My Sanity

Round #6 chemo. Again.

Not going to lie, this whole cancer thing is getting annoying. The first two months it was working on getting past the initial shock of my husband having cancer, the numerous doctors appointments and adjusting to our new life with trying to keep things as normal as possible.

But now, I just want it to be gone.  And so does Jake. The first four rounds of chemo Jake and I fell into the routine and rhythm of him feeling mediocre the day and a half after chemo and than being hit with the nasty side effects of nausea, constipation, mouth soreness and exhaustion.  The last round of chemo however threw us for a loop. Jake was sick right out of the gate. I noticed right away that the chemo poison meds hit him hard and fast. He appeared more foggy (even drunk-like), slept a lot more, had painful constipation and just flat-out like shit.  Ugh.

With this 6th round, anything could happen.

Before each treatment Jake has to have his blood drawn and then we meet with his oncologist, Dr. Freeman to check in. Friday, Dr. Freeman informed us that the combination of meds Jake is receiving, ABVD, is typically not toxic to sperm and the chances of Jake being sterile is highly unlikely. Whoohoo!!! This was different from what we had previously heard.

We also discussed the plan for moving forward more in-depth. Dr. Freeman informed us that most Hodgkin Lymphoma patients receive the standard treatment of four cycles  of chemo (each cycle contains two actual treatments)  then a PET scan. If the results from the PET scan indicates that the cancer is gone, most patients have two more cycles (four rounds of chemo) for best practice, then radiation. Dr. Freeman stated that because Jake is so young, was relatively healthy before cancer and him believing there is no need to poison your body more than necessary,  he would be okay with the four cycles of chemo and move straight into radiation. (Provided the PET scan results are in our favor.) Whoohoo!!! Hearing this news was fantastic, but Jake and I are both still very aware that this isn’t set in stone and could change.

With that news, two more rounds of chemo for sure after yesterday’s. At times it is hard to believe two months has passed, but yet, still seems like time is moving slooooow.

I had an oral interview with my professor last Monday and shared with my professor that I was actually quite impressed with myself on getting an A in the class (which is no easy feat) despite everything else that has been going on in my life. This statement got me thinking and processing all of those things that did help me get through these past couple of months and kept me sane. (In no ranking order).

Working out. This is HUGE. I have been an avid fitness girl for the past five or so years. When I first moved to Iowa I joined a gym and went on a regular basis. A year ago I started working out with P90x video’s at home then moved to Insanity. For the past month I have been working out at least 4-5 mornings a week to a P90x/Insanity hybrid mix. Working out to me is my drug and I am completely okay with it. Awareness is key. 😉 Being able to get up in the mornings and work my body is the best way for me to clear my head and not worry about anything else for that hour.  I have found that it prepares my mind for the day and helps me stay as healthy as I can for Jake.

Prayer/Church/Serving God. Working in a church, attending service and praying have been at times the only thing I know how to do. I realize and understand that everyone has their own viewpoints and while I can respect that, me knowing that God is there and by our side is a calming relief on those difficult days. And praise to him on the good ones.

My supports. I have been so fortunate in having such a strong support system it is brings me overwhelming joy. Jake, my parents, brother, friends, close girlfriends, church community, co-workers and classmates have been amazing. Being able to share our story, express my thoughts, show my emotions and be myself has certainly helped me in ways I never knew.

Cooking. I love to cook and trying new recipes. Even though I haven’t been able to share those recipes on Joyful girl these past couple of months, I am still in the kitchen as often as I can be. Sipping on a glass of wine, listening to good music and cooking away is a huge stress reliever and helps me unwind from my day.

Napping. I have always been a nap girl, but until this semester, didn’t truly appreciate its place in my life. There have been recent days when I have been so overwhelmed and exhausted that the only thing that I can think to do is lay in bed to rest my mind and body. I have found that allowing my brian to shut down for a while, even if it is only for thirty minutes, it does my mind and body wonders.  I continue to be aware of this and try to allow myself a nap on those days when I am feeling run down.

