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?
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.