Highlights from the past week and a half:
–spent three days after treatment doing a whole lot of nothing, but managed to avoid landing back in the hospital. For these small victories, we are thankful.
–hired a part-time nanny to take over in the mornings so Chris can get out the door, to give the boys some stability in the daily routines, and help keep regular household tasks under control while I am cycling through times of resting flat, having a little energy, being out of the house for three days in a row of appointments each week, and, sometimes, even feeling mostly normal. Oh yeah, and a newborn.
–Speaking of a newborn…we found out last Monday that Baby Day is officially set for November 19th, the Monday of Thanksgiving week. Assuming I don’t go into labor naturally before then (which I kind of assume but don’t consider guaranteed), I will go for an induction on the 19th at 39 weeks pregnant. Not only was the delay a relief (as in, we are not having a baby THIS WEEK), but obviously the baby’s health and my chances of a successful induction have much better odds the later we go. So that was good news.
Round 2 of chemo went better, overall, than the first round. I knew what to expect, in general, and I was much more careful to stay in bed and keep hydrating. I stayed in bed all day Saturday, then spent Sunday sitting on various couches and getting up more for “little things”, and then…Monday was back to flat in bed most of the day. Next time I really will stay in bed for the weekend and hope that Monday is a better day. Note to self: just because I can at this moment doesn’t mean I really should in the grander scheme of recovery from a treatment.
All of this recovering essentially meant that somebody else had to be me during that time. For this round it was Chris’s mom, and next time it will be my mom again. Looking at all of this in the light of five more months, and adding a newborn into the mix (funny how that slips my mind sometimes!), along with some gentle and some direct sharing of thoughts by concerned parties 😉 convinced us to take the step of hiring a part-time nanny for the coming months. While I am in my flat-appointments-some energy cycles, and despite the generosity of many friends who have offered to take the boys when needed, we need stability more than ever, and if it’s not coming from me doing my usual routine, then having the same person care for the boys in our home is the next step away from that. Our families have been fantastic with physical support, but they can’t be here all the time, and even when they are here, they get tired too!
I could say I have mixed feelings about taking this step, but really, that’s not quite accurate. I am relieved that we did it, relieved to think about the load that it takes off of my husband and the relative normalcy it will give to our household. I am, by turns, irritated, upset, angry, and/or forlorn that it was a step we needed to take. I feel the same way about many of the things I have faced or will be facing in all of this: getting a PICC line and living with it, the endless round of appointments, chemotherapy, cutting my hair, near-guaranteed induction, not nursing this baby as a newborn, all of the follow-ups for years after treatment is over, all of the potential side effects of lifesaving chemotherapy which ironically include other cancers in addition to heart damage and early menopause. I don’t want any of it! But I want to live, and I want relative sanity and health for my family in the process, so I have no choice. Okay, I could have not cut my hair. Since it seems like it might be starting to come out, though, I am just finding the best way, for me, to deal with inevitable reality. Bit of a theme.
Moving on. Just under four weeks to Baby Day, and we are in many ways ready. Our room is rearranged to hold the crib again, our smallest baby clothes are washed and put away, registries are complete, we have a carseat, and Grandma is scheduled to fly out to hold down the fort for the big week. Diapers and formula are a Target run away. All I need to do is to, uh, not go into labor in the week after treatment. And then, give birth. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, as certain little boys I know would say. 😉
In the meantime I am enjoying the last days of having this baby inside. As perilous a journey as it has been for this little one, s/he has thrived in what could be considered a hostile environment. Baby has been protected by the hand of the Healer, and I am thankful. I am focusing on enjoying all of the movements (yes, even the “oof!” ones) and just knowing this little person is a part of me. I may not contain multitudes, but I contain one living, moving, amazing human being, body and soul. It’s not an experience I am anxious to have ended.
So, tomorrow I go in for Round 3. I feel like I have a bit of a handle on it now. I will rest and hydrate and be thankful for the helping hands who care for my children and bring meals and groceries. My husband will bless me by bringing Communion to me, as well as water and food and love and comfort and wisdom. The blessings and thankfulness will salve the helplessness of doing the nothing that I must do to weather this successfully. And then I will recover a bit, live another two weeks of my life, and do it again.