Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 59, Continued..

I left off my story on the day I shaved my head.. Most of my blog might seem like rambling to many, if not all of you, but like I said, I want to remember every detail of this experience. :) Alright, so after I shaved my head, I got a surprise visit from the wonderful Kim Medina!! I wish I could tag her in this; She is such a beautiful woman! So I was talking to my favorite sister-in-law in the world, and she says her mom is almost to my house. I was so excited and just wanted to cry. She took me wig shopping, and after trying on some funky wigs, we found Natalie! It was really hard taking off my scarf and allowing someone to see me without my hair for the first time, but God gave me the strength to get through it.. Yet another event that shows proof that I can't get through a single second of life without God. :) Over the next week, I had a bunch of random, yet incredible, friends stop by! I had fluids again on Monday, and the next day it was Britt and Angela day. We tried to go walking, but the heat killed me, and I just about passed out. I used to be a runner, so no doubt It takes everything in me to not lose it when I can't even walk certain distances.. But my husband and I were talking about how once I'm ALL better, which I will be soon, I can run with all the energy I haven't had in years! I'm going to join an indoor team, and It's just going to be so stinking fun. We always wondered why I had problems on the soccer and track team the past couple of years, and now we know why. My doctor said my cancer could've easily developed while I was in Mexico years ago, and then lingered before growing to the extent it has recently. It truly explains why the doctor could never find anything wrong with me, and yet I had these intense problems when I did anything athletic.. I always felt drained, especially the past year, and I'm very grateful to now know why. A couple of days later I had an appointment in Orlando with Dr. Reynolds. It wasn't the best appointment I'd ever been to, but It could've been worse, haha. My nurse went to check my blood cells, and they couldn't access my port. I sat there for 30 minutes, sitting up and down, moving around, having my port flushed with saline(which by the way tastes like foil), and also having the needle in my port being pushed on and messed with. I don't do too well with people playing with needles that are already in me. Before all of this, the sight of needles made me pass out, but now It's easy peasy Lemon squeezy. Yeah, just said that. So anyways, they eventually accessed my port, and the problem was just that I had a blog clot at the end of it and It was blocking the way to pull blood. Gross, right? ;) The next day I hung out with the wonderful Allie Donut Loe at cranes roost and johnny rockets. Our waiter was crazy awkward, and we just had a weird experience. It rocked my world when they brought out our food in this order, 5 minutes apart each: Chocolate fudge milkshake, french fries, Cheeseburger. It definitely surprised me, and I for sure enjoyed it. Only a couple short days later, My in laws were finally here! Kristin, Greg, Micah, and Jonah live TOO far away for my comfort, and came down to host my fundraiser. :)  Sunday was my fundraiser at Gators in Ocoee, and it was so much fun! We raised FAR more than I'd expected, and It was overwhelming to see all of the people who didn't even know me, donating and just showing their support! I truly do have some incredible people in my life, wow. Breeann was wonderful and is the reason we were able to even host the fundraiser at gators. Yup, she's awesome. Kristin, Ms.Kim, and everyone else who helped set up, tare down, and also to those who came to help us out, thank you SO much for all you've done for jake and I. We are so thankful to have such sweet and kind people in our lives! On monday Jake and I rented, "Country Strong," and It is now my favorite movie. I know my movies, I'm for sure a dedicated movie watcher, and In my opinion, that was a good film. Only problem is now I'm dying to move up North, get property, a barn & horses, live in a log cabin, and live the country life style. I want me some chickens! Hehe. That dream is in our 10 year plan.. So we will see. ;) A few days later I had Chemo, and I wasn't feeling too good. My sessions seem to be weakening me more each time, but that means It's working. ;) They gave me Benadryl, so that knocked me out, and I woke up feeling exhausted and nauseous. Thankfully I had my honey with me, so he helped me out to the car and then up our 3 flights of stairs. Sadly I didn't write down the next two weeks, so I'm now going purely off of memory.. Not good, haha. The weekend was filled with the usual nausea, but not too bad. :) I was having a lot of trouble sleeping because of pain and the nausea, so I took some pain pills that also helped me sleep. Oh sleep, how I missed you. That weekend the Medinas, Greg & Kristin, Angela Ingrao, and my mom moved Jake and I to our new apartment! It was RIGHT across the street, FIRST floor, and just so homey feeling! Jake had to work until 5, so he completely missed the move(I think he did it on purpose, haha), but they did such a great job and thank you can't cover all they did for us! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! I slept 10 hours straight that night, and for the first time felt like we had a home. I think God spoils us just a little bit. ;) Sunday was Easter, and we were able to spend some time with the Medina's! It was so nice to see everyone; I love them all very much! I felt sick, so sadly we had to go home sooner than planned, but I'm thankful for the couple of hours spent with them!After begging to see them one more time when leaving on Easter, Greg, Kristin, and the boys came by the next morning to say goodbye. I already miss them.. I almost kidnapped Kristin. I could find other people to kidnap greg and the boys. I have sneaky ways. ;) That whole next week was mainly filled with Jake working like crazy because he's the best husband in the world, and me sitting at home with visitors here and there because I'm the most exhausted wife in the world. :b Not too much happened that week except appointments, which went very well. Jake and I had a date on either Tuesday or wednesday(can't remember), and that was the highlight of my month. We went to chili's, walked around cranes roost, sat down and played words with friends together, and then went to a late night movie! Ah, such a great night!! The rest of the week and weekend I was basically sitting at home sleeping. On Saturday my mom, Jess, and grandma came over and organized the apartment for me! Can you say heck yeah?! :) It's such a relief to have things put away. No more boxes! :D Oh, fun fact about Saturday. I had marinated a steak that a close family friend gave Jake & I, and then cooked it on the skillet for lunch on saturday. In addition to the marinade, I added olive oil, lemon & pepper seasonings, and soy sauce. It was delish and my first time making steak! I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was, and my husband was shocked, haha. I'm full of surprises! On monday Jake & I went to the outlets and got my dress for a gala we're attending in honor of a cancer society this month. I've never been so excited to get all dolled up in my life! Oh, except my wedding, of course. Jake was off yesterday, and is also off today! We are partying it up over here! Going to play soccer together later, though I'll probably have to just watch because I feel sick easily, and then hitting up the neighborhood pool! Such a good day ahead of us. :) Love my God, Adore my Husband, and Enjoying this beautiful day! Please be praying for my husband, since he is working much more than when we first got married, and has not complained once about working all of the time! Other than God, he is my biggest hero. :) Please pray for an over flow of energy in him, and that God keeps him going through all of this! I'll be blogging soon, no doubt. I have a PET scan this friday, which will give the doctors a better idea of where I'm at. Please pray that it all goes well! One of my biggest prayer requests is that you please pray that I will reach more people through all of this than I'd ever dreamed, and that they will see Gods beauty and light, rather than my sickness and cancer. I'm praying for a miracle, and no matter what the outcome, It will be Gods plans, which will be perfect.

