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How Am I Doing?

I started my 12th chemo treatment on the 8th, and though I'm starting to feel some side effects, I have enough energy to do some hobbies and hang out with friends again. Honestly, cancer's starting to feel like the "new normal." My nurses are more optimistic every time I see them, so hopefully my scans around the end of the month will be better than last time.

New Normal

I went to the doctor for some fluid buildup in my lungs, and I got slammed with a cancer diagnosis and month-long hospital stay out of nowhere. I only got to stay home for a minute, too, before I was in a life-or-death situation and needed "creative" gastrointestinal surgery. Every new thing came with a learning curve or a list of scary potential side effects. I had days I was too weak to get out of bed, I had days of crazy pain, and I had days I could run errands and live relatively normally. Everything was in flux, and I felt like the world was so insubstantial, like mountains could start moving around or disappearing at any second.

Now, though, I know things could still change at any minute, but I've found a routine in the midst of everything. It's not like I'm at 100% again, but I can shower without wearing myself out, I can sit through church without distracting pain, and I can even exercise at the gym a little bit more each week (with exceptions). My cold sensitivity limited how I could use my hands, but I can do hand-sewing and typing just fine. The only issue I haven't been able to work around yet is preparing cold food - the moment I try to cook meat or produce from the fridge, my hands are useless the rest of the day. But all-in-all, I have a little life again, even if I can only do a few things each day instead of a hundred things each day like I used to.

My husband gets to be much more independent, too. For a while, he had to sit me up in bed and carry me, so he got virtually no time out of the house. I think he was very nervous to even go to the grocery store here or there. Now he can go to the office for as long as he needs to each day. I could tell he was so worried, too, but I think he's finally found some peace and sense of normalcy. At least a little normalcy.

I wonder about my dad. I had to set boundaries because having someone with zero chill and consistently using fatalistic language affected my health. Now that it's been a minute, I feel like I'm being unreasonable and shouldn't cut him out like that. I've always been like this since I was a kid, and I always snap right back to needing to guard myself around him the moment I give him even a little space. I'll probably never grow out of this cycle.

I am surprised to find out he texts my husband for health updates. At first, he really did not respect my request for not texting negatively about my health, but he stopped texting altogether when he started dating his now-wife. I thought I was old news or something, but at least the stressful texts stopped. It's not like he's ever really shown that he cares about me. But lately, he's been texting my husband for health updates, and the texts are respectful. Maybe his new wife is a good influence? Or maybe he's finally finding some kind of chill? It's not like he's reached out to me at all and he still blows me off when I call him, but that's a really big change. I guess he isn't totally evil then?

Chemo's starting to hurt.

I think the specialist at Vanderbilt said 4 treatments is a pretty typical wall for patients to hit when it comes to FOLFOX, but I took 10 pretty easily. It's not like I haven't hit problems with treatment before and been delivered from them, but my feet started to feel weird during #11. It's not tingly, but there was definitely a strange feeling every once in a while, like I can feel my pulse, like it's a little numb, and like I can't quite control my feet perfectly with every step. During #12, it feels like that pretty frequently throughout the day. I guess that's called neuropathy? I'm probably going to have to adjust my medication next time to avoid nerve damage. Sucking on ice helped with cold sensitivity last time, so maybe I'll try icing my feet next time. It'll be weird, but whatever.

The chemo is eating my blood, too. My platelets were a little low before #11 and they went up a little before #12, but I need my platelets to avoid my limbs turning purple and to keep me from bleeding out.

Also, thankfully, the liver pain has never come back, but I feel it some days and need a pain pill before bed about once a month now.

Please pray for me.

I appreciate any prayers. If you would pray for something specific, I ask you pray for my treatment to laser-target my tumors while God preserves my body. May I either take my medication well, or may the Lord prepare a new medication for me that's even better. Also, clean scans and no cancer! But His will above anything else.

Also, I don't know, my dad just bothers me. He's the most anxious person on earth. He tries to be a good church congregation member and all that, but he is always saying things like "it must have been God's will for Mom to die" and "God has His hand on you for now, but He can take it off at any minute" and all this stuff that just makes it seem like he has no trust in God's goodness or consistent character. It seems like he has no peace at all. He lost his wife of forever-many-years, erased everything he could of her memory, remarried quickly, and found out his oldest daughter has cancer. He needs that trust and peace, but no one can give that to him. May God draw on him, and may God soften his heart, and may he listen and be vulnerable and honest before God, and may he learn to relax and trust Him at least just a little bit. It's too sad to watch him otherwise.

But always, thank you for reading and praying.