“Yesterday is History, Tomorrow’s a Mystery and Today’s an Opportunity.”

January 31, 2014
     

Continuing with my treatments, thoughts and anything in between – We are now on Day 14 (1/21/14) of treatment. Day 14 was not as hard as Day 13’s treatment.  The day went by pretty smoothly.  That day, I did notice something different this time when I went in. There was a young man that actually looked younger than me, getting treatment.  The only way I knew he was younger than me was because I had overheard the conversation he was having with the nurses about school work and other school related things. I wanted to approach him after he talked with the nurses, but both he and his mother quickly put on headphones like they did not want to be bothered, so I left them alone. I was definitely intrigued to see someone around my age getting treatment.  After treatment, I went straight to work to get caught up and try to get as much done, for the following week I would begin my third “on week.” Another Monday – Friday, 5- 8 p.m.

After Day 14, the treatment had taken a toll on me throughout the week. I definitely had overdone it a bit at work by putting in 8-10+ hour days. I know I had done this to myself. I am not the kind of person to shy away from pushing myself; this can be a good and a bad thing. I can’t help but try and get ahead as much as possible at work since it had picked up a bit after the holidays. So by the end of the week (Thursday & Friday), I would just come home and go straight to bed. This was not good for it messed with my body clock and kept me from having the normalcy I wanted in my life. However, I was still able to wake up and attend a few social activities such as friends’ birthdays, parties, sporting events, etc. but my energy levels were significantly lower than normal. The rest of the weekend, I limited my activities and rested more than I would have normally. I was officially 66% of the way done with chemo treatment after that week. The next week would be my third and final (knock-on-wood) “on week” treatment.

My last “on week”

Heading into this week, I was pretty confident that I would be able to tackle it just like I had done before.  However, the turnout for this week was completely different, not what I expected. I definitely underestimated the fatigue on my body from the chemo. Despite my efforts or beliefs that I was fine, my body has steadily been getting weaker and weaker.

I definitely have a bit more fun when I come to the Uptown location over the Pineville location. The nurses and staff have become a little family to me. Every day, I bring snacks and other food to layout on my window sill so that anyone who happens to pass by can have some. The word about my snacks has spread because I have been able to meet a handful of new faces.  I am very open to anything that will keep my energy levels up during treatment, so meeting new people throughout the day definitely helps!

Monday – Day 15

Treatment Day 15

Treatment Day 15

Moving on to Monday – It was a good feeling to know that I would tackle my last full “on week.” Everything was going good just like it had before. As treatment went on, I noticed that I had become extremely tired and my fatigue took over. Despite my efforts to stay alert and awake, I ended up passing out a couple times during treatment, something I try to avoid for falling asleep while getting treatment really effects how I feel throughout the rest of the day. It’s the feeling you get when you take a mid-day nap and how it would affect your day and sleep schedule.  All in all, the day wrapped up a bit quicker than normal due to the nurses running some of my fluids together. I was able to get out and get home soon, for my mom had arrived from out of town so that she could be with me for the reminder of the week.  The rest of the night was the same as usual; I had a nice meal before crashing.

Tuesday – Day 16

Treatment Day 16

Treatment Day 16

Tuesday I was prepared for a long day for I would receive three bags of chemo instead of two. The day went by smoothly and it was nice to have my mom around. I had not seen her since the first week of chemo treatment.  Even though the day went well, I noticed how my body kept pushing me to sleep a lot more. It was more than I could remember from previous treatments. The longer I go through chemo, the harder it has become. It’s because I’m someone who is competitive and active so it is extremely hard to stop and listen to my body instead of fight through the pain. Also on Tuesday, I had a couple more friends stop by and bring me some lunch. The hospital has actually stopped serving lunch starting Jan. 1st, 2014, so now I have to pack or get food elsewhere. The treatment ended well that day and went home. Usually when I get home, I am able to move around and do a lot more, but this time I had no energy for anything and just wanted to lie around. I absolutely hate this feeling and I can’t wait for it to go away! At least this is my last full week :-D!

