Monday, August 26, 2013

Worse

Man, I hate this. I really do. I knew it'd be worse than the last time he did chemo but I just didn't know what that would look like. Now I know and I hate it. I guess it helps a little when I think that without it, Chris would probably die a slow and painful death. Well, now that I type it out, I realize it should really help ALOT to think that. All this crap and pain is supposed to heal him.

Chris has been fighting off a cold for almost a week now only with such a low immune system his body is not being a very effective fighter. He's had a sore throat, and nasal congestion that keeps him up at night with difficulty breathing through his nose. Its evolved into a painful sounding cough that also keeps him up at night. He still gets up, showers and goes into work to teach his class or do research or go to meetings for at least a part of each day, and aside from his congestion he does a decent job of seeming normal. Then he comes home wiped and exhausted. Every other day he goes into the cancer clinic here to draw blood, keep track of his levels, and get neupogen shots (that same miracle, incredibly expensive drug that I used to inject in him last time which boosts his white blood cell counts). We try to take it easy at home, and on weekend just laid low at home: picking up a bit, watching movies, reading books with the kids and going to bed early.  That's not exactly difficult to do but for a house-bound mom ready for a fun Friday night, it does take a little adjusting.  He's able to feel up to going to church and we all enjoy our time there, but again he comes home tired and needs to nap while I make dinner (which, thanks to Dixie's Frozen Foods isn't too terribly difficult) and keep an eye on the kids. After a fireside which we again all really enjoy, we head home and Chris is again exhausted (me too this time) and we go to bed early.  Throughout the day, I've started to have cold symptoms and am feeling sinus pressure with a congestion, sneezing a lot with a runny nose.

He sleeps terribly, again. His hips are aching deep in his bones (bone pain from the Neupogen) and he can't get comfortable. I find some tylenol for him and we decide to keep up on taking it so it doesn't get as bad again. He has night sweats and soaks his pillow and shirt, despite a fan blowing directly on us all night.  Morning comes and he showers, drops off Alec at school for me, and heads in for more meetings, another doctors appointment and some work.  I get a text in the middle of the day explaining that his blood count levels are low, at 500 and they need to be at 1500 to be eligible for the next Chemo treatment scheduled for Friday. Also, he's running a temperature of 99. If its over 100 or maybe even over 99 he's supposed to go to the hospital. The nurses give him antibiotics and some more neupogen for me to give him tomorrow. He has a late meeting and arrives home just before 6 and I've got dinner on the table. I can tell through dinner that he's barely hanging on so as soon as his plate is clear I tell him to go upstairs, take a shower to try and reduce the fever and relax his body, take some more tylenol and go to bed. He looks at me with sad eyes, looks around at the messy house and kitchen from dinner, the table full of food and dirty dishes, the kids bouncing off the walls with renewed I-just-ate-dinner vigor and asks me if I'm sure that's ok. I try to muster up energy and think of how important it is for him to get feeling better so he stay on schedule with the treatment and reply, "Yes, I'm sure. You need to sleep." He thanks me, kisses my cheek, so we don't spread more germs, and slowly heads upstairs.

He was tired alot last time we did Chemo too, but it usually only lasted for 3 maybe up to 5 days from the treatment, and then he was fairly normal and we had a nice almost 'normal' feeling week before we did it again.  And last time, he miraculously didn't get sick at all through the whole 6 months of winter and chemo treatments.  But it makes sense that this time, with the chemotherapy drugs being even harsher, it would affect his immune system even more; that he would be even more tired for longer.  Its scary and stressful to think that if his levels aren't high enough we can't do his next treatment cycle. My mom already has her tickets to fly out and watch the kids so I can be with him at the hospital for those 4 days again. What if he can't shake this cold and his levels never go back up? Is that possible? Would they decide that he just can't handle this kind of treatment and tell us there's nothing they can do for him?

