December 28, 2019 - Perspective with Gratitude
As I sit here typing, the house is very quiet, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse! Mason is tucked into bed. Jamie is in bed suffering from a very bad cold. One that I am trying not to catch. He did see a Doc in the Box today and received some meds. I’m hoping this one is knocked out quickly.
I have been very lucky. With 16 weeks of a severely compromised immune system (thanks to chemo drugs), I have been very fortunate to not have caught any illnesses. Many folks in my shoes find themselves in the hospital because they need the extra medical care to fight diseases. Compromised immune systems are no joke.
The house is very quiet and very empty. The past few days has been a blur of Christmas celebrations with family and friends. Rick and Jackie decided to join us for Christmas, as did Jamie’s mom. It was a very nice few days, even if the time flew by. Everyone left us today to journey home, thus the quiet house.
Sadly, it was our first Christmas without my mother, Margaret. It was bittersweet and sad. Mason particularly missed his Grandma Margaret. This was the first Christmas in his entire life that she wasn’t here on Christmas morning. She loved spoiling him with presents. She loved watching him open his gifts. She loved the tight hugs that he gave her. Hours would whittle away as they played games together. It was very nice to have Jackie and Rick here on the first Christmas without my mother.
When Rick and Jackie arrived, it was on Saturday the 21st. I will still on my Percocet regime, but they didn’t mind. As I have mentioned before, (especially for me) the effects of chemo are cumulative. All my side effects were compounded. The bone pain was wretched. The neuropathy was unyielding. My fatigue was relentless. I am thankful that there is NOT another Taxol in my future. I don’t know if I could have withstood it.
I managed to switch off Percocet by Monday. I was able to enjoy the days before and during Christmas unmedicated. I’m sure the champagne helped, I will not lie 😊 Early on, I had asked my oncologist if I could drink wine during chemo. Her response, “Only if it is good wine.” In all seriousness, wine has not been part of my diet during chemo. Not only do you not really feel like drinking it, you certainly can’t taste it. It’s hard to see the point. I digress…. I did manage to enjoy a few glasses of bubbles or 2 with my family during Christmas.
As I sit 12 days since my last (no, really last) infusion, the bone pain is still present and annoying but manageable. The neuropathy is still unyielding. I am told that this could take months to resolve and that it may not completely leave me. I may be living with tingly numb fingers and toes for awhile. The fatigue is still hanging around like an old shoe.
And, the other nuisance that I wasn’t expecting, I have lost my fingerprints!! Who knew that chemotherapy could cause fingerprint loss? Don't believe me, google it. It has wreaked havoc with my smart devices. I have set all to Touch Id, which means that it doesn’t work anymore! It also makes me think of the life impacts of not having fingerprints.
For example, traveling through the airports and utilizing the CLEAR lines will be interesting. I suppose CLEAR will have to use my retinas to confirm my ID. But, what about Universal and Disney theme parks (spoken like a true Florida resident)?? They both use fingerprints in conjunction with passes to gain park entry. I will cross that bridge when I have the energy to visit a theme park with Mason. As you can imagine parks have not seen us in quite a while.
I did tell Mason that riding any roller coaster, such as The Hulk, will be treacherous with a wig on. I can see my wig flying off my head at the first loop. Wouldn’t that be a funny sight? In all seriousness, if I am healthy enough to make it to a theme park Spring of 2020, it will have to be without any fake hair, LOL!
And then what about criminal activity? How will the police fingerprint me? JUST KIDDING. But isn’t it interesting to think about the impacts of having very slick fingers without the usual loops, whorls, and arches. Sigh, I digress…
And then all this rambling brings me to perspective with gratitude. Real gratitude no matter how hard life is. Let me tell you a true story. On Thursday, December 12th at about 9:15 am, Molly Parker, a 39-year-old young woman was driving along a rural highway in Florida when a dump truck failed to yield at a stop sign. She struck the dump truck at full speed and suffered a critical brain injury. Along with her critical brain injury, she sustained fractures of her breastbone, rib bones, vertebrae, ankle, and facial bones.
On December 22nd, her poor broken body succumbed to the injuries and she passed away. I knew of Molly, but I didn’t know her personally, however many in our small community did. She and her husband have a 4-year-old son who attends the same preschool that Mason attended. The news of her passing broke my heart on so many levels.
Perspective with gratitude. It doesn’t matter how dire your personal situation may be, sit down and talk to the person next to you. Odds are, they are going through something far worse. Whether it is cancer, an unexplained medical situation, an aging loved one, death of a parent, death of a child, addiction, we are all dealing with real hard life.
For me, the passing of Molly of reinvigorated my intention and will to live and to be here on this planet for Mason for as long as possible. It is all in Gods hands, but I refuse to squander any minute or second focusing on the unimportant and mundane. Life is precious and it is fleeting. I’ve received many gifts from God in my lifetime, but Mason is by far the finest.
On Sunday, Jamie, Mason and I will travel back to Atlanta. I have a very important PET Scan on Monday. We are praying for a NED (No Evidence of Disease) report. We will also have my radiation mapping scan. If the test reports are favorable, I have been cleared to have this pesky PORT removed and let the radiation begin! Radiation may not be fun, but at least I must be alive to endure it! For that I welcome it! I am grateful.
You can read about Molly’s quick journey on CaringBridge at:
There also has been a GoFundMe established for her son Arlo at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/arlo-parker-education-fund