With Love,
      Brittany Mae :)

Day 59

I know It has been a month since I last blogged, and I apologize, but I just couldn't sit at the computer and write an entry without getting nauseous and dizzy. Thankfully today I'm feeling okay, and have brought myself to finally update everyone on what is going on in my crazy life! :) I write this, of course, to update those who truly care and love me deeply, and for those who would don't know me and are curious, but also for myself. Chemo messes with your memory, and with all that is going on, my memory seems to be going down hill, so I'm also writing this to remind myself of this beautiful journey God has sent me on! If you don't want to read about the days un-related to Chemo, please feel free to skip until you find something you want to know about.. I just need to add details so I don't forgot anything. I'm going to be skipping days here and there, but will write about the days I can remember. My first 2 entries were actually only written for my eyes, until I decided to post it publicly, because I knew my story and God's light were meant to be read, rather than selfishly kept to myself. So, where to begin.. I find this to be the hardest part. Thankfully I have a cute little journal that I have been writing bullet points of each day in for the most part, and that jogs my memory enough to be able to share with all of you. I left off on March 31st, and to be honest all I can remember writing down about the 31st of march-3rd of april is how sick I was.. No need to linger on those days, so on to April 4th.. That day was actually 4 months of being married to my wonderful husband!! Ah, life is good. Jake worked all day, and I spent the day with my best friend! Tuesday is, of course, Angela and Britt day, and It was spent beautifully. :) We got our usual smoothies at Planet smoothie, and watched the birds, fish, and turtles with absolute fascination. We are just that weird, haha. Sorry Angela, I'm pulling you under with me on that one. ;) On wednesday I spent the entire day with Jake, so no complaints there. He had the day off, so we just relaxed and watched movies, and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it. :) Wednesday was Chemotherapy, and that wasn't anything too out of the ordinary. My dad came to see me, and Jake got me Panera Bread for breakfast. The two highlights of my chemo session, haha. I was feeling okay for the most part, a little nausea, but nothing unbearable. After chemo we went to lunch at Panera, yeah, It was a Panera day. When my body craves something, that's all it wants! My sweet friend Alissa, who I'd written about perviously, was staying in the hospital for Chemo that week, so Jake & I hung out for a little bit, which was definitely fun. :) On thursday I went in for fluids, and that drip only took an hour and a half. I went to see Alissa, and her mom taught me how to make these awesome bracelets. I made one that is lime-green(Alissa's ribbon color), violet(My ribbon color), black, and white, which I'm now sporting on my left arm. It was a fun afternoon, and I just love my days with my cancer buddy! That night I started feeling funny, and right before I went to bed I found a rash on my stomach. It was dark red, in the center of my stomach, and right on my ribs. I touched it and felt immediate pain. The pressure felt like I was cracking my ribs.. Not good. I figured since I went in the next day for fluids, that It would be fine to wait, so when i got there I showed my nurses, and they got my doctor out to take a look. I guess I'm allergic to Nuelasta, or something like that. Nuelasta Is a really painful shot I get the day after chemotherapy in the back of my arm to help me recover from the drugs. It makes my whole body ache and It's just a not-so-fun shot. When the doctor came out, he found rashes all over my upper chest, neck, arm, and back. I was feeling really sick at that point, so they gave me a bag of iron, and also some extra fluids. My hair had started falling out the week before, and It was so scary at first. Eventually It got kinda annoying, because there was hair ALL over the apartment.. But by that night, I was past the stage of being annoyed, and on to absolute fear. I don't know how to describe the feeling of your hair falling out constantly, but It's very sad. It fell out in the shower, on my pillow, in my brush, etc. Though people say, Oh, It's just hair, when you're the person losing it, that is not the case. It's a form of identity, security, and just something you've had your entire life. That night I went home feeling the same as when I got there, and started getting a weird numbing in my hands and feet. That actually hasn't gone away, apparently It's normal for the chemo I'm being treated with. If I keep my legs crossed for more than 60 seconds, my feet and part of my legs are totally numb for about five minutes. My fingers randomly go numb, and they are actually numbing a lot today, so I keep taking breaks from writing every few minutes. On Saturday my mom came over, and that was just really fun, like always! We went to my grandparents house, saw their awesome RV they