Nails: I’m going with Halloween couture as their new color name. There are now close to three pinky-purple stripes stretching across some of them. Naomi, the other day, asked me why I painted them white. For style, sweet little girl, I said. Actually that’s not what I said. But my original answer was so much more boring.
Friday Feb. 11, 2011: It’s been 3 weeks since my last chemo treatment. Normally I would have gone in for another dose on Friday. I’m so glad for the break until the baby is born. Instead of a pre-chemo date night with the kids at the grandparents, we’re all sleeping in one bed. Or I should say everyone else sleeps. I feel like nights are my personal torture time. I keep staying up late, thinking that will help me sleep (and old habits die hard). It doesn’t. I wake at 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am, 7am. I wake at 8:30am, finally getting more than 45 minutes of sleep at a time. Every morning Steve tries to let me sleep till the last possible moment before he has to go to work. Thank goodness he can do some of that work from home.
Normally, I get to skip this part of pregnancy till the last month – the part where I wake every hour because my hips and leg joints hurt so bad that it wakes me until I struggle to turn my huge belly to my other side. The chemo made it start early this time. It’s been going on for weeks already but I’m so tired I can’t really remember how long.
I stagger downstairs as Naomi is getting ready to go to preschool. Her grandpa is taking her. Then he’ll come back and get Henry until Naomi comes home.
After they leave, I sit with Henry on the couch and tears just start dripping down my cheeks. I’m so frustrated. I thought I would be feeling better from that last dose by now. I’m so tired. I feel like I’m missing Naomi’s last year with me before school. I wanted to have more one-on-one time with Henry before the baby came. When is this going to end? I shout in my head. There have been some beautiful things I’ve seen and received during this illness that make me so grateful. But today, right now, I hate cancer.
Henry looks at me and says, “Mama, you sad?”
“Why?” he asks.
“I’m tired of being tired.”
“You do stamps with me. That make you happy,” Henry says with his uncanny ability to speak at two-and-a-half. We go to pull out his dinosaur stamp set. I can’t believe he remembers. That is what we did last time I had one of these melt-downs. I kept telling him then how happy it made me to play with him. It makes me smile.
Henry leaves soon afterward with Pops, and I take a short nap. Later on, Michele comes to help me clean. I get up to help put things away. Someone recently told me cleaning with young kids is like shoveling snow during a snowstorm. So true. But it’s nice to see things somewhat back in their place, at least for a few minutes. In an hour, the house is looking much better. Wow, I’m thinking, I am feeling better. Then about another hour later I realize I’m wiped out again.
That night it’s the same waking routine. I get up around 9 am Saturday morning. Tiffany and Wendy are coming to help me paint Henry’s new big boy room. Actually, they paint the entire thing while I scoot a step-stool around to sit on and help paint some green stripes. I thought I’d be able to help more. But my breathing issues kicked in that morning. I can only stand for a couple minutes before I get out of breath and start to feel light-headed, though I do a little better in the afternoon.
On Sunday, by some miracle, I sleep for a couple hours in the morning. We miss church. But it helps so much. The kids help us pull down the tape in Henry’s room. They hit the baseboard tape. I push the step-stool around again and pull off the stripes. Steve hits the ceiling tape. The room looks beautiful.
On Monday, I see the OB-Gyn. I see her write in her notes that the patient feels fine except for fatigue. Fine is a little bit of an overstatement, I think. But I don’t bother to correct her. Maybe I shouldn’t have smiled so much while talking to her. Whatever, I don’t care. She’s not going to tell me anything different if I had said something, I figure. As long as my lips and nails aren’t turning blue from my shortness of breath, I’m considered to be tolerating the chemo well. Go me.
I think about the people that don’t “tolerate” it well and wonder what that must mean. I feel grateful.
More importantly, this conversation helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll get some steroid shots next week to help Kilean’s/Kilian’s (haven’t decided on a spelling yet) lungs develop faster. Then I’ll meet with her on Feb. 28, to pick a date to be induced. Right now, if it’s up to me, that date will be the next day, March 1, about 5 weeks early. Sorry Kilean. I’m holding out as long as I can. I’m hoping this treatment will be easier on me when I’m not pregnant any more.