" I implore you, my child; observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of nothing (ex nihilo), and that mankind comes into being in the same way..." 2 Maccabees 7:28

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Humble, Heroic Liver!

Chemo # 6 down! 2 to go! John took so many pictures that felt like Angelina Jolie without the lips (but my tongue felt pretty thick from the drugs). And Christina didn't get woozy at all! And since Charity is not working this week, she got to come too. We all talked the whole four hours, they made chemotherapy fun, despite the fact that I forgot my Pente game and a deck of cards. When this is all done, it will be so nice to look back on all the pictures and remember this whole amazing experience. John, Christina and Charity can even make chemotherapy fun!

Through all this, I have really learned a new respect for the body. Fr. Walter Ciszek points out that the body often gets a bad rap among Christians; being blamed for every sort of vice, as if the will and the reason held no blame! I remember feeling a real compassion for my body after the first biopsy. As anyone who has had a needle core biopsy knows, they don't just take one or two tissue samples, it's more like twenty! And since I'm so flat chested, they really had to work hard to get those. You are lying face- down on a table with a hole in it, and they pull your breast tissue through the hole and put you in a mammogram machine, squeezing that poor little unassuming orb for all it's worth. Then they take the samples with a hollow needle. It certainly wasn't fun, but it was not horrifying either.

The next day I was standing in front of the mirror- my poor right breast was bruised purple and yellow, so full of needle holes so close together that it looked like an incision. Who would've though that that breast, previously so unnoticed would now be so horribly manhandled and subject to the most rigorous scrutiny? Our bodies- working so hard to protect us with so little recognition or gratitude! "If it offends thee, cut it off!" says the bible; I had been so eager to get on with the surgery and remove the source of those silent, deadly tumors but in this moment I felt a strange grief to know that in a short time, I would be removing that breast which had been with me for so long. And replacing with a ziplock bag filled with saline.

Then today my recent blood work came back; the nurse said they were still a bit concerned about the liver. Working so hard to filter out all these toxins I've been pumping into it (I THINK that's what livers do, maybe a biology wonk can correct me if that's wrong...) that there is a possibility of needing to lower the dosage, change drugs or postpone chemo at some point. But it's not highly likely, considering those numbers have been fluctuating during this whole time. Pobrecito, little liver! Thank you for all your hard work!

This post is all over the place. But, hey, blame the chemo brain; or better yet, blame the chemo drugs. My brain is just doing it's best to cope.


Anonymous said...

I always look forward to your posts! You can even make chemo sound fun. -Trinka

Br. Robert, OP said...

Did I understand that right? You left your Pente game and your deck of cards at the hospital? How can you go on?

I mean, a breast you can do without, and a liver -- who needs it?! But to lose a deck of cards!!!

All I can say is that I'm praying overtime for you, now that I know how tragic your situation is.


sheshe said...

My prognosis is that your liver just wants some attention... Here you've been talking about the boobs... the hair on the head... the eyebrows... and your little liver is like, "hey, look over here... give me some lovin'... talk to me... pray for me... be there for me, man!... look at all I'm doing for you."

I would just spend some time giving your liver some attention. I think livers, in general, feel so underappreciated. They are like the middle child in a family that sometimes acts out just to get noticed.

Faith, you're dealin' with an acting out middle child liver. Give it some lovin'.

I'll send it some prayers.

Viola! All will be better.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us what exactly you bring with you to chemo?
From my understanding, your first chemo session you brought a sweater, a down comforter, hard candy, water, juice, a rosary... am I missing anything?
Now it sounds like you are bringing... pente and cards?
My, how things change.

Kathryn said...

Two words for you my friend: Kombucha and Kefir. I buy kefir at TJ's and mix 50/50 plain and strawberry to keep the sugar count down. I've got other immunity/liver defense info around here, but things are crazy with the kids out of school so call me to get it.

75% is a long way towards the finish line here! So soon you will feel a little fuzz on top of your head. About this time I started washing my scalp with a clarifying shampoo. I didn't want an excess of scalp cells blocking growth in my hair follicles!!

God bless!