Healthy Living in the Carolinas

Chemo #12 (Feb 14-Feb 27) FINAL

Chemo #12 (Feb 14-Feb 27) FINAL

The final chemo. A Valentine’s day to remember. I knew I could do it from day one. The night I received the news it was Cancer I was ready to warrior and kick this cancer’s ass. Not everyone has this mindset and you may not either if you find yourself in the position of having been told “it’s Cancer” and that’s ok. I am sharing my journey and how I felt during it. I knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but I was determined. I was determined to find gratefulness in modern medicine and how it was going to save my life. I was determined to find the good in the bad and I did just that. I am proud of myself.

I want to give a shout out publicly to my two children (ages 10 and 14). They hold a huge part of my heart. They have been so supportive of me in my journey, especially here towards the end when my tears flow out of the blue. They have never witnessed me at such lows as they did these past couple of months. We had to cancels vacation plans last Fall, I missed school parties, I couldn’t be room mom that I know my son loves as much as I do, I missed my daughter’s Junior Scholar induction due to flu season and risk of being sick, we stayed in way more than normal and dinnertime changed quite a bit. They worked very hard not to get sick by washing their hands a lot, showering right away after getting home and taking their vitamins, elderberry and probiotics. They never complained about it and did their part. I am a very proud mom and grateful for the moments I DID have with them during this time.

In the beginning I avoided the cancer word with my son and just told him, “I have a very bad disease in my chest and I will be taking very strong medications to kill it and I will lose my hair, etc.” He matured so much this Fall that I decided right after Christmas to tell him it was a disease, but also called Cancer. He took the news well and continued to show he cared.

My son would say “do you need a hug, mom?” if he would see me struggling or “Thanks for making dinner, I know you’re tired.” or he would go on a short walk with me after school because he knew I didn’t want to walk alone. He also would tell me that he really liked my hair shorter. He’s so sweet!

My daughter was there to hold my hand or give me a hug and say “it’s going to be ok, mom, you’re doing great.” when I was having a meltdown. She would sit and listen to me struggle at times to find the words to express why I was crying AGAIN! We watched Gilmore Girls together and had many laughs. She would give me compliments to boost my confidence just as I do for her all the time.

I am in tears as I type this. Parents, teach your children at an early age that life has it’s ups and downs and prepare them for life struggles. Life is not without them. It breaks my heart that they had to witness me go through chemotherapy, but we are stronger for it as a family. I hope when they look back on my journey they will see that I remained FAITHFUL, I shared my emotions with them and they know how important prayer is even more so than they did before.

The day after my final chemo I had to get one last Neulesta shot (because my infection fighting counts were pretty much non-existent) and boy did I feel this one the next day. I spent most of my time in bed Saturday and Sunday. I cried many tears. I wanted to be excited for the last chemo (wasn’t I supposed to be celebrating?), but it hurt just to walk to the bathroom. Just because the last chemo is complete doesn’t mean the journey is just magically over. It’s not!

I am still weak and in discomfort at times, but nothing like the bone pain. I walk much slower at times and the longer I sit the more pain I feel when I get back up. On the flipside, the more I walk the more sore I am the next day. There is no winning in this “comeback” phase. It will take patience, prayer and dedication. I WILL make a comeback so be ready for it!

It took me the longest to rebound from this chemo. I made it through all of chemo without vomiting. I am a little shocked about that. I had the worst case of constipation yet. I am so happy to get things back to normal in that department. Don’t take for granted the act of pooping daily and if you aren’t you may want to mention that to your doctor or up your fiber.

These past two weeks had the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. My best friend flew in for 6 nights and I was never happier! I am so glad I decided I would need her most after chemo because I DID! I couldn’t believe it when she as standing in my kitchen. I was grateful! We had a great time. I laughed so hard my abs got a workout! HA! I finally got to go out without a mask to a few places. It was a strange feeling. Don’t worry, I’m still being very careful and always have a mask with me, wipes and anti-bac. It’s flu season, y’all!

I can’t remember what all I have shared with y’all, but my journey isn’t over yet. I will have a PET scan next month and I hope to hear the word REMISSION. If all is clear I will continue to get PET scans. My chance of it coming back lessons after the first year of being cancer free. If all isn’t clear, then it will be a much harder road ahead of me, but there is still hope for complete remission one day. It will for sure be a year of worry and fear of it coming back, but I am determined to have more good days than bad. I know the Lord has a plan for my life already laid out and I am ready to walk it. Selfishly I hope it doesn’t involve anymore cancer. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow! Please always remember that. Find joy in the crappiest of days. I’m not saying you can’t ever be sad or feel defeated at times. However, don’t let it define you. Don’t stick around in that place for long.

As I sit here and write this last chemo entry I am alive and feel pretty good considering I have been pumped full of life saving poison for over 5 months. With that said, I get sore easily. Every outing has it’s “pay for it later” moments. I walk slower. I get fatigued easily. I have chemo brain and forget a lot. I suck at spelling. My concentration is off. I still take my oral medications and take my temp 3 times a day until my PET scan. I still worry about getting an infection. I wonder if my cancer is gone. I wonder what life will be like moving forward. I am learning what is too much to do in a given day. I will continue to learn in this journey and grow. If you aren’t learning you aren’t growing as a person. Be your own advocate. Get your annuals. Get things checked out. Many people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had to go through MONTHS of being misdiagnosed. I was blessed to know my body well and felt led to bring the cough up to my doctor and she acted on it. I think if I had multiple issues in my health that I wouldn’t have brought it up and more importantly, I probably wouldn’t even had an annual schedule for that day back in July.

Please continue to pray for my strength, physically and mentally. I can pray for no cancer, but that I won’t do that. I will pray that I have the strength to walk the path that has been chosen for me by the Lord. Trust me, WE aren’t in control of everything in our lives. If you are reading this, it’s not by chance. It’s because the Lord is working in your life through me. Make sure you aren’t too consumed with the things that aren’t truly important to notice. Try not to complain about the little things. I will never be the same person I was before cancer and I’ve come to terms with that. I will never be the person I was before having depression or having almost lost my son to an emergency appendectomy at age 4 or losing a loved ones, etc. We are never truly the same after a tragic event. I do believe I will be a better version of myself.

I want to thank you all for your continued prayers and for those of you that have been checking in on me. I am grateful for you. I DID IT!!!! xo Angie

Sign made by Julia Piper

My Go Fund Me page: Help Angie with Medical Bills

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