Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mission Accomplish~

I didn’t know that saying goodbye to something that I dread wasn’t as easy as I thought.

Not that I am going to miss chemotherapy, as it isn’t really something anyone would want to look forward and receive it with open arms, but the whole experience of going through it for one and a half years was some wild journey. And it’s has all ended. Having a mix of feelings right now as I am typing this, it seems… unreal in a sense that the chemotherapy has come to an end; that the super long list of chemotherapies that I need to go through for weeks and weeks was completed just like that, and back then I was like looking at my protocol, crossing out each treatment I’ve gone through and wondering: “Man, this is going to take forever… when will it ever end?”

Got home from the hospital 2 days ago and though the homecoming was delayed for two hours because of a total mix up with the insurance company and the hospital--- both relaying wrong information to one another--- I didn’t really bother much. Okay, okay, I lied… even though it was the last day I still got frustrated from waiting and changed my clothes even though I was still feeling quite weak to venture outside my room and to the bill department to see what was taking so long… thought my mom was chit-chatting with her aunts so long to pay her bills, tsk tsk.

Really need to thank God that this time around the treatment was very much bearable, didn’t throw up once and the days seem to pass by rather quickly, except for Monday I guess when I had my Lamba Puncture and needed to stay still for like 5 hours on the bed, and that’s when time moved really slowly, but who loves Mondays anyway. Had 2 chemo’s this time around, a 2 hours daily chemo (Ara-C), and for the first 3 days a 3 hour chemo (didn’t know what it’s called, but apparently it breaks down the DNA of cells or some sort like that, message me if you really want to know). I was rather surprised or terrified as you can say… that the chemo was able to be administered though the period of time was really out of place. I took my first chemo at 6 something in the evening for the first day, but as my mom thought that there may be a chance that I would want to go home on one of the days and also in order that on Friday I wouldn’t need to stay for another day since the chemo will end by midnight, she asked the doctor if it could be made earlier. The doctor said that a time difference between a ‘few’ hours was okay and asked the nurse to plan accordingly. So the next day the chemo started at 3-4 in the evening, which was fine I thought. But on the third day it suddenly started at 11 in the morning and the nurse who put the chemo on me didn’t even spare a single second for my anti-nausea medicine to settle down. Normally they wait around 30 minutes for it but she just put in the chemo straight after that. I would yell if it wasn’t for the fact that this chemo treatment was bearable… and I thought those horrible nurses only appear at night or Saturdays and Sundays. Thank God that nothing terrible happened to me because of that.

Nothing much to mention I guess for the whole five days when I was in the hospital. I spend most of my sunlight moments sleeping, while watching Disney’s series at midnight (like Lizzie McGuire, Even Steven’s, I find it way more interesting compared to the B-grade movies on Star Movies which they normally show during midnight). When I was back at home, mom even complimented me for being able to hibernate in the hospital: only eating one main meal which was dinner, and sleeping through everything else. At first I thought it was because of the loss of appetite and tiredness from the chemotherapy, but on Friday when I got home, my appetite was back to normal and though my stamina wasn’t at its best, I didn’t need to sleep the whole day like in the hospital, proving it wrong. I realized the hospital room plus the thought of knowing that I am going to get a dose of chemotherapy and certain food and smells (realized this because certain food gives me my appetite back, while others completely destroy it, problem is, I don’t know which is which as it changes) made me nausea even before I begin any chemo treatment at all, meaning that the whole thing was caused mentally, but it isn’t something where I can concentrate and chant: “the hospital is a happy place” a million times to make it go away.

Hmm… it’s going to be disgusting but I guess I’ll just write it down for memory sake… I guess it’ll be a long time before I can last 5 days NOT bathing. I didn’t have the heart to tell one of the nurses that was doing their routine check up that my hair wasn’t purposely oiled, but it was “naturally” oiled. Yeah, imagine how oily it has become when one doesn’t bath. And there she was complimenting about how great my hair has grown back.

Oh, and before I forgot, a really big thank you to the student nurse that came visit me for more than once while I was in the hospital (I guess you know who you are), though you didn’t had practical duty at the hospital then. It breaks the mundane cycle of sleep, watch TV, and sleep again in the hospital. I seldom get visitors, and for those who are wondering why, a patient undergoing chemotherapy is really hard to get visited by friends as most of the time cell counts are low, and even if that isn’t the case I may need time to recover from the side effects that I have received and wouldn’t want to meet anyone then (it isn’t pleasant to talk and feeling like vomiting at the same time). And I guess it doesn’t seem polite to “ask” people to come visit you, as that seems forced in way.

Most importantly I need to give thanks to God for all He’s done. For helping me to overcome the impossible, and teaching me that going through life isn’t so easy. It isn’t always “the other person” who would need to go through the difficulties. Heh… and before that the hardest thing I need to go through was exams. But for exams if you fail, you get devastated… of course… but you still live through it and can retry another time. But the exam of life isn’t something that can be retaken.

There are so many things that I’ve learned through this experience, and a million more reasons to thank God for it, but I’ll just write one for now. One important thing I learned through this experience was the peace of God. I realized that the peace of God isn’t something where panels of bright lights appear and suddenly all the pains go away; all troubles disappear; all worries gone in a snap with God’s finger (though He could do that if He wants to).Now I realized that the peace of God is this: Even IN pain, troubles and tons of worries, you know there isn’t anything to be afraid of, for you know that God is in control, and you can have rest, sweet rest knowing that His arm is carrying you through all the way without a doubt. I guess it’s best describe by Pastor Chuah during one of his sermons: The peace of God is like a bird, sleeping soundly under the shelter of a rock, though heavy storms with loud thunders roaring and flashes of lightning are around it, the bird could still rest peacefully under the solid rock. And it was this peace that made me go through my toughest times, as I know full well that I can give all my burdens to God, for He wasn’t going to abandon me.

I would really want to jump and celebrate, maybe fire a few fireworks while I am at it and party all night but having to eat the pills for 1 and a half years time (the main thing I am dreading right now) after this, and going back for Lamba punctures every now and then (not too bad this one) to decrease the chances of a relapse seems to dim the celebration mode. Though, I won’t complain much as I am still very glad that I don’t need to drip in any chemo anymore or having the need to stay really long periods of time in the hospital.

So, in short (just the highlights):

After,

-1 year 5 months plus (started on December 22nd, 2005 till May 25th 2007)
-12 chemotherapy treatment (not including the others, if included it’ll 18 treatments)
-50 plus blood drawn from the arm (not including those from chemo-pod)
-10 Lamba puncture procedure (and counting… still need to go for it)
-4 times hair dropped and grown back again
-3 painful mouth ulcers (one caused from bacteria, while the other 2 was because the cell lining couldn’t recover fast enough)
- 2 anal infection
- 1 case of herpes zoster (or the heavier version of chicken pox if you’re wondering)
- Packs of blood and platelet transfusions
- And being nausea for all the treatments except the first one and the one where I didn’t need to take any chemotherapy.

I can finally say to myself: Mission Accomplish!

*pats myself at the back*

~Hmm… guess I’ll be writing what I’ve learned and felt through this whole experience every now and then whenever I could think of it. Just couldn’t fit every single thing that is gushing through my mind right now.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

*ahem* not until u finish C&C 3!!

Haha... but yea, thank GOD for everything, you've finally reached this far. Proud of u.

Ju Liang said...

Eh... C&C 3 getting frustrated, hard to win leh...