I made it to my "Day 10" mark where my counts are lowest and I'm most susceptible. We got through that weekend without a fever and only a little fatigue. I even went out with my girlfriends for dinner. I must say, looking back - either I tolerated the drugs really well - or they weren't really that bad - because overall it wasn't nearly what I expected. I'm happy that it didn't seem that bad - I'm sure it could have been a lot worse. It felt like I was in a holding pattern. For 12 weeks - my life was on pause ... waiting until I felt better was the main activity which was nothing more than watching movies, sleeping and experimenting with food to see what tasted good and when. Now that I'm starting to feel better and regain my energy - I'm growing more and more impatient waiting for the side effects to fully subside. Because I know I don't have to do it again ... well - I'm assuming I won't have to - at the very least - for a really, really long time - I'm ready to start feeling like myself again, fully.
But, as I near the end of the side effects from the last treatment, I can't help but wonder if 4 was too much. Should I have stopped at 3? Did we push it too far? Was it too damaging undergoing 4 treatments, when 3 might have been sufficient? I wonder because my cycle stopped. I'm told that it should start again in a few weeks -- but that's what making me wonder. Things were fine up through infusion number 3. Infusion number 4 seemed to throw everything out of whack. Did I cross a line? Can still have kids? ....And more importantly - will they be well?
We're a few weeks out from my exchange surgery. That's adding to my impatience. I have a date on the calendar and I know it's right around the corner ... and the expansion appointments are only one or two more until we're finished. I'm just ready to have my body back - to be as much of me as I can be, again. I'm told the exchange surgery won't be nearly as physically challenging as the initial surgery. I really hope that's true. The expansions are beginning to hurt now -- for a couple days after the appointment I have tight, sharp pains -- and I can't sleep very well. But we're up to 500 now, and I'll most likely stay there. We'll expand up to 550 so there's a little extra room - but I'm pretty sure the implants will be at 500. Ask me in a week when I'm not having any pain from the expansion and I might have a different answer, but right now - I feel finished. I'm tired of hurting.
We leave in the morning for Boston - we're taking a trip to see the Patriots play the Colts. I'm excited. It's something non-medical related, and I'm feeling up for going -- up for something normal. I had to ask the doctor if I was going to set off the metal detector though ... It's a legitimate question. The expanders have stainless steel ports on them that help guide a little magnet that tells them where to stick me. How do you explain that to TSA? And -- my port-a-cath is still in, and that has a metal back to it too. They said that I shouldn't set anything off though. That's good. But with this new, more touchy-feely pat down procedure they've implemented -- I'm fully expecting to be questioned. The expanders are hard. They don't feel normal by any means. And - what would they see if I have to do a fully body scan?
Ugh - "safely violated" by TSA. Yay.
I'm also apprehensive about being asked to take off my beanie as I go through security. I only walk around like that at home -- inside our home. If I go out into the backyard, I grab a hat. The though of being forced to bare all in the middle of airport security -- makes me feel vulnerable -- open for all to stare at. I know when I'm standing in that zig zagging, switchback of a security line I'm people watching as everyone strips down by the conveyor belt. Why wouldn't they look at me - there's not much else better to do while you're waiting your turn. At the very least - I hope they'll let me pull up my hood -- that is, if they don't make me strip down to my tank top.
But - we're getting there. Things are wrapping up and drawing to a close. And - for that -- I'm truly Thankful.