Listening to music and reading. My addiction is working out, Jake’s is books and music. He is constantly finding new music and books and loves sharing them with me. And I LOVE it. These past few months, music and books have provided a way for me to transcend myself into a different world. It elicits emotions and has a way of moving me through them.

Crying. I’m not going to lie on this one, I love to cry. I don’t like the emotions that elicit crying, but the act itself is refreshing and relieving.  To me, crying has a very calming effect and releases endorphins which relieves stress. Most times I feel better after having a good cry.

Jake. He is my rock. Even throughout his illness, he continues to be here for me. Jake always makes sure I am healthy emotionally and physically and allows me to express any emotion necessary. I will say that I do assess where he is emotionally and physically and while we have wonderful open communication, realize that my other supports are in my life for a reason and lean on them to allow myself to be strong for Jake.

Writing Joyful Girl. Sharing my thoughts and My Three Joys has been a great way for me to relieve my stress and an outlet for me.

Throughout my life I have been fortunate to thrive off of stress, always on the go and keeping busy which I think has really worked out well for me these past few months. I however have never had such an emotional component to it and I can tell you that it certainly creates more exhaustion at the end of the day. I have come to realize that knowing my limits and utilizing my coping skills have been key to not having emotional breakdowns every week. 🙂

And with that, time to go enjoy the weekend with my dad! Ciao!

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9 thoughts on “My Sanity

  1. I find so much comfort in reading your blog posts. My husband has only had 1 chemo treatment thus far and it has definitely not been fun. He is experiencing all the same side effects as your husband. We are a military family and have recently moved to a new area. We do not know many people here, so our support system is states away. I’m going to school, taking care of our two boys, and trying to help my husband through all of this. It is extremely overwhelming. I have to admit, I was a little relieved to see how overwhelmed and tired you are, so much that you have to take naps. It makes me feel less lazy for taking naps when my son does during the day! =) I admire your positivity and strength. Hang in there!

    • Aubrey,
      I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult things are for you. I am not sure what I would do if I had children to worry about as well. What are you studying in school? Naps have been a savior some days, so never ever feel lazy for taking one! I am glad that some of my experiences help, it isn’t easy in the least. Please feel free to email me any time. libbybouma@gmail.com Prayers out to you and your family.

      • I am two weeks away from graduating with my Bachelor’s in Psychology. Want to start my Master’s in the fall, but can’t decide what I want to do yet. I’m thinking mental health counseling. Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions while going through this. It helps more than you know. =)

  2. My heart goes out to you,and I am grateful you can expressyour feelings.surround yourself
    with the light of Love when you nap…..and know you are never alone..love,mom

  3. I am struggling at being a sole caregiver for my folks 89 and 90 yrs old. Hard to find time to workout.. they always need meals made, dishes done, help showering, or just need attention poor babies It is good to know that when I just don’t want to do it anymore it’s not so bad to just sit and cry a little. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings to help others like me feel less alone.

  4. I just started reading your blog today after finding out on Wednesday that my husband has lymphoma as well. As a stay at home mom with two little girls, I needed a heads up as to what I may expect and I am finding just what I need through your blog. Thank you so much for being so candid and transparent. You and your positive attitude are a blessing to me and, I would expect, many others that are going through the same things that you have. God bless 🙂

    • Brianna,

      I am so glad you found my blog. I know the emotions you are going through and just know that every single one is justified and completely okay to feel. Good or bad. For my husband and I, being transparent and wanting to share our story with others was done exactly so we could let people know what to expect and that it will be okay. Please feel free to email me any time at libbybouma@gmail.com with any questions, or to just talk. I am sure you saw, but my husband shared his story at on his blog at Jakebouma.com, with videos that may give more insight into what to expect. I do wish you, your husband, and your two little girls much peace through this trying time and will certainly keep you all in my prayers.

      • Brianna,

        You may also email me. Libby’s blog really helped me during my husband’s fight. He, too, has lymphoma (Hodgkin’s) and is still going through chemo. I am a stay-at-home mom with two small boys. It’s nice to have someone to talk to that is going through the same thing. =)
        aubreywilson0108@yahoo.com

        Aubrey Wilson

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