Not the bad, make-your-hair-fall-out chemo, but the kind where when you get a shot, they have to use 75 "Hazardous Material" waste bags and a gown over their gown and three gloves to make sure everything is sanitary and doesn't go somewhere it shouldn't. I know it's all precaution, but it's a little intimidating to see all that equipment piled up in order to keep the giver safe.
But what keeps me safe? Today, it was the nurse who let me cut off the circulation from her hand and cover my eyes so I didn't have to watch the shot happen. I had never feared needles, but over the last two years, my fear has grown with each shot and blood draw.
Yesterday, my husband kept me safe from the thoughts of fear I couldn't shake. He is much better to me than I deserve.
After my post on Baby Loss, I went back to the ER twice due to too much bleeding. Every Thursday for 3 weeks, I got to know the good doctors and nurses at the local hospital. Man, do they know how to party! I do too, apparently, 'cause I couldn't stay away. The first time I went back, the bleeding died down and I was sent home to see if anything happened. They wanted to prevent doing another D&C if they didn't have to; it can cause scarring on the uterus which can lead to infertility. The week after that - on Groundhog Day - I started bleeding so badly that I was passing clots and having full-on contractions, with certain time periods in between and everything. There was no doubt something had to be done. Another D&C, just another day.
Although this new procedure put me out of even more work, pushed my next date with the gym three more weeks and made me bedridden for another couple days, I was glad for it - we were done! All the tissue that was left from my pregnancy was gone and I could finally start the road to recovery.
But my body had different plans for me. The tissue inside my uterus, no matter how small, will grow and grow and with that, my body will sense a presence where babies are and produce the HCG hormone. As long as there is something there, I will climb exponentially in these hormone levels - that's how they tell if anything's still there.
Well, wouldn't you know it - there's still something left.
My doctor thought it might be something growing outside my uterus, and if that happens, it spreads easily to your lungs, causing cancer and sometimes death. I swear that warning is even on Tylenol bottles. I had to have an oncology appointment (if you're not well versed in Greek, that's a cancer doctor). For days, I literally feared for my life. But God is gracious and good, and I am currently free of growths where they should not be. However, there is no doubt of something still growing, so they opted to do a low dose of chemo called methotrexate. It comes in shot form and makes me extremely tired about 4-5 hours afterward, but other than that hasn't shown me any side effects yet.
The bad news: I tell a friend what's going on and as soon as the word "chemo" slips out, all hell breaks loose. It did for me at first, too; but I almost had cancer at 24, so this ain't nothin'.
The good news: The good cancer doc let it slip that once my HCG levels are back to zero, there is no possibility whatsoever of them coming back up. Until this point, I had been told that I must wait to "try again," because what-if-the-hormone-comes-back-up-then-you-will-still-have-tissue-and-if-you-get-pregnant-you-will-need-to-have-an-abortion-and-another-D&C. But this information, this changed everything. This gave me HOPE. Hope that I can, sooner than I thought, work for what I have been working for my whole life, and that is to be a mother. I realize it's only a few months, but that can seem like a lifetime when faced with the (non-)creation of a family.
But for now, I am off to Hawaii for a week, and I plan on having the time of my life! Chris asked, in the midst of all this, "If you have cancer, are we still going to Hawaii?"
Uh, ABSOLUTELY. If you were faced with possible death and a certain tropical paradise before, what would you choose? No. Duh.