just got, and talked for a little bit.. I was having a rough day dizzy-wise, so we couldn't stay outside very long. When It's close to chemo, I can't really be outside much, because the heat makes me extremely dizzy and short of breath. My mom took me home, and I ate the yummy chicken divan she made us! Ah, It's just so delicious and my favorite!! Thank you Mama. :) Jake got home pretty late, and we were supposed to shave off my hair, but I just couldn't do it. The next morning I woke up to hair all over my pillow, and when I ran my hands through my hair, It fell out in huge chunks. I called my husband, and told him I might have to do It myself before he got home. He encouraged me to do whatever I felt needed to be done, and was so loving and kind. I was alone, and knew that was how It needed to be. I put a chair in the kitchen, got out the raiser we had bought only days before, and just stared at it. I paced back and forth not knowing If i was brave enough or not. I prayed, put on Switchfoot(My comfort music), and played "dare you to move." Look up those lyrics, the chorus broke me down. I sat down, and stared at the raiser like It was the enemy.. Maybe It felt like it was in that moment. The second the chorus started I lost it. I started crying to the point of choking, and just did it. I shaved off the first piece as fast as I could, so that there was no turning back. I took about 5 pictures throughout the process for myself, to remember how I felt and to bring me back to that moment. I want to someday see those pictures and feel an overwhelming amount of thankfulness, and just know that I'm not there anymore. Funny enough, the microwave was my mirror for this event, haha. About 2 hours later, It was all gone. My hair was all on the floor and I couldn't look in the mirror. I text Alissa telling her what I did, and she immediately called me, and that brought so much comfort. She sent a picture of her shaved head, and I felt so thankful for her in that moment. I finally looked in the mirror, but tried not to, because I would just cry and cry. It was done.. No more staring at hair in my hands as it fell out so very painfully. Like I said previously, It's just hair, but when you're a cancer patient, and you have no control over your body whatsoever, your hair is the one thing you can have fun with. Once you have a fear of losing that, It breaks a little piece of you. I feel like in these blogs I 100% put my feelings and emotions on the line, and that's definitely out of my comfort zone, but I know It's what I need to do, and I'm MORE than happy to do it! I'm absolutely positive that God is teaching me a million and one things these days. God held my hand through it all, and I was just so in awe of his presence! It was okay to cry, okay to hurt, but I had to wipe off my hands, and get back up. I'm in it to win it! :) One thing God has truly taught me is that there is a time for sadness, and a time to rejoice. Every once in a while my heart aches for hair, haha. That sounds crazy, but imagine just going home and shaving off your hair. You're now Queen or king peach fuzz! Haha, though I joke around about my peach fuzz, there are still days that I cry over it. I pray, thank God for my peach fuzz, thank him that I'm BREATHING, and then get up and try again. Though God has made me strong through all of this because He is just incredible, I do still have those rough experiences when I go out in public. I always wear a hat or bandana, and People just bluntly stare. Yesterday a kid in publix about my age was standing next to me in line, and he turned his body completely towards me, and just STARED. I really wanted to turn to him and be like, dude, what is your problem?! But I refrained and just kept my thoughts to myself. About a week ago a car full of 5 younger guys drove by, and I wasn't wearing a hat or anything, and they just laughed. The driver slowed the car down so they could all sit in their car, with their heads full of hair, and laugh very loudly at me and look at me like I'm a freak. I lost very little tears over that event, but I'm human and those things really do hurt. I've truly learned that God is who all of this is for. I don't get up every day and fight my disease because the world tells me to. I don't do it because my hair will grow back when I'm all done, and I definitely don't wake up in the morning wondering how to please my mockers. I fight this disease for God. He began this work in me for a reason, and I refuse to quit when he has blessed me so greatly.. How selfish and stupid would I become If I just grew angry, depressed, and began to resent God? Some people think I'm this incredible person for relying on God, but I'm really not. I'd be absolutely nuts to hang my head and be angry with him, when He has given me this blessing so that I can help others who do, or don't yet know Christ! God would never give me something I can't handle, and I definitely like a challenge, especially when It's from the creator of not only me, but this beautiful world! He has my back. :)

I'm going to blog in 2 entries, because If I don't, It will be one LONG butt entry! ;)