First of all, I have some great news to share! Today marks HALFWAY through my first chemo treatment!!! YES! Now, I know that I mentioned my chemo "cycles," which will be about a month each...since today marks a week since my diagnosis and admittance into the hospital, obviously I'm not halfway done with a whole cycle yet. I'm just halfway done with the crappiest part of a cycle! ;) This "cycle" includes 10 days of the actual chemo, and then about two and a half more weeks after the chemo of resting until all of those good cells come back to the right amounts I'm supposed to have in my body. Today marks 5 days of chemo, so just 5 more to go! Chemo makes me feel really tired and sometimes gives me nausea, headaches, or dizziness. Luckily the hospital has GREAT anti-nausea meds so when I feel really sick, I am usually able to get something to help me sleep through it and feel better when I wake up.
Although I'm tolerating it pretty well, the worst thing about the chemo is how it effects my appetite. When I was trying to explain to my Dad how my body feels about food, the best description I had was "You could put a slice of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake in front of me and I wouldn't want to eat it." Food has become something that I have to force myself to eat so that I have enough energy and nutrition...but as the days have gone on, it gets harder and harder to eat. It's really tough to have the pleasure of even the yummiest foods taken away for a little bit. Thankfully though, the hospital has LOTS of meal-replacement drinks that I can have along with whatever food I feel like I can get down, and I saw a dietitian today to discuss how I can maintain my nutrition and weight in my food struggles. I had kind of a realization today: so many women fantasize about being able to lose weight, and some even go to desperate measures to do so. But then, here's me, being disappointed about losing weight and wanting to put it back on as soon as I can!! I genuinely love my body and really want my figure to stay as it is for as long as I can maintain it. I think I have really taken for granted not only food itself and having the appetite to eat healthy and nutritious foods, but being able to maintain a healthy weight that makes me feel good about myself. However, all of this being said, I have heard that after the actual chemo is done (5 more days!!), my appetite should go back to normal and those two and a half weeks will be a perfect time to get all my favorite foods back into my tummy. :) My Mom told me a few days ago that one of her wonderful friends is fasting for me, and even though I don't think my Mom had told her about my food struggles, I cried when my Mom told me. In addition to the spiritual aspect, it felt so cool to know that someone else was giving up the pleasure of food for a day like I am while I get my chemo. Obviously I am willing to do whatever it takes to fight!!!
Now for a little bit of bad news. I believe I had explained that my type of leukemia is AML, but that I didn't yet know whether I was high or low risk. The GOOD news is that after looking at all of the genetic info in my bone marrow, the doctors learned that I do NOT have the flt 3 gene (I believe it's called), which would make me very high risk and would make this a much harder fight. However, the unfortunate news I have to share is that my chromosomes do show that I am high risk, which means that I will need a bone marrow transplant after 3 cycles of chemo. Thankfully, after sharing this news with me, my doctor right away said "Don't worry...YOU WILL BE CURED!" He had no doubt that I would be able to find a donor, and while this will add a few months onto my treatment, my doctor assured me that I will be in remission and totally cancer-free after my transplant! I am not sure doctors are technically able to promise things like that, but he definitely came as close to a promise as he's allowed to. So, after my 3 months of chemo, it will be about 4-5 months total filled with preparing for the transplant, the actual transplant, and my recovery. Even though it's a little longer than I had been crossing my fingers for, I am completely up for this battle, no matter how long it will be. I am strong, I am tough, and I have faith that God has HUGE plans for my future...I'm not stopping here! Again, this is just a detour I have to get through in life, and while it's not going to be an easy journey, I am more than ready to give everything I have to make myself well again!
For some brighter news again, tomorrow I will update you on some of the happy stuff that I've been up to with the volunteers here on the peds floor, including pictures of getting some awesome henna and....get this....a visit with PET THERAPY PUPPIES!!! :D They do a great job of making sure we don't get too bored here. Who could possibly be unhappy around the best animals known to man?! ;)
I love you all and thank you thank you thank you for the thoughts and prayers!!! I am fighting HARD and I promise not to stop until this cancer is 100% GONE! :)