Putting the pieces together

A wise person (it was a character in Adventures in Odyssey) once said: “Some days you get your soul puréed and served to you in a melancholy milkshake.”

This has been a week of those days.

Good news first: I had my test, and I would like to here acknowledge my nurse. She did it all in under a minute, I had zero bruising, and I didn’t even have to ask her to use the hypoallergenic wrap to hold the gauze. She was kind and amazing at her job and I thank God that I got to meet her. It seems like a little thing, but I am counting my blessings (instead of sheep) and since my cancer is an overabundance of platelets, I know how important little things are. Happily, this time the platelets actually went down a little, about 60,000 per microliter. This means NO CHEMO YET! Blessing, consider yourself counted.

It’s been a weird journey of “you’ll start chemo next month! Just kidding, in a few more months…Just kidding, we have no idea when you’re going to start.” I feel like I’m waiting for a giant wave to sort of break over me and potentially carry me out to sea. I know it’s coming, but I can’t tell how far away it is or how bad it will be. My doctor told me that most people don’t experience many side effects from the chemo pill I will start whenever that happens. However, I am dubious because one headache medicine made me sleep for 18 hours a day for a week, and I recited “Eärendil was a Mariner” around a mouthful of gauze when I woke up after my wisdom teeth surgery, so obviously I don’t react to medication like most people.

Here’s the other reason I’m dubious: that’s exactly what my regular doctor told me last Monday when she started me on a new medication. Let me tell you, that did not pan out so well for me. I was pretty sick all week, but I feel sick roughly 99% of the time. Three different people suggested “side effects?” but I kept saying, “No, the doctor said I wouldn’t have any because it’s super mild and people don’t.” I actually had a horrible episode of my old friend Neurocardiogenic Syncope in church on Sunday (my blood pressure and heart rate drop until I lie down or pass out. I did not actually lose consciousness–another blessing–because I cast pride to the four winds and sprawled out on the floor), probably the worst I’ve had since I’ve been taking medication for it.

But then on Tuesday, after a week on the darn thing, I felt so rubbish that I knew it had to be something more than usual migraine/cancer related sick feeling. So I looked it up, and lo and behold there were all of my symptoms. The nurse indicated distinct disdain for my thought processes when I called to ask about it: “You haven’t stopped taking it?” Okay, RN Sassafrass. I’m sorry it took me a week to differentiate my usual general illness from increasingly bad side effects due to new medication. It’s not unheard of for me to have a combination of those symptoms on any given day. It was having all of them at once that tipped me off.

So now I’m off the medication, but it’s only been two days and it has a cumulative effect, which means that I’m still having side effects. In addition to that mess, my doctor said that there’s nothing else they can do for my headaches. Everything has been tried, evidently. I’ve been expecting this for a while, but it’s still hard to hear.

It’s been such a bad week that I bought myself a puzzle, 1,000 pieces of weirdly shaped cardboard entitled “Serenity.” It’s a photograph of a Florida lake, which is not the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of serenity. To be perfectly honest, the words “Firefly class transport ship” tend to take precedence over a lake that’s doubtless hiding far-from-serene crocodiles and poisonous water snakes and lake weed. Serene or not, doing the puzzle is helping me manage my current intense discouragement. Blessing!

Between the doctor figuratively washing her hands of my headache issue and the whole medication setback, I don’t really know what to do. So I’m binge-reading Agatha Christie novels and putting my puzzle together, praying without ceasing and counting my blessings, however small. I don’t have to start chemo yet, and that’s definitely helping this melancholy milkshake go down a little easier. And when I do start chemo? Well, then it’ll be time for a Puzz3D. There’s one of the Citadel of Minas Tirith.

I think about these verses a lot. Partially because I love that phrase, “Nor the moon by night” but also because I’ve felt really isolated this week, and it’s an encouragement in the midst of discouragement to know that He watches over me day and night, now and forevermore. “The Lord watches over you– the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” -Psalm 121:5-8


2 comments on “Putting the pieces together

  1. kurt bowerman says:

    Thank you, Miss Kelley!

  2. Aunt Lynn says:

    Kelley, you are an amazingly strong and optimistic young lady. Your writing is thoughtful and thought provoking. I’m sure that it is also therapeutic. It has been a blessing to be able to see into your sweet, profound mind and to become better acquainted with you. Thank you for the glimpse and please know that you and your platelets are being lifted up to the Throne of God.

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