After my first infusion, I went back to my doctor for a chemo follow-up. There was no real noticeable difference between my symptoms from before the chemo. My chest pain was the only real concern the doctor had this visit which was really good. He really didn’t have anything else to say except that I would have my next treatment in four days and then we would see how I am doing.
Chemo # 2
That next Tuesday, I went to UNC for my second infusion. The day started off like any other really. My grandparents came to pick me up so they could take me to my infusion. I always have fun with them. They have been so gracious to take me to different appointments and infusions while my parents are at work.
As we were almost to the hospital, the car starts making funny noises. We thought we were going to have one of the tires blow, but fortunately, it was just a piece of plastic stuck to the car. In my life right now, if it’s not one thing it is definitely another. Life is just never dull!
We finally got to Chapel Hill, I got registered and went up to the fourth floor where the infusion/transplant clinic is. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long because I was getting anxious. My nurse was really nice. I brought my pillow because that is always a good idea. We got started, except first we had to find a good vein for my IV. My veins and IVs really don’t go well together. Seriously. But thankfully, this time it didn’t take too long to find a good vein for the IV.
As I sat in the infusion clinic, I looked around at the people in the room with me. You realize that people don’t just come there to have fun or because they choose to. The people are there because they too are hurting from something. It may be cancer, some autoimmune disease, or a nutrient deficiency. Regardless, they are there. My grandpa said something to me as he sat in the waiting room. I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like this: People in here are here for a reason. Most likely it is not a good reason. Everyone looks at each other with understanding eyes and faces. Everyone is looking to see how we respond.
The rest of the time was really uneventful, thankfully! I will say this, once the chemo actually starts, it is really weird. After about thirty minutes, I can feel all my energy just leaving and I honestly feel like my battery was drained. Following the infusion, the rest of the day was okay. I went to a function at my brother’s school and enjoyed the evening. The days that followed were pretty dark.
I didn’t want to do anything. I lost all desire to do my school work. Which is pretty big for me because I love my school work. I lost all desire to get up and do pretty much anything. I wanted to be in my room by myself. I wanted to sleep all day long. I wanted to not talk to anyone really. I didn’t want to go out of the house. One night I just started crying for pretty much no reason. I was getting frustrated with some homework (which actually wasn’t a big deal) and I just started crying. I cried for about thirty minutes.
Now, if you know me, you probably know that I don’t really cry. It takes a lot to make me cry. For me to just start crying for no reason made me upset which in turn made me cry more. I was completely broken. The detours that kept coming my way just seemed like too much. But I have a great friend in Christ who never leaves me. One of my most favorite verses recently has been Psalm 34:18.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
I read this quote by Imam Shafi’i: “Health is a crown the healthy wear on their heads, but only the sick can see it.” I thought this was a really true statement. WE, people everywhere, take for granted things every single day. Most of the time we can take for granted the simplest of things. While our health may seem simple, our bodies are very complex. It is a miracle in and of itself how they work. So, when they stop working properly, we notice. It wasn’t until I started getting sick that I really noticed how important every single part of the body was.
I took science classes in high school and I learned the basics of how the body functions. But until something hits you, you don’t realize how true something can be. For me, that was how every single part of your body affects all the other parts of your body.
The circumstances that we all find ourselves in sometime or another should teach us several things. We need to be grateful every single day for the gift of health. We also need to be grateful for being broken.
This is something that I have learned lately: Brokenness.
When we are broken, God can do great things in our lives if we let Him. When we are broken, we see ourselves who we really are. For me, parts of my body are broken right now. Unfortunately, my medicine let me struggle with some depression and anxiety. I was broken physically but also emotionally.
To grow as a Christian one must be completely broken. Now, I’m not talking about being physically broken, which one can be, but you need to be broken in spirit and attitude in order to grow. Being broken in many ways is the best thing. Now, do I wish for anyone to get sick and go through some awful things? Absolutely not! It is only when we are completely dependent on God for everything in our life that we will truly grow. Dependent for our health, well-being, and life in general.
So, I encourage you to take a look at your life. Take a step back and think about the things that you take for granted and praise the Lord for the blessings in your life because I can guarantee that you will even feel better about whatever is going on in your life whether it be big or small.
Fast forward a couple weeks.
I had another check-up. My doctor was getting concerned because it was appearing that I was not getting better but in fact regressing. Now, while chemo never makes anyone feel great, I should at least be feeling somewhat better. My doctor proceeded to tell me that I have been extremely anemic for the past six months and my numbers are not getting better. This information may explain why I am completely exhausted. My doctor decides to run an iron panel on me. Additionally, my chest pain had been getting worse. While we were talking, the doctor asked me if I knew what I just talked myself into. I said no….. He said I just scheduled myself an appointment with the Cardiologist. He quickly puts in a request for an emergency appointment for the next day. But more on that later…. 🙂