It has been a rough week. Infusion 15 took a lot out of me. The cumulative effect of treatment after treatment for the past five months has left me feeling as though I’ve been run over. Some days my body hurts to such an extreme that the only escape is sleep. And because my body is working so hard to fight the physical effects of chemo, my mind is beyond overloaded and hasn’t been functioning very well. My breakdowns have become more intense and more frequent. Once again all I can say is thank God for my husband. He has been such a wonderful caretaker and an unyielding warrior.
These next few weeks I am going to need help. I need people to check up on me. Tell me you haven’t forgotten about me. Help me feel connected to the outside world. I feel myself shutting down emotionally and I am desperately trying not to regress.
While this is very uncomfortable for me and I hate sounding needy, I thought it might be helpful to make a list of practical ways you can help someone who is going through a health crisis.
Send text messages with no strings attached. Understand that a lot is going on and that you may not get a response. But believe me, just to see someone is thinking of you can change your whole day.
Write a letter. This is one of my favorite ways to feel loved and supported. It doesn't have to be a long, deep message -- just let the person know you care!
Send funny photos or videos. Bonus if they are pictures/videos of your family! It helps us feel connected, even though we haven't seen you for months.
Offer to visit when and if the person feels up to it. Make it clear you have no expectations on the person. Things that can make a visit even better: offer to take a walk outside, ask if you can bring a specific snack or drink, rent a movie, read a book ... you get the idea.
Reach out to the people who are directly helping take care of the person. They are going through this difficult journey as well and they need encouragement. Make them a meal, send them gift cards for take out, check to see if they need a specific errand done (grocery shopping, picking things up, etc.)
Set up schedules for people to visit, clean their house, mow their lawn, pick up groceries, etc. Whatever would be most beneficial for the family. And understand how important it is to be flexible. You might sign up to visit them but they are having a bad day and need to cancel. Be prepared for plans to change at the last minute.
Send care packages. Think of things that the person might miss or want during this time. Comfy clothes (PJs, robes, leggings, zip up sweatshirts), favorite snacks, self care and beauty products (be sure to check if smells are bothering them or if they are trying to use all natural products, etc), scarves or hats, eye masks (for headaches and sleeping), etc.
Send a small "I care" card or gift every month. There is a family who has been doing this for me and it has meant the world to me. They have sent me Valentine's Day cards from their kids, fuzzy socks, a travel mug ... They always lift my spirits and help me to know that they are continually thinking of me.
Send digital gift cards -- amazon, iTunes and target are all great options for practical and entertaining purposes.
Pray for all of the people involved (patient, family and care team).
Please know how much I appreciate everything you all have done for me and my family. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you.
Updates & Prayer Requests:
Pray for my neuropathy and restless leg, especially at night when I am trying to sleep!
My LAST infusion is Tuesday, February 19th at 12 pm! I will meet with my oncologist first.
Important upcoming dates: February 22nd, 2:50 pm -- MRI, February 26th (2 appointments) 8:30 am -- Consultation with radiation oncologist, 3 pm -- pre-surgery check up and EKG, March 12th, 2pm -- injection for surgery, March 13th -- lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy.
I know this has been a heavy post, so I will leave you with something funny. My friend, R, tagged me in this post on Instagram and even though we haven't met, I feel she knows me too well (and I can't wait to meet her once we are both through this!):
So far I don't have this outfit for Tuesday ... but I'll work on it!
All my love,