Regular.

Currently, very few things in my life are regular. The main exception is my new life’s rhythm of chemo, recover, chemo, recover… you get the idea. I love being prepared for things and anticipating and ready for what’s next. Now I get to be prepared to be unprepared and be ready for absolutely anything. It doesn’t really work out well. I don’t really have the most energy for that and certainly don’t have any reserves to tap into. But I’m adjusting. As this whole chemo thing continues to repeat itself I’m getting used to the constant nausea and lightheaded fatigue. I’m creeping closer and closer to what I call normal. Not missing work or dinners or coffees or parties or weddings, because what’s the worst that could happen? Let’s just see how tired I get, and let’s see how crampy my intestines get, and let’s see how exhausted I am at the end of the day, or how hard it is to wake up in the morning. I just have to stay in a functional zone. I’m learning.Chemo day four Christmas party

The previous two rounds of chemo were challenging because they took the one regular thing of chemo, Mondays, and mixed that up on me too. Tuesday for round four and Wednesday for round five. This is tough because it screws up my projected “how I’m going to feel” meter. Normally I start crawling out of my chemo hole on Friday, day five, then progressively feel better and can tolerate more activity by the weekend. Well thanksgiving week I got it on Tuesday so instead of feeling great for that Saturdays wedding it was only day five and I was just beginning to feel better. Turns out mind over matter kinda works and I get a second wind if I push myself hard enough. (I think… I don’t really want to put that to the test or bank on a second wind as a normal occurrence though.) The following round of chemo wasn’t given to me till Wednesday and I had Christmas parties to go to on day four and lots of people I needed to see on day five so I just pretended it was a normal weekend and pushed through. It was ok. My body is doing ok!

A lot of the effects of chemo are cumulative, meaning the more chemo you get the more side effects you experience. For example I’m starting to get tingling in my hands and feet. But overall I would say I’m recovering better instead of worse. My work week was pretty exhausting without those two extra recovery days.

I’m now six rounds into chemo. The plan is to repeat my CT scan in two weeks then see what the surgeons think. My tumor markers have continued to go down, from 193 to 140 to 120 to 110. I started yet another chemo med, three rounds ago, so I’m getting five chemo drugs now. If I didn’t recover so well I’d say they were hammering my body to a pulp with all this chemo. But I am recovering well. My creatinine is great, I’m hydrating enough. My LFT are still within normal limits, my liver is still functioning normally, (hello holiday cocktails). My WBCs are staying within normal to low limits so I’m not getting sick and I’m still able to work and go to the gym.

Workouts have been frustrating. When I first started treatment it was “don’t make yourself too tired”. Now it’s “let’s go slow and see if I can still get through the workout”. My body generally quits before my mind, so my mental toughness is useless. By quit, I mean I almost pass out, it’s not something I can push through, but I still try anyway. I’ve shifted a lot of my workouts and training to Olympic weightlifting instead of workouts with intensity. It’s easier to rest between sets and I feel like even if I’m getting weaker I can still get my technique better.

I’m still mentally in a good place. I’m clinging to hope and focusing on the work to be done now, not drifting into fearful thoughts. For those of you that like to read the Bible I’ve been hanging out in Isaiah 45, especially verses 2-3, but the whole chapter has lots of interesting things to wrestle with. I was inspired to check it out after reading a passage in Streams in the Desert. I mean, He’s mysterious and powerful and so so much bigger than we ever admit to ourselves. I think if I’d have been challenged to conceptualize how powerful and mysterious and big He really is before this, it would have made me uncomfortable. But just now, it’s very comforting to think about.

I have started dreading chemo. Initially I was geared up to take it on but it’s wearing me down. It’s been a war with the pity party every time lately! This is where the people I have been surrounded with are so clutch! I still feel like I’m being held, in a bubble anchored to the side of that cliff that drops into that fearful abyss, by prayers. It’s as though just when things start to drift towards dismal I’m buoyed up amazing people or situations or beverages or a heavy barbell. I get to go out for pre chemo margaritas with my friends. I get to lift heavy weights. Realistically, I’m in super good shape going down the road ahead.

One thought on “Regular.

  1. Love you Amy Pike! Love hearing your thoughts and how mentally strong you are. Love hearing how God is at work and how your body is responding favorably. We will continue to pray! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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