chemo change up


Komen was such an amazing experience! I was so uplifted by the support from all my team members, the crowd and all the Komen volunteers and Board Members, and of course the VIP treatment. I completely surprised myself by speaking at the Jen Pagani Tough Cookie Award presentation. And I was so humbled and tickled to receive the medal also.

All that fun, paired with lots of radiation finally hit me hard, very hard. I basically couldn’t do much of anything the week following the race. I was hysterically tired. I tried not to show it to the boys, tried to be present and happy and engaged when they needed me. I basically had the energy to do one “thing” a day, it was all I could do. No laundry, meals, errands, straightening… I dropped everything else, made me sad, frustrated, made me wonder…

Last week, feeling more rested but far from “normal”, Joe and I left for Quebec (like old France right here in North America), our first trip alone in 3 years. The first night there we left dinner suddenly because I felt like a stomach bug was coming on. Rocco got big time throw ups right before we left (Gammy took good care of him in our absence though). We panicked a bit about what would happen if I fell ill with the flu in a foreign country, far from home, and with socialized medicine to boot. I prayed hard that first night and I woke up feeling like I was fighting something but was gonna be okay. Thank You God! Our vacay turned out great. We had un-interrupted time together to talk, laugh, see the sights and rest. We even did an impromptu zip line/climbing adventure by the Montmorency waterfall. It was amazing, empowering, good for my spirit but after the thrill wore off it totally crushed me physically. As soon as we made it back to the hotel I stayed in bed for 18 hours straight. I slept and slept and slept. It was obviously what I needed but also concerning. I can’t seem to recover. I feel like me body is failing me and it is very worrisome.

We returned to Charlotte Monday night after a tiring day of travel. Tuesday it was chemo time again. It kicked my ass. I have been on the couch since. I have not showered, been outside or done much of anything other than watch bad TV in the dark. I am grumpy, feel helpless and feel like things are looking a bit bleak. Today is Friday and I still feel like shit. (Oh I do have another sinus infection too). I need quiet, dark and time alone. But its Friday and we have school bingo night tonite. I will go, it is important to both boys. I want to go but not really because I feel so bad. People will see me and think, wow she’s out, she must be doing well. I’m not, that frustrates me too. And the rest of the weekend is full of their activities. I will do what I can and pretend to feel okay for some of it. I know I can’t do it all though.

While in QC I also discovered two more enlarged, fixed and very tender nodes (naturally). This time in my left groin (right where the hip meets the torso) and exactly where my cancerous nodes were on the right side. Not good, this will most likely mean a

rock climb

Jen scaling an 87 degree cliff beside a waterfall in Quebec

. We meet with Gary on Halloween to see if he has any other chemo options to re-try. Thus far, his one suggestion has been unacceptable from a quality of life stand point. I’m still on the pain patch and take additional pain meds on most days. It is controlling most of the discomfort from the radiated tumors. Additional tumors and ones that have grown since radiation now are causing quite a bit of discomfort despite the patch. Worrisome for sure.

Thanks for hanging in through this very long post. Please pray for me- to feel better, have less pain, for energy to get back into my life and that Gary pulls another drug out of his hat that’ll buy me some more, QUALITY, time. And please pray for my friend Paula. She is in the hospital right now with a possible severe infection, or even worse, cancer that has progressed to the point where it may threaten her life.

Thanks, Jen

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