7 chemo treatments under my belt...1 more to go!

I finished chemo #7, and now have just one more to complete on June 23rd! Hopefully that will be my last time EVER receiving any type of chemotherapy. This whole experience has been horrible, and especially as I get closer to finishing, it has just gotten worse and worse. I was told by my Doctor that I will have a PetScan done sometime at the end of July to check my progress and make sure the chemo has killed all of those nasty cancer cells...GOD I hope it did! I honestly do not think that I can endure more chemo than I already have. Just the thought of chemo #8 makes me ill to think about. This will be my first scan since starting chemo, and to be honest, it completely terrifies me!! The thought of having to wait and receive those results gives me a full on panic attack. Assuming everything is clear, I will then move on to radiation. I should be starting that in August at some point, and will find out the exact number of treatments after the results of my PetScan come back. 
I've experienced horrible pain in my esophagus once again...what's new? But this has definitely been the worst it has been so far. I finally convinced my Oncologist that a burning/painful esophagus is NOT good, so he gave me some liquid Carafate to take 4 times a day...which has really not done much for my poor esophagus at all. The pain was so intense on Sunday night that my mom had her purse in hand and was ready to drive me to the emergency room. I am completely against sharing prescription medications...but was willing to try anything to avoid a dreadful night in the E.R., so I tried one of my dad's Protonix (used to treat GERD) and was so happy that it eased the pain and burning rather quickly and I was able to avoid a hospital visit. Don't worry my pharmacy friends...I will be getting a prescription of my own for it :) 
My anti-nausea medications have continued to stop me from vomiting (although I still feel nauseous), but like with most meds. can bring on a whole new bout of side effects....to be honest, they make you completely constipated! Sorry if that's a little too much info. but I have vowed from the beginning to keep this blog real...and that's what I am going to continue to do. So I am then forced to take more meds. to help with those side effects...see how this can just keep going on and on? Never ending! You basically have to treat one side effect with a medication that then gives you another side effect, etc... I've also dealt with the intense muscle aches & pains, mostly under my arm pits and my neck...they get really swollen and sore to touch. My Doctor said that this is caused by one of the chemo drugs that I receive (Vinblastine). Have I mentioned that I cannot wait to be done with all of this??
Some good news...I got a lung function test done last week before chemo #7 to see how my lungs are holding up from all of this toxic chemo I've been getting, and my results came back good! Or at least good enough to finish up chemo and not have to take out the Bleomycin (one of my chemo drugs I receive that is very toxic to my lungs). I also had some more blood work done before chemo #7, and my white blood cell count is still pretty good, no need for any shots to boost it so far...which is great news.
A few people who I have met that are survivors of cancer have told me that having cancer and going through this "journey" actually turned out to be a blessing for them. I am definitely not ready to say that it has been a blessing to go through any of this, but I will say that some things have become more clear than before I had cancer and there are some positive things that have come out of it that I want to acknowledge...
  •  Although I was quite appreciative before, I am now even more thankful for the wonderful family and friends that I have in my life. The support and love that I have received has been overwhelming & amazing, and I am forever thankful. Having cancer has allowed me to quickly distinguish those who really care about me, from those who do not.  
  • Since I was first diagnosed with cancer I have had friends, friends of friends, neighbors, etc. that immediately put me into contact with other people they knew who have either already battled cancer, or are still in the middle of battling it. Having these people to reach out and talk to has been so amazing. I have been able to form my own little support group, and am able to compare other people's experiences with my own. I find all of these people to be so inspirational, and if I had not been diagnosed with cancer, I would most likely never have had the opportunity to get to know any of them. 
  • I now know just how fragile life is. Tomorrow really is not guaranteed, so it is important to get the most out of life. I feel that I truly know what is important in my life, and this experience has allowed me to reassess some of my goals and what I want for my future.
  •  Even with as awful as this has been for me, I have seen that it can always be worse. No matter how bad you think that you have it or how terrible your situation is, there is almost always somebody else out there who has it way worse than you. This has made me want to be kinder and more patient with people, because you never know what somebody else is going through. When I have my wig on and am out getting some coffee or lunch, nobody would ever be able to tell that I am a cancer patient in the middle of chemotherapy. 
  • I will never take feeling good and having energy for granted. After knowing what it feels like to truly feel rundown and sick, I have such a great appreciation for the times that I feel well and "healthy." Cancer has taught me to not take your good health for granted. Although I have cancer at 25, I had no symptoms before being diagnosed, and feel that I did not truly appreciate being healthy and active...until now. 

Thank you so much again to all of my family, friends, friends of friends, co-workers, neighbors, other cancer survivors, strangers, etc. that have been so awesome and showed me so much love and support! Everybody has been so great to me! I have received cards in the mail, emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. and they all mean SO much to me. It is such a great feeling when I get comments on here or emails from people who have stumbled upon my blog who are also fighting cancer or who are the family member of somebody who has cancer, and they say that this blog has helped them...it's the BEST feeling. 
Even though I am the one fighting cancer, it is a great feeling to know that I have so much support behind me...it really makes me feel like I am not fighting this alone. 
I just want to add on here that I am doing a walk on October 22nd for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It is called Light The Night Walk, and I have heard from other people who have previously participated that it is such a great event. I have never participated in an event where I attempt to raise money for a cause, but have heard so many wonderful things about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and trust that the money being raised is truly going to move them closer to finding a cure for blood cancers, and helping people like myself. If you are interested at all in donating any amount, just go to the link below, this is my fundraising page. Or if you prefer, you could do the walk yourself and set up your own fundraising page!
http://pages.lightthenight.org/sac/Sacra11/SHolmes
Thank you so much!

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