial for Nexavar and Femara.  He stopped me, mid-recitiation, surprised, and said, “I didn’t know they were giving breast cancer patients Nexavar.”  I looked at him straight on and replied, “They’re not.  I’m in a clinical trial.”

That’s how cutting edge this research is.  The docs are intrigued, because Nexavar works for their lung cancer and liver cancer patients, but they know it doesn’t work for breast cancer patients by itself.  There is hope that it will work in combination with Femara, which starves the breast cancer of estrogen … but there is no certainty. 

But there is hope.  And that, in a nutshell, is what being in a clinical trial is all about. 



30 Responses to I was in a bad place

  1. Mama Echo says:

    We love you Whymommy!!

  2. Lisse says:

    I love that you bought swimsuits!

  3. Deer Baby says:

    Found you through tweets from Bon and on Thordora’s site. I’m thinking of you and love that you bought the swimsuits.

  4. Don’t forget the matching flip-flops and hat to go with your swimsuit. I think an “ensemble” at the pool always makes a good statement.

  5. I think this summer you should wear a bikini that says F*CK CANCER across the butt! 🙂

  6. I am BURSTING with hope for success on this trial. Show us pictures of the suits! Love to you!

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan N, xobolaji. xobolaji said: RT @whymommy: Thanks for all the talk yesterday, friends — it really lifted my spirits. I was in a bit of a bad place. http://t.co/3gHX5NT […]

  8. Patty says:

    Love that you bought the swimsuits- Can’t wait to hear about all the times at the pool this summer 🙂

  9. Spacemom says:

    Out of darkness, the light seems brighter!

  10. hannah says:

    Hold on tight to that hope. I am praying for you.

  11. annettek says:

    Sending you hope and hugs. I wish it was more.

  12. loran says:

    Who needs to walk around on sore feet when there is pool-side lounging in fashionable pool attire to be done? When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! Keep it up! 🙂

  13. Joann says:

    Stay strong, dear sister. Put all ofnyour trust in the Lord. He is willing to get you through this trial. I have been in the boxing ring with bc for ten years. Yuck, but I have learned to talk and listen to Him. Isaiah 41:10 is a verse from scripture thatni draw much strength from. Get into the Bible, and read a bit every day. Do a devotional. Jesus Calling is a terrific one. Remember that prayer is so important and God loves it when we open up and talk to Him. He knows all of our thoughts and fears even before we do, pray for His peace and it will cover you,like a warm blanket. Prayer is so wonderful,but remember it is the Lord who hears our prayers and it is Him who is our helper And healer. Give thnks to Him, not the prayer.
    Stay strong, and try not to get yourself worked up. Remember, your children will go through trials and difficulties and they will remember how their Mother and Father handled this one.
    Have a blessed,relaxing, calm, cozy night. Sleep well. Here’s another verse the enemy hates, from Micah,
    Micah 7:8-9. Rejoice not over me, my enemy, though I have fallen, I will rise, though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
    You are in a battle, dear one, and I am so sorry, but the Lord Jesus Christ is with you, and will hold your hand if you let Him. He has already won the big battle, have no fear.
    Much love,

  14. J.J. says:

    Can I just say that I LOL at the thought of a woman on the planet who actually looks FORWARD to buying a bathing suit?! See, look at that — you found something to be happy about AND you spread a little bit of laughter! : )

  15. Beckye Estillb says:

    So glad you got that swimsuit!! 😀 Looking forward to the posts when you tell us about when you get to wear it! 😀 Looking forward to you having many happy times to come in it with your family and friends!

    You know that those getting stuck times are normal, but they can be scary. Praying for God’s peace for you. Thank you for letting us know how you’re doing so we know how to pray. ❤ Praying for the success of that clinical trial, and for comfort as you go through it.

    Love and prayers,

    • Beckye Estill says:

      Oops. For some reason I misspelled my name one time, so it automatically puts that every time! 😉

  16. Bon says:

    oof, my heart.

    those ARE raw, bleak, terrible thoughts…honest thoughts, frightened thoughts. just please don’t think you’re terrible for having them. i love that you look your fear in the face and then bet on yourself and buy the bathing suits. i truly believe you’ll wear them. but i do wish the path were easier.

    and i’m so glad you got all the loving up you did.

    here’s to hope. here’s to you.

  17. Jenny says:

    As i tweeted to you – “Hugs and hope for lots of use of those swimsuits – so much so they will get threadbare and you’ll have to go buy more”

    I could tell you were in that dark place just from the tone of tweets and no blog posts. Im glad your IRL friends could be there for you and surround and support you

    Know that although I live half a world away I think of you everyday

  18. Danette says:

    Think of you and your family often. Wish we were closer so that we could help.

  19. Deb says:

    I think I’d have a lot of the same thoughts you have. How long will I be here? Is it worth it? What should I be doing? I had these very same thoughts last night.

    There are no guarantees, life is not fair, but it can be amazing at times, especially through the eyes of a child. You are blessed to have young children. They see the world with fresh eyes and you are there to witness it. Take care.

  20. Amy says:

    Ah, one of my two favorite words: Hope…and Believe. I do both.

  21. I love the imagery of coming to the end of your rope only to find your friends are pulling you up. Lots of love to you, friend. In the dark we can see the stars – that’s when true friends shine for us. I am so glad you have so many good ones!

  22. Tina says:

    Hope. Even at times when you might find it impossible to hope for yourself, it’s ok. Know that we are all hoping for you. Praying for you. Loving you. Hugs! Tina

  23. NYFriend says:

    I am amazed by you once again. How dearly thoughtful you are of C, as you sat by the shredder. And how quickly you emerged from the canyon. I’m so glad you have such wonderful friends with you there, and naturally your family too, to augment your amazing strength and determination.

    Big hugs to you.

  24. Stimey says:

    I hate to think of you so sad, but I’m glad you take the time to feel your emotions and to tell us about them here, because they matter and it is okay to not be okay all the time. I’m glad that hope has found you again, because I am hopeful too and I plan to spend time with you and your kids this summer. Love and hope to you.

  25. JoC says:

    I am glad you were able to see them as thoughts. That may sound crazy weird. What I mean is that while they are horrible, hard, terrifying thoughts, they are not the truth. Those thoughts lose some power when they are exposed to the light. My heart goes out to you. Since I can’t sent my heart, I will send supersonic warm fuzzies instead.

  26. I know that it’s going to be a GREAT summer for you, and I know that the drugs are going to work. I know it. I am glad you are feeling more hopeful too!

  27. Catherine says:

    Thinking of you as another weekend begins. Sorry you had such a tough time last weekend – hope this one is very very good…. I loved your post about your son and his three words.

  28. […] neutropenia the meds induced, the highly elevated blood pressure, and the kidney infection that I battled without even knowing it for […]

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