It was four years ago today that I started a journey that wrecked my body for a long time. It was my first chemo after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
I woke up really early in the morning. I wore a leather wristband band sent to me by Holly Wagner (fantastic pastor in California and cancer overcomer herself) that reminded me that I am a warrior and to be courageous in this battle.
It was cold outside, and I had to get stuck by a lot of needles. First to take blood, then to insert the needle that would deliver my first dose of chemotherapy. I had prayed a million prayers, talked to lots of doctors and nurses and it was time. I started out with a long tutorial about what would happen to my body in the next few weeks. Dry mouth, tiredness, digestion problems, nausea, extremely low white blood count levels, my fingernails may deteriorate, dry skin, loss of appetite, flu like symptoms and in exactly 10 days my hair would start falling out – it started falling out on my hubby birthday.
After they talked me through the whole process they gave me a printed version that would remind me of what to do in each scenario, knowing I wouldn’t be able to remember all the information. That was so helpful in the future. I kept that packet by my bed as a reference the entire time through chemo. Then it was time.
I was so thankful that my amazing husband Tim was with me the entire time. Every single DR visit and chemo treatment he sat by my side and held my hand. He is such an amazing man. I was blown away that he was always with me. So many people go through this by themselves. Thank you Tim for not ever leaving my side.
So then they walked us back to a little pod where the chemo would be administered and explained that the first time I would receive the doses they had to run the drip very slowly to make sure I wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to the meds. That it would make my time in the chair longer than it would typically take in the future. I had at that time been poked with lots of needles and knew that sometimes it was a challenge getting the needles into my veins. It had nothing to do with the nurses, they were all amazing. They said I had super strong veins and sometimes it was hard to poke through them. Well, my first treatment proved no different. They went to insert the large needle into the large vein on my hand and it wouldn’t go in. It was very painful. Tears started to roll down my face.
I needed to take a break for 15 minutes to prepare my mind and heart again for them to try again and in that 15 minute break my friend Amanda walked in. She had been diagnosed a few weeks before me and had already started the treatment process. She was there on a DR visit and walked in at JUST the right time.
You know, God sends people into your life at just the right time for a reason. I talked to her, we all prayed together and then it was time to try and get the needle in again. This time, it went in.
OK. Time to start. They started me off with fluids and Benadryl in case I had an allergic reaction and it burned pretty bad. They ended up wrapping a heating pad around my arm to warm the fluid as it want up my arm and I LOVED that heating pad. I used it at every treatment. (By my last treatment we figured out that warming my veins before inserting the needle helped it go in without as much pain.)
I was amazing how fast the Benadryl KNOCKED ME OUT! I took a half hour nap and when I woke up I realized I was going to sit there for a long time. MUCH longer than Tim or I had anticipated. We talked to everyone, watched some TV, scrolled a lot through Facebook on my phone, took another nap and hours passed.
We had arrived at 7:30 am and it was going on 4 pm. Around 5 pm I was done. It had been a very tiring day and at that point I was ready to go home. They had given me a prescription for nausea meds and told me if I started to feel like I MIGHT get sick to take one. That did happen a lot, but the meds kept it all at bay. I only got sick once during all the chemo treatments. That was my first day. It’s really crazy. I remember this day four years ago like the back of my hand. AND it feels like it happened 10 years ago so much has happened since that day.
Since then I finished chemo, had a double mastectomy and reconstruction, launched a church in a tattoo shop in South Beach Miami with my husband, lived in Baltimore and KY, launched a fitness business (Click HERE) to help people get fit, physically, spiritually and financially, kicked off an online learning center (click HERE) a knitting company (Click HERE) and recorded some music. AND! I am about to start a new exciting adventure I can’t wait to fill you all in on!
Remember – Josh 1:9 – Be strong and courageous. Don’t let anything stop you. No matter what. God has amazing plans for your life. Yes – you. Step out in faith, risk and see His plans unfold.
Just keep going. No matter what.