Halfway Done!

I completed my second chemo treatment Wednesday which means I am half way done!! My sweet sister flew in from Texas to sit with me.
It did take much longer than we thought. My appointment was at 10:30. I got there at 10:15, but I didn’t start my first bag until 11:50 (I get a total of four bags: one bag of pre-meds that takes 20 minutes, one bag of anti-nauseous meds that takes 30 minutes, one bag of chemo that takes one hour, and then a second chemo that takes two hours). Unfortunately I had some IV issues again. We didn’t blow a vein this time, but it seems my veins are a little small.
I was able to use the first IV for the first 3 bags, but when they started the 4th bag it was stinging with every pump. The first chemo is a vein-irritant and so they think that may have been the cause of the stinging. They also feel because of the small size of my veins I cannot withstand a ‘quicker’ feed so instead of it take 2 hours to empty I need it to go slower and take 2.5 to 3 hours.
So they removed the IV and tried again. It was a miss and so I had to have them try a third time. That worked and they were able to finally start the last bag at 2:45 (which means we were not able to leave until about 5:15). They kept a heat compress on my arm (which is supposed to help enlarge/swell your veins). They put in my notes that I may need to keep heat on my IV location for my entire treatment infusion. Otherwise, I may just need to go into the remaining treatments with the expectation that I will get two IVs.
The hard part is that I am not allowed to use my right arm (my dominant side) at all (where my veins are a bit bigger). I lost that ‘privilege’ when they removed the 10 lymph nodes during surgery. So I can only be stuck on my left side for all blood work (which is also done before my first bag) and shots (which is done the day after). I’m blessed that I get 3 weeks for my arm to heal between treatments. Unfortunately, the blown vein is not healed yet so that also decreased the availability of ‘stick’ possibilities.
I got pretty emotional if I am honest. I’m not great with needles as-is, but by the 3rd IV poke I was just done. My sister did a great job keeping me distracted and encouraging me until it got fixed. Afterwards she kicked my butt in a few games of Skip-Bo to help keep me distracted – or maybe just to annoy me (she’s good at that).
My sweet husband recently booked a no-kids week-long trip the first week of October to the Turks & Caicos islands for a take-that-cancer-we-beat-you-and-its-over-praise-God-vacation. He had sent me a picture of the beach view and I made it the screen-saver on my phone. Katie kept holding it up for me to look at while they were poking me and it just made me relax to know sooner-than-later I would be relaxing at that exact spot. No more chemo. No more IV pokes. No more! Just time to relax and enjoy my husband and celebrate all that God accomplished and did over the past 8 months.
After we were done I treated Katie to a pedicure and then she treated me to dinner – it was a nice reprieve after the long 7 hours at the hospital.
Right now I am feeling OK. This time last treatment was when all the chest pain, coughing, & allergy symptoms really started kicking in. Now that I am on daily Rx for the reflux/indigestion all of that pain is not a part of this round. I will more than likely have my ‘worst’ days starting tomorrow through the weekend if I follow the same pattern.
Mom leaves Saturday afternoon. What an amazing help she has been – she has been caretaker or G-man for the last 25 days! We could not have done the last few weeks without her (and Dad). My in-laws will step in now for a couple days depending on how I feel after the weekend. Luke is officially done with school and Hamilton is starting his last week before summer.
My next few appointments are Physical Therapy on 5/24, Plastics check-up on 5/25, then my next chemo on 6/8.
For CBS next year (I know, I know – enough with talking about CBS) we are going to be studying some amazing books of the Bible, one being 1 Timothy. I am pre-reading all the books over the summer just to familiarize myself with them. 1 Timothy 1:12 in the NLT version says, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him.” This encouraged me so much (and I hope that it might encourage you with whatever might be going on in your personal life as well).
  1. I am to take the posture of thankfulness in my current circumstances.
  2. He has given me the strength to do it and to walk thru the circumstances.
  3. He considered me trustworthy with the circumstance – to handle it honoring him and giving him glory.
  4. Lastly, that I was appointed with the honor to be the one to do number three.
So, that it what I am choosing to meditate on currently. Whatever your circumstances may be: your marriage, your children, your work, other relationships, your finances, recent diagnosis, general anxiety, summer break, who knows what you have been or will be walking through. My encouragement is to follow Paul’s pattern from 1 Timothy 1:12.
Have a great weekend!
Love,
Ashley
P.S. Remember if you want to contact me you can reply to this email and to view the meal calendar you will need to log-in to the actual website to sign up. Thank you for your continued support and prayers – I love looking at the prayer time sheet and praying for you at the same time you pray for me!

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