Day -4. Remembering What I’m Fighting For.

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So I woke up today and was able to have the nurse disconnect me from the IV machine long enough to get my shirt off so I can take a shower.  You would be surprised how complicated this simple task really is. The thing is I’m connected to the three cords coming out of my arm, and one down my leg! Anyway, it felt good take a shower!

Afterwards, I got the sweetest surprise. I got a call from Liz telling me to go look out my window, and when I did, I saw her and Olivia standing on top of the parking garage at the hospital and I was able to watch Olivia run around with Liz waving a little heart-shaped balloon. Every time I see that girl run, it brings the biggest smile to my face. I’m happy that I can at least see her from a distance, since she can’t come up and visit me! It was a sweet moment for a dad.

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The nurse came back in afterwards and gave me a heavy dose of anti-nausea medicine, because I was starting to feel pretty nauseous. It seems like the key to beating the chemotherapy sickness is staying ahead of it. As soon as I start feeling nauseous, I have them give me medications that keep it away. They say that if it gets ahead of you, it’s hard to get back to feeling good again and catching up. So the game right now is trying to stay on top of it, even if it means waking up in the middle of the night and calling the nurse in.

I got a nice little visit from Dr. Burt this morning also. Every time I talk to him so far, it’s been short and to the point, but I heard he was from Montana and since I lived there for a couple of years, I was able to ask him where he was from.  I found out he was from Billings and that’s one of the areas I used to live. It was fun to talk about branding cows, rock picking, ranch work, horses and all the wonderful things what I miss about Montana. It was cool to see it in him that he has that same love for that wonderful place! In fact, I feel even better about this now knowing my doctor is a Montana guy! Funny how my life in Montana just seem to keep crossing paths! Dr. Burt really is a cool guy and I look forward to having more conversations with him in the future.

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My PT therapist came by and started to give me my daily assignments to keep myself active and feeling good. Nothing too fancy, just lots of stretching exercises and to walk the hallway every day. Movement is really important right now. It’s also important to protect my body to the chemotherapy. If I don’t do it right, it could permanently affect my running, cycling, swimming, and every other physical activity I do for the rest of my life. So you can guess they have my full attention!

For me to leave my room to go for a walk, I have to put on gloves, a mask, and a gown. Keeping the floor sterile, is the number one priority. They don’t want any kind of cross contamination. Everyday life up here depends on it because no one up here has an immune system, due to all the chemotherapy and immune suppressant. A walk in the hall is kind of funny actually, just because after all the workouts I’m used to, it seems so silly. The truth is it’s extremely important to stay mobile after laying in bed all day. It can be one of the most dangerous things you can do. With all the drugs they give you, honestly lying around is what you want to do because you don’t feel good. Moving doesn’t seem fun, but you have to do it or its going to be a long road back. The drugs they give you to take away the nausea work pretty good, but they don’t give you a lot of energy, so you just have to kind of fight it. It seems like the chemo just keeps sending a nagging nausea every chance it gets. Funny though, because the chemo is the cure!

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After my walk, it was once again time to start getting hooked up to all the bags of chemo medication and bladder protectors, so I could start my chemo thirty minutes later. Today’s chemo went just fine and the time flew by while it was coming in. I didn’t get nauseous from it until about four in the morning, so I would say that’s pretty good success. They also give you these rabbits steroids right after the chemo called rATG. They are also an immune suppressant, to help the chemo do its job of taking out my immune system.

One difference of today if I hardly had any appetite. All the meals I had were super small. I don’t really mind the side effect too much, because I’m coming into this fifteen pounds heavier than normal.

I also had a fun time tonight playing Call of Duty with my brother Matt. If anyone knows our family, they know that I have five brothers and we don’t talk on the phone. Instead, we play Call of Duty and that’s how we do our talking and laughing and we have a great time doing it. It was pretty complicated trying to keep all my cords from my Xbox from getting tangled up with my cords in the IV machine, but we got it done. Overall, I had a good night. It was a good way to end the day before what would turn into a rough night, but I’ll get into that on tomorrow’s entry. Day -4 is in the books and a brand new immune system free of MS is on my mind!

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