What a week! I had finished doing round 4, at home, last Sunday, and was feeling pretty good. I'll say it once, and I'll say it again, being sick at home is better than being sick in the hospital!
The weather was supposed to be sunny and warm in St. George last weekend, so Jake and I thought it'd be fun to load up the kids and go for, our very first, family get away.
We did have a great time and the kids were in heaven, but I was just not feeling so hot. I finally got the 'mouth sores' i'd been hearing about, I couldn't sleep, I was really achey, nauseous and vomiting, and for the most weird and annoying symptom, my head was on fire and itching like crazy! It started Saturday afternoon after getting home from a picnic at the park. I just thought my head got sunburnt. Well it wasn't red but kept getting worse and worse.
Sunday morning, as we were packing up and getting ready to leave, I was so sick. Luckily the plan was to just sleep and rest the whole way home. I soon realized resting would not be an option. My head was out of control. haha in fact, to quote yours truly, "I want to scalp myself."
Jake was really worried about me and I was getting a little concerned myself. After emailing my doctor, we decided it was just a chemo side effect and we'd keep in touch if it didn't go away. oh and did I mention that Birdie barfed all over in the car? I don't think you can convince me to go on another road trip. No way.
We finally made it home, and I immediately crawled in bed. I knew it. I knew this wasn't good and I was putting off finding out for sure. But Jake wasn't going to let me off the hook. He made me do it. He made me take my temperature. 101.8 (supposed to call the hospital if it's 100.3 or higher)
I didn't say anything. Tears filled my eyes. I didn't want to go in again. I begged Jake to give me 30 minutes to see if my fever would go down... It was higher 102.1. With tears in my eyes, I packed my bag and called my sister for a ride.
Once at the ER they got to work. My fever was now at 103.6. Blood work, x rays, tests, and trying to get my blood pressure up. The nice thing about the ER... you ask for morphine, they give you morphine. I was a happy camper.
*lots of pokes in the ER *THE ITCHING!!! so annoying *my beautiful assistant stole my phone while I was giving a urine sample ha
My blood work came back, and I was neutropenic, aka, no immune system, my levels were at their possible lowest. So everyone had to take extra precautions and wear masks and gowns around me. They also posted a big STOP sign on my door. I needed to be admitted to Huntsman, and because my heart rate and blood pressure were not cooperating, I got to ride in the ambulance! You should have seen Jaycie and I when they told us and then proceeded strapping me to the gurney. We were laughing so hard. It seemed so serious!
*strapped up, ready for my ride!
That's the weird part about this whole thing, I sometimes don't realize how serious it is. This was an eye opening moment, because instead of admitting me to my usual unit at huntsman, I was taken to the ICU. Once there, the Dr was talking about fevers and how it would have killed me within 24 hours if not taken care of. Then, since my heart rate and blood pressure was so bad, he had to ask me if he could resuscitate me and use a breathing tube, if necessary. It becomes real in those moments.
Luckily, there was no infection, and like my last fevering episode, it was just caused by my levels dropping and becoming neutropenic. They call it Neutropenic Fever. My fever went away and my heart rate and blood pressure looked better, so after one night in the ICU, I was able to go back down to the BMT unit. Though I love Huntsman, and everyone there, I was glad to go home after two nights.
You know what, Monday night was a hard one for me. That's the night I lost all of my eyelashes, I looked, and felt, so sick, and when I looked in the mirror and saw the stranger looking back at me, I was a mess of emotions. That is when I posted my "sick picture." I cried the whole night. My poor nurse probably thought I was in excruciating pain, though I tried, through sobs, to explain that I was fine. haha we still did get a laugh together when he said, "Yaaaa, crying probably doesn't help with your headache.;)" And then during morning rounds, the cute Dr noticed how swollen and red my eyelids were. When I told her it was just because I had been crying all night, she went on, as if worried about my self confidence, for a few minutes letting me know how beautiful I was. What an angel. Every person I have come in contact with during this whole experience are angels.
*you should see the selfie I took POST crying...oh boy! haha
When I got home, and after my little public breakdown, I received a text. This text was sent out of love, and it did get me thinking...
...and others around you may fall apart, but you can't. Don't let them see you weak.
The more I thought about that, the more I was certain of my opinion. And that is, that I am weak. I am weak because I am a human who suffers, who feels, who experiences, who makes mistakes, and who learns.
I feel that when we can humble ourselves and acknowledge our weaknesses, that's when real power comes....
Last Thursday was a special kind of morning. The kids had been awake since 5:30, I had broken up more fights than i'd like to count, and I felt like I was running a breakfast diner after all of the breakfasts I had made, and for what?!, scrunched up noses and stink faces in return. I was at the end of my rope. So when Gunther went to grab a toy from his brother, I swatted his hand faster than he could blink. They all looked up at me, their big brown eyes waiting to see what was going to happen next, and I stormed to my room, door locked.
As I was trying to calm down and saying a little prayer for help, I heard...
Gunther and Birdie banging on my door: "Mom!"
Milo: "Go shout at Mom Gun."
Milo: "Go shout at Mom."
Gun: "No. She's my Mom. She just wanted you to eat your pancakes. I'm going to hit you now."
Milo: "Mom!!! Gunther hit me!"
Hahaha! After feeling so overwhelmed, guilty , and weak, I could not help but smile, laugh, and have my heart warmed after hearing that conversation. I knew what I had to do.
I opened my door to see those six brown eyes, again, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I lead them to the couch, sat them all down, and began to talk to them. I apologized and told them that mom had made a mistake. I made a bad choice and lost my patience. I was sorry and wondered if they could forgive me? We talked about what we were going to do to make better choices and to be more kind to one another.
After making a game plan, lots of hugs and kisses, they hopped off the couch and were ready to play again. They hadn't made it five steps before Milo turned and said, "Maybe we should say a prayer." With a heart about to explode and eyes full of tears, I said, "Yes buddy, good idea. Let's say a prayer."
Together, kneeling with my three sweet children, we asked Heavenly Father to forgive us. We thanked Him for one another and asked Him to bless our home with his spirit again.
I was weak. My children saw my weakness. But together, and with Heavenly Father's help, we were made strong.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness that they may be humble: and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me: for if they humble themselves before me , and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
I feel that by being open and realizing that we don't, and won't, always have it all together, it opens the door for those around us. Maybe it let's others know that, "hey, i'm not the only one who has a bad day or who is trying." Or, maybe by sharing our struggles, someone can see a need and an opportunity to serve, and by serving, be blessed in return.
Of course, we hope to be strong, we strive to be brave, but when we are weak, don't let those weak moments define you. Let them bring you closer to your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends, and most importantly, your Savior. I know that as you lean on all of them to buoy you up, weak things will be made strong.
So again I must thank you. Thank you for helping me when I am weak. You have humbled me and helped me see how strong I can be. I lean on you more than you will ever know, and I love you.
ps, just so you all know, that day, after the kids and I had our "talk", multiple times, Milo said, "Mom, you're losing your patience!" That was quite frustr...I mean, helpful ;)