Monday, January 23, 2012

From Blonde to Red and Back Again

So, for those of you who missed part of the continuing Heidi saga.. I will fill in the details. I know.. its so dramatic right?..

During the last week I was in the hospital in September my docs talked and decided that my Lupus was so out of control that more aggressive treatment was needed. This was as I was starting my overall recovery... so honestly not entirely sure how that decision came about...

Anyways.. the reason they give Chemo or Cytoxan as they call the milder version I received, to Lupus patients is because it basically kills off the rest of their immune system, making it impossible for my body to react.  In other words.. my body was having such an "allergic reaction" to itself that the only way to stop it was to kill off my immune system so that it would stop trying to fight me.

I think it would have been easier and more comfortable for me to sit down and have a heart to heart with those little annoying germs and tell them that evacuation was necessary or they would be fumigated.  Kind of like those weird Mucinex commercials.. you all know what I'm talking about.. right? If not.. just pretend.

Regardless... I had my first treatment in the hospital, where they have nice heavy anti-nausea medication, so I only threw up twice in the middle of the night after the first treatment.   Although, the hospital and after the second treatment is when I lost the most hair.

Well.. after I was released... my hair was looking pretty nasty and starting to develop bald spots, which is why I all the sudden appeared with thick red hair... Yeah.. my fairy godmother (literally, not kidding here) helped me pick out a wig that would work with my natural skin tone that I could wear for a few months until my treatments were over.

So, thus, Heidi is a fiery, feisty red head! Woo hoo!

Anyways, after the second treatment.. no sickness, just nausea.
Third treatment... I threw up for about 5 hours.. nearly every half an hour.
Fourth treatment was a 7-8 hour long disaster zone. I almost surrendered myself to curling up on the bathroom floor and just waiting it out.  Lucky for me there are some amazing priesthood holders in my ward who don't mind seeing me at my worse and I got a blessing after which the episode subsided.

Two days later I went home for Christmas! Yay Christmas!!

Well.. a few days after returning from Christmas break, the bills started showing up. I won't say how much they were cause its just ridiculous.. but I was scheduled for two more treatments. One this week and then the last one next month. However, after looking at the bills I decided that unless Bill Gates himself made an appearance on my front step with a nice chunky check book, Chemo was not happening anymore.

I got in touch with my doctor today and okayed the nix of the Chemo treatments! I'm still not in the clear completely, they will have me on watch... don't worry no ankle bracelet or alarms going off... just some more needle pokes twice a month, which is no big considering a spot has formed on my arm from the previous 117 needle pokes in the exact same spot.  Easy access makes things a lot more comfortable for everyone.

Anyways.. thus ends this current part of my dramatic/traumatic experience. Thanks for the continued prayers and love sent my way, it has meant the world to me...

Ohh.. p.s. the wig has officially taken its spot on the top shelf of my closet where she will hopefully reside for a long time. I have once again joined the ranks of the blondes!

Before I end though I probably should include some positives of chemo.. right? There is a ray of sunshine in every cloud... except of course unless its snowing like the north pole in Provo.. but that's beside the point...

1.  I never had to shave my legs... Its true folks.. the hair just didn't grow.
2.  I had a legitimate excuse to not work for a day and "rest" on the couch.
3.  HUGS!!! I got LOTS of Hugs! I like hugs...

And thus... officially.. Chemo has taken its place in its part of Heidi history, become part of what has shaped my character and made me stronger than I ever imagined I would be.  Thanks should go to Heavenly Father for knowing I was strong enough to endure such a harrowing trial and come out even stronger.