Minty Fresh

Big day! I brushed my teeth with grownup minty toothpaste today. My teeth feel so clean. This is a game changer. Constant nausea and crazy amounts of fatigue seem to be the biggest side effects so far, which suck, BUT mouth sores and gum sensitivity are not side effects which. is. awesome. I've been using children's "rainbow flavored" toothpaste for the last 3 months. Does anyone know what a rainbow tastes like? I do! They taste like your teeth might fall out. 

I had an epiphany regarding why so many women are better at handling this than I am. It's because they've carried children. That is a toughness I will never know. All you ladies who have functioned through morning sickness, I salute you. I am in awe of you. I'm proud to call you my sisters. 

I got nosebleed during the infusion. Good times. Check out my freckles!

I got nosebleed during the infusion. Good times. Check out my freckles!

Anyway, Yeah, I started the new drug. The first few days were pretty rough. I'm waiting to see what else it brings. Here's a picture of me getting chemo (in case you were dying to see what it looks like.) 

My mom stayed with us until Wednesday to take care of me. She made me tea and toast and homemade vegetable soup. (My sisters sent up care packages with bone broth, mashed sweet potatoes, and cauliflower soup {and bandannas, and coloring books!}, so I've had lots of easy things to eat.) She came with me to a couple of follow up doctor appointments. You know how there are only a few people in the world you can stand to be around for long periods of time? My mom is one of those people for me. She's the best.

There have been some residual side effects from the last cycle of chemo that should be faded soon. I'm looking forward to that. The neuropathy (numbness/pain/nerve damage to my hands and fingertips) was starting to get bad, but supposedly is over now and since it didn't get too far, it should (might?) heal. My fingertips permanently look like they've been in the water too long and skin on my  hands burn in warm water or when I try to open things like bottles or those flat, black plastic take out cartons- those are murder- anything that requires a grip. My nails have started to separate from my nail beds a little. That's pretty painful but I filed my nails really low so they don't get thumped as much. I'm not sure if that's from the neuropathy or a different side effect. Nurse Nicole told me it should stop happening now on the new drug and has me soaking my fingertips daily in a vinegar solution to make sure they don't get fungus (super sexy and my hands smell delicious!) Typing doesn't hurt as much anymore so it's definitely fading. Makes for much easier blogging. (Hi! I missed you!) Oh and this amazing lady at the drug store helped me find this moisturizing cream called Excipial for my feet. The dryness side effect, which will not wear off yet, got so bad my heels started cracking and bleeding. I went to a podiatrist and he prescribed a 20% urea moisturizer, which I did not know does not require a prescription. I was near desperate at that point- having walked to the drug store on my bleeding, cracked heels to get the cream only to find out they didn't have it. The woman at the counter saw my face and left her post to help me find a replacement. Excipial rocks and I was feeling better within 2 days of using it. I love her and I think I'm going to buy her a thank you cactus. On the subject of dryness, if anyone knows of a natural/organic super-hydrating face moisturizer please pass it on. Pre- cancer my skin was so sensitive that I used a homemade blend of organic jojoba oil, carrot seed oil, and a few essential oils, but that's not cutting it anymore. The other side effect I can't wait to kick is the skin discoloration. My face is covered in freckles (previously, these guys only come out when I'm in the sun without sunblock) and there's discoloration around my chin and mouth. With that, the dry skin, and this new funky peach fuzz my head is desperately trying to grow (you can do it, buddy!), I'm starting to resemble Gollum. 

I mentioned in my last post I was starting to feel a little down. I think I hit a low spot when I had to miss my niece's 6th birthday party. I really wanted to be there, but after talking to my family we all decided it was best if I didn't make the trip. I would have had to drive 2.5 hours (if I was lucky and didn't hit traffic) each way alone. And, I would have been around kids who just spent the day at a trampoline park with hundreds of other kids, which is basically a germ factory. So I stayed in NYC, a very safe distance from colds and flus and that nasty stomach virus I keep hearing about. I know it was the right choice, but I was really bummed. I'd had a somewhat "normal" week, where I went into work twice and spent some time with some friends on Saturday. Two of my old friends came to visit and meet David finally. They brought lots of snacks and we spent hours catching up. It was so nice to feel almost not sick. Missing her party the next day was just a bad reminder that things are not okay and it really brought me down. I did get to Facetime with her though. We talked at the end of the night after everyone went home while she was getting ready for bed. She had a great day and to be honest, didn't even miss me and totally understood why I couldn't come so that made me feel better. I got to say her bedtime prayers with her too. Since she found out, every night she closes her eyes and shoots lasers at my cancer. When she runs out of ammo, she reloads and shoots again. My sister said the night she told her about me, she overheard her praying, "Dear God, Please help Aunt Faith be strong and beat cancer and please make her not need chemo. But if she does need chemo, please just let her be like, 'Okay, I'll do it!'" I may have mentioned this before but her father was diagnosed last year and is already in remission, so she had a good understanding of what was happening. When her dad's tests came back clear, she said the reason he's better is because she prayed A LOT. And when she found out about mine, her response was something like, "...well we prayed for Daddy's and his went away, so we'll just pray for Aunt Faith and hers will go away too." I love that kid. Do you see why I was so upset about missing her birthday? She's something special.

So I'm pulling it together. I spent some time out on my terrace today and got some real sun. It's so gorgeous out. I even put on shoes. But I think it's time for a nap now. All this typing is enough excitement for one day.