“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: ‘limb.’ Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!” – Lind G. Hill
I started the first cycle of treatment on January 7, 2009 as scheduled. During my hospital stay, I wasn’t able to take a shower. As soon as I got home on Sunday after discharged, the first thing I wanted to do was to take a shower. I had no memory of how it happened, but my husband said I was so weak that I crawled to the bathroom to take a shower. The next day, I wanted to give the update to my family. These are a couple emails I sent to them during my resting weeks.
January 12, 2009
Dear family and friends,
I came home last night. I should have been discharged at 11:00 a.m. but my potassium, magnesium and electrolytes were low, so I was put on IV for 17 hours to replenish those elements before I was discharged.
During the hospital stay, every minute was like forever. Eventually the medication worked into my body, so did the side effects. One medication burned my skin to red and purple, swollen, and dry. I looked like a red balloon. It will take 10 day for the color to get lighter. I had chills every day. The shaking could only be stopped by injection of medication. The vomiting and diarrhea happened every day also, so I just stopped eating. With all the fluid going in from IV, I weighed 15 pounds more at discharge than at admission.
Today, Monday, January 12, I went to my first IV hydration in the doctor’s office – to flush out the toxicity, plus getting more mediation. A home nurse will come the next three day to do the same thing. The same routine will be done for next two Mondays at the doctor’s office. Each IV hydration last for 2 1/2 hour.
Today I felt there’s a hole in my stomach asking for food, so I ate. Again, there it went through vomiting, nothing stayed in the stomach. So far my energy level is about 20 percent.
Thank you for your prayer and support.
I love you, Mom (Miriam)
January 23, 2009
Dear Family and friends,
I want to thank Jolyn for coordinating all the rides to and fro the doctor’s office and scheduling for people to bring us meals. It reduced a lot of anxiety on Lynton because he traded his internship days, so that he could take me to the doctor’s office 3 times every cycle – those are early appointments and have to leave at 6:30am.
Also thank you for all cards with the encouraging words. I feel like I’m resting peacefully on a soft but strong bed of prayer support, with no struggle, no reasoning, no anxiety, no anticipation, no worry, no “plan’” except hope; great hope to get well. I have no questions for God, except a grateful heart.
Thank you for being in my life. Your prayers will carry me through to the end. The doctor wanted me to eat as much as possible to get fattened up for the next treatment. The medication zapped out almost everything of my life. My white blood count was so low that I had to put some gel in my nostrils twice a day; so that I wouldn’t catch any germs, because my body had no ability to fight off any bacteria.
I love you all, Mom (Miriam)
The pre-admission meeting was held at the Melanoma doctor’s office which was a Research Institute. During the meeting, the treatment plan was reviewed. The medication was a cocktail drug of a mixture of five chemo drugs. Each drug had serious side effects and possible liver damage. I had to sign an agreement for the treatment and be responsible of any results – good or bad. Not all the melanoma was treated with such aggressive drugs. This treatment plan was the Institute’s fifteen-year experiment. I went at their fifteenth year of experiment. The Melanoma doctor explained that it required aggressive drugs to treat aggressive and invasive cancer.
The doctor proposed a six-cycle treatment: one week on, three weeks off as one cycle. I would be an in-patient in the hospital for five days, then go home for three week to rest and regain my energy to prepare for the next cycle. Thus it was a six-month full time treatment program.
The surgeon was there at the meeting. He saw my hesitation when I heard that it was six-month full time. He said it was worth to take six months off of my life to take care of it. After a quick assessment in my head, I decided to go with the plan.
The first thing came to my mind was our finance. Year 2008 was the year that great recession hit businesses and housing market. My husband had his business for seventeen years at that time. It was hit badly. I recommended that he went back to school to reinvent himself. He did go during the 2008-2009 school year to study for the CT and MRI licenses. My income was the only income during that year.
After talking with some colleagues, I knew I would get 50% pay for 100 days under the Union contract. With that information, I went to the Human Resources’ office to submit a request for six-month sick leave. The administrative assistant asked if I was a member of the Disaster Leave Bank. I said, “No, I’m not aware of such a program.” She explained that if I donated one sick leave day to the Bank, I would become a member. As a member, I could withdraw 20 days at a time up to 100 days with 50% pay.
I was at awe when I found out that information. With both the Union and Disaster Leave Bank, I could get pay 100% for 100 working days. I had some personal sick leave days to be used. All together would allow me to get pay for six months during my treatment.
“When Gratitude becomes an essential foundation in our lives, Miracles start to appear everywhere.” See the Gratitude quote above.
To be continued……