This week marks a milestone in my breast cancer treatment–I just completed the third chemo infusion on Monday, which puts me officially halfway through this part! Woot! After chemo I’ll still have surgery and radiation, so the WHOLE journey isn’t halfway done, but even so, I’m rejoicing at this part.

I knew that chemo wasn’t likely to be fun, and that has certainly proven to be the case. I was at first quite hopeful that Round 2 would prove easier than Round 1, when some of the symptoms I was experiencing by Thursday in the first round hadn’t hit…then came a UTI, along with a wee little fainting spell as a result of it that landed me in the emergency room for an afternoon. I got to have all sorts of tests run to rule out the passing out being caused by a heart problem, and everything they ran looked clear. Of course, they were still careful to say they couldn’t rule it out, but when they offered to let me stay in the hospital all weekend for more prolonged testing, I declined their gracious offer. 😉 My team in Morgantown agrees that the UTI and the dehydration it had caused was the most likely culprit, so unless there’s a new symptom to indicate heart issues, we can assume UTI is to blame for that one.

I had some heartburn that weekend, and then the following Friday and Saturday, I woke up both days feeling GREAT…then in the afternoons experienced my first bouts of nausea that resulted in throwing up. Not my favorite thing in the world, I gotta say! I had a few rough days of many trips to the bathroom, then a few days where I felt great and perfectly normal, aside from being tired. Happily, one of those fell on my sister’s birthday. =)

It was a wonderful day! David and I had gone out to dinner on our anniversary two days before, and that was nice too…but I still came home and had to run to the bathroom multiple times while we were watching a movie (Asteroid City. Did you see it? Did you like it? We were kinda left going “What in the world was that??” at the end. Definitely not going on my favorites list, though it didn’t quite rate the “Can I have my two hours back?” list, I guess).

On Wednesday, though, I felt like me as I went to coffee and brunch with my mom, my sister, and one of her best friends. We laughed and chatted and I enjoyed being a redhead with my “Ariel” wig. 😉

And I started writing my next book that Wednesday! No writing retreat word counts or anything, but I got over 7,000 words written by the end of last week, and am off to a great start this week too. It just feels so very me to have my head in a story and to be spending my mornings working on it. =)

On Friday, I took all my wigs with me to the wonderful woman who has been cutting my hair since I was, like, six. She shortened the Ariel for me (waist-length was just a bit unwieldly and tangled too much), shaped up the bangs on Sunny Blond and Sassy Purple, and made a real-human-hair brunette wig a client sent to me look modern and sleek instead of too-much-for-my-little-head. She agreed that the purple and red are her favorites for me! I had a great time laughing with her…before coming home to a second weekend of puking and intestinal distress. =/ Thankfully, once I started the 3-day course of steroids that surround each chemo infusion (so started on Sunday), I started feeling good again.

I didn’t try to write during the infusion on Monday, though I’d had it in mind as a possibility. One of the pre-meds they give me makes me really drowsy though, and between that and the wonderful nurses stopping in every half hour to change out this or that, I decided that writing didn’t make a lot of sense. So instead, I worked on a round of edits I’m doing for an upcoming WhiteCrown title, Christmas in the Castle Library, which I am THOROUGHLY enjoying! The author is Ann Swindell, who is well established as a non-fiction author, but this will be her debut novel. I don’t do a lot of editing these days, but I couldn’t turn down this one! When one of Ann’s beautiful non-fiction books on peace came out, she sent me a signed copy out of the blue, with a note saying how much she loved my novels, and how she wanted to give me her book in the hopes that it would resonate with me as my words do with her. I was so touched! It’s a gorgeous book, one of those gift-quality ones with blue ink and beautiful layout and design, and I really loved it. So when she submitted a royal Christmas story…well, I was excited that our team loved it so much and volunteered to take a round of edits.

So that’s how I passed my time during Infusion 3, quite happily. They got me in early this time, and I’m now on the short-as-it-can-be infusion with no big waits between things, since everything went well on the previous two rounds. We were out of there by 3 in the afternoon and actually home in time for dinner, for once!

I obviously don’t know how these next weeks will go yet–there could be more nausea, likely more trips to the bathroom. I’m all stocked up on the BRAT diet stuff if that hits–bananas, white rice, applesauce (homemade from Honeycrisp apples and so yummy!), and white bread for toast. Foods I’ve been largely avoiding lately thanks to the high carbs, but I’m firmly in the “eat what helps and tastes good” category just now. Also got some crackers and potatoes (which help absorb all the ickies in the belly) and am careful to stay better hydrated this time!

And I have big plans to wear the purple wig to church this coming Sunday. 😉 I had to skip last week because of too-frequent trips to the potty, but here’s hoping that won’t happen this week!

Let’s see, what else has been going on? The physical stuff, starting the new book…and lots of reading! I’m on track to hit my goal of 100 books this year, and I’m really enjoying it. Over the weekend I read the first two books in Gabrielle Meyer’s Timeless series and really loved them! I’m now reading the second Caraval novel, Legendary, and also a reread of The Secret Garden, which I haven’t read since I was ten, LOL. I wanted to have the characters in the novel I’ve just started writing talk about it, though, so needed a refresh. I buzzed through half of it on Tuesday evening and am remembering why I loved it so much as a kid! (And I totally paid $12 for this cute collector’s hardback instead of $6 for a little paperback, because how cute is this??*)

 I think that’s mostly it. My adorable stack of cards keeps growing, and I just have to say a big “Thank you, friends!!” yet again to everyone who has sent these notes of encouragement. I’m so touched at those friends who send a note each week, or for each infusion. I honestly expected it all to taper off after the first infusion, but instead I keep getting what I’m dubbing “encouragement bombs” around each treatment. Brings the happiest sort of tears to my eyes! I love the homemade gifts some of you have taken so much time to create for me, and the thoughtful gifts of tummy-easy candies, the books, the bath and body products, and just all the things that show you care and are remembering me in this time. It means the world! As do all the donations of money and restaurant gift cards and the like. They are making our life so much easier, with all the out of town trips and tired afternoons! (Here’s the link to the official Meal Train, which also has my mailing address for those of you who have asked for it, for sending a card.)

So…yeah. Thank you so much for all the continued prayers, the emails, the Facebook messages, the cards, the gifts, and the support in every possible way. I continue to feel so surrounded by the love of God through His precious children. I know, even when I’m hanging miserably over a toilet, that this the path toward healing and that I am so far from being alone.

I think one of the biggest blessings so far has been getting to talk to others walking this same path (or similar ones). A young woman about my age that I know from our old homeschool group but who I haven’t talked to in years saw my posts and reached out, having just had her own biopsy. She too has cancer, though they caught hers sooner, so she’s having surgery first. It’s been a blessing to get to talk to her and share what I’ve learned about our local system and just be able to answer her questions and walk alongside her–just as so many have been doing for me!

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