My mind swirling with questions I can't answer, I try not to despair.  Looking at the clock I prepare myself, realizing that the kids are just going to get to bed late tonight. I let them run off some energy while I clean up a bit and then have an idea. Maybe if I suggest some computer time, they'll clean up for me? I make the expectations small (only 2 sets of toys each) so I don't have to deal with "its too hard!" complaints. Heavenly Father blesses me because the kids actually want to do my idea and they all end up choosing to 'go the extra mile' and clean up 3 or 4 things each.  The house isn't completely clean, but I decide to not care and just think that its way better than it was and I didn't have to do any of it.

We haven't had a decent Family Home Evening in a while and with Chris sick in bed, I'm tempted to skip it again, or at least call him down to see if he wants to join us. But I resist both and decide I can just do it myself with the kids. Thanks to the Friend magazine my mom left us, I find an easy idea and the kids happily gather round for one of their favorite family things: FHE. Its going so well that its hard to stop and before I know it, 40 min has passed and the kids are 'gone' - running around laughing and screaming as they chase and try to kiss each other. Every now and then I can hear Chris get up, go to the bathroom, cough or something.  Poor guy. Tired me. Happy kids.

Eventually the kids are in bed and I'm at the end of my rope but at least I didn't yell at the kids. At least I feel good inside that I'm not mad at Chris for needing to sleep. I feel good that I suggested he go to bed.  I didn't have to deal with unexpected loneliness if he would've asked 'would it be alright if I went to bed?' All of those things that I didn't do tonight, I did a lot 2 years ago. It feels good to see progress in myself.

I hope my stuffy / runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes doesn't keep me up tonight. I hope Chris can finally get some deep sleep and overcome this darn cold. I should just stop typing and go bed. .... Ok, fine, I'll do it. Goodnight.


11 comments:

amanda said...

I'm amazed and inspired that you're able to recognize progress in the midst of everything you are all experiencing/have experienced. Thanks for writing this out and sharing. I really love you and am grateful you blog.

Erin Johnson said...

You are strong and brave and so much more capable than most of us!!! Keep pushing on. Thank you for your example of positivity during such difficult times. I wish I was there to steal your cute kids away and give you a day to yourself and bring you supper and sneak in and tidy your house - and everything. Take care of yourself, and all our best to Chris. You're in our prayers.

Vhari said...

This was beautifully written. Thank you so much for being so open with all of your feelings and details of this very difficult time. I'm so sorry! I will keep praying for you guys. You are both so brave. I can't believe all that you are dealing with Brit. I am in awe at what a strong, wonderful person you are. Thank you.

dixie said...

Thank you for your honesty and determination to weather this storm. I just wish we were closer and could be of more help. Please know that we love you all and pray for you constantly and would do anything possible to help. You are amazing. Don't give up!

Heather said...

"You are strong & you can do hard things" This is an important concept that you are living out each & every day right now! We love you & are cheering you on...
Your positive outlook is inspiring & will also give you added strength :-) Power on...

Jess said...

Oh, Brittney this was a hard thing to read and I'm sure hard to write and live. We love you and wish that we could be there to help you through this difficult time!

Amy said...

Brittney, I'm so glad you keep up on your blog. Your sincerity shines, even through these weighty difficulties. I pray for you often.

merilee said...

It brings tears to my eyes knowing you and your family are dealing with this most difficult time. But I also have tears in my eyes because I feel your strength and determination to keep on doing your best. I know you will be blessed and comforted. I love you!!

terri rolfson said...

I hope you can feel all of the love for you and your family from your Greenfield Ward family back in Edmonton! You have left a big hole that won't ever be filled. Give your kids a hug for us - we'll keep fasting and praying for all of you!!

thom said...

You are so strong and such an inspiration to us all! Press forward, and know that we pray for you, that the windows of heaven will be opened and pour out the blessings that your family needs and truly deserves. We love you guys!

tericksen said...

I love you so much. You are such a good wife and inspired mommy. You inspire me. Thanks for writing the details of your inner-Britty workings. I love it! miss you SOO much. Can't wait to come out and spend time with you.