Wednesday – Day 17

Treatment Day 17

Treatment Day 17

Wednesday was a little different because we now had to face an obstacle when getting to the hospital. Since it snowed here in Charlotte, N.C. the night before, the roads were a bit slick. Of course the snow down here is nothing compared to what it was like up North and the roads are totally fine to drive on, but the factor we were worried about was over the other drivers who don’t know how to drive in the snow. With that, we left a little earlier in the morning and made it to the hospital fine. That day, I was supposed to see a large group of coworkers that wanted to stop by, but they ended up canceling their trip due to the weather. However, I still had a few other friends stop by to visit which totally surprised me – Got to love a good surprise. The treatment for that day went by pretty quickly and once again the only issue was fatigue.  At the end of treatment, after arriving home, I once again had limited to no energy and just crashed.  This is very frustrating because it messed up my eating habits, appetite and ability to intake fluids.

Thursday – Day 18

Treatment Day 18

Treatment Day 18

Thursday has had to have been the most tiring day of the week.  I did not want to get out of bed in the morning and I was definitely not looking forward to treatment.  I ended up pushing through and made it to the hospital. This time, I could tell I was out of it and not my typical, upbeat self.  Luckily, when I arrived the staff is always very welcoming and knows how to cheer me up a bit. I have made friends with a lot of the staff and some of them even stop by just to talk about marathon running, traveling and anything else that they know I am interested in.  Thursday flew by and once again I got home and was unable to do pretty much anything but pass out.

 

Friday – Day 19 

Treatment Day 19

Treatment Day 19

Today is the last day for my “on week” – I can’t even explain how happy I am! These long days take a toll on me mentally and physically, I cannot wait to get back to normal.  The day has started out perfect. So far, my mom and I ended up getting the nurses and staff a bunch of doughnuts to thank them for everything. I also have a friend visiting – She happens to be the one who proofreads all of my posts! So during treatment today, I am going to take my fluids in a little slower, this is so that we can see if this will help with my tiredness and allow me to have more energy later today. The nurses normally run multiple lines of fluid to speed up the process and I have been able to handle it. However, this time around, I have mentioned that my body has become significantly weaker. So throughout this week, my body has had a different reaction to that kind of treatment. My body is not able to handle all that extra work that it was used to. We will see how the rest of today goes, but so far so good.

Summary

Photo Jan 31, 3 30 11 PM

Everything so far has gone a million times better than I could have expected coming into this. It truly amazes me how much my body has been affected by chemo. I don’t realize the change until I have to return back to the center for my “on week” treatment. After Friday, I will have only two more treatments left (spread out two weeks). The next step is to wait 4-6 weeks so that I can get re-tested. By then, I will find out if I will go into remission or have to set-up more treatments accordingly. Another thing I am looking forward to is my hair growing back. It should begin to grow back by the end of February/beginning of March – So we will see what that will look like soon enough!

My next post will be about my last “off week” treatments, dealing with the insurance company and showing everyone what chemo costs. As of now, prior to insurance, it is looking like the total cost for surgeries, doctor’s visits and chemo treatments will be around $80,000. Once I get insurance stuff settled, I am guessing it is going to be around $10,000, if not less. I will definitely do my best to keep this updated, for it is getting harder due to work and the whole tiredness really kicking in.

Once again, I want to say thanks for all of the support. If you want to find out about my schedule or how to support me please visit my “Support Me” tab.


  • Holly Cheung

    You are so inspiring! Keep up the great work!

    Holly

  • Bruce Wise

    Hi Stephen, I’m still following you and your story. I know you’ve got to be excited to be nearing the end of the chemo treatments. Best to you as you continue your fight. And again, thanks so much for doing this blog. It has made things so much clearer to me (regarding my son’s similar journey).

  • Brenda B Parker

    Cried again today as I read about your last week of chemo. So proud of your strength and determination to face this situation with a positive attitude & blog about it so that your journey may help others. Glad the worst of this is over and praying your scans and retests will show remission and no need for further treatments. God bless you. I will continue to ask God to provide encouragement & healing. Love ya!