Sunday, October 25, 2009

Induction Treatment, Day 4

I rarely find myself at a loss for words. I always have something to say about something. But the outpouring of love, support, prayers and well wishes is truly astounding and leaves me at a complete loss for words. I feel truly blessed, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I must give a special shout out to my cousin Mary and my friend Cathie. Mary left her fabulous family in Pittsburgh on Friday to help me set up house in the hospital room that is to be my home till about the end of November. She is staying at my condo with my kitten and putting up with Sadie's crazy antics, while running to Trader Joe's, the bank and Petco. Cathie has been making the trek to Englewood on a regular basis, checking my mail and feeding Sadie when no one is there. Both have been indescribably helpful in talking with my parents and sister in Arizona, all of whom are very distressed about this whole situation. So many others have also reached out in so many ways, reminding me of the goodness of the human spirit.

After a week of living with this horrible diagnosis, the shock is wearing off. I'm gearing up for battle again. At first I felt very weary, like I imagine it might feel like to be called back to active military duty after fighting so hard and making it home in one piece. I just kept thinking, "Why is this happening now, when I finally got my first cancer under control? A little break would have been nice!" But these are unanswerable questions. Maybe someday I'll look back on this and gain some clarity on this chapter of my journey.

Yesterday I received my third and last dose of drug #1, Idarubicin - a strong concoction that is a 15 minute infusion once a day for 3 days. I am on my fourth day of drug #2, Cytarabine or Ara-C. That one is a 24 hour infusion for 7 days. Then I'm done with chemo. My blood counts have started to drop, and they will all bottom out 10-12 days after the start of chemotherapy. Then I will start to rebuild bone marrow without leukemia cells. I don't feel too terrible. I felt a lot worse when I first got here. I'm not too nauseous, and when I feel queasy, there are drugs to make me comfortable.

Several people have asked me how they can donate their blood specifically for me. It looks like next week I will need some transfusions, but my doctor says it's safer for me to use donations from the general blood bank rather than have directed donations from people I know. He'd rather not be limited to directed donations, and there are potential complications from receiving blood from family members when I have no blood counts. But he and I would love for you to donate to the blood bank in your local community to replenish the resources that I may use. The Community Blood Services is a great place to donate.

A few people have commented that I must be really angry with God. I understand that response, but it doesn't make sense to me. God didn't give me cancer. We created cancer. It didn't always exist, back when the Earth was clean and we lived healthy lives and ate healthy foods. I am angry, but I'm angry at cancer, not God. God provides me with an anchor with which to hang on, as I navigate these stormy waters. And there are moments when I think that I can actually feel your prayers. It's a comfort that's hard to describe. It gives me strength for the days ahead.



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