Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other's good, and melt at other's woe.
It's only been just over 9 months ago that I posted on this blog. But recently I had this thought after a discussion with Tiffany that I really ought to try to write in it, and then continue to write on an ongoing basis. You see, putting down thoughts in words allowed me to think through the mess we were in, sort it out, and spit it back into my own mind in a way that helped me see the larger picture. Therapeutic I guess, in a very emotional way.
But there is another reason, one I should have known well before now. When going through the situation Tiffany is going through, she often finds herself putting on a smile while internally she is stricken with pain, fatigue, and worry. But when she is out and about, she tires of telling people how she is doing and therfore many times she says that she is 'fine' when indeed she is not. And that, I decided, weighs terribly on somebody. Especially when she feels like a broken record. How many people want to here that you are doing terrible? And what if every time the same person asked you you said the same thing, terrible? Eventually, this person figures there is no sense in talking to you because 1 - they already know what you are going through (because the answer is always the same) and 2 - they don't really know what to do for you any how and to approach someone with a question you know what the answer will be, a question that you know not how to help, well, sometimes it is easiest to avoid the situation all together.
So Tiffany says she is fine. For the reason stated above, but in part because she has hope that it will all turn out that way. But I write - so you will know what she is going through, because what she goes through is lonely, and the only way to not make is so is for others to know.
So what is going on, you ask? (I heard your question)
Since some of you aren't aware of what has happened since the last post, let me quickly catch you up to speed (note, I won't bore you with many details so just the main issues that have happened)...
First - Shingles - she came down with Shingles on the left side of her body in April. And oh, what a terrible time that was. Shingles, for those that don't know, is basically the chicken pox virus reaking havoc on an adult. Once you had chicken pox as a kid, your immune system figures out how to fight it and is always keeping it at bay. However, when your immune system is compromised, like when you take Chemo that kills off the white blood cells, the virus roars back and can attack. She was in the most excruciating pain for 4 weeks and then it finally started to back off. However, still to this day she has a few spots she continually has to itch, residuals from the shingles.
Second - Transfusions. One of the last posts I suggested was that she had her first and hopefully last transfusion. Well, our hoping didn't get us far as she has had multiple transfusions. Every couple of months through the chemo treatment, her blood count would drop low (anemic) and when it got to a certain point, the doctor would order a transfusion. The last couple of transfusions she had, we both didn't need blood tests to tell. She just got overly tired, cranky, and not always thinking straight. Yes, the chemo made her quite tired, but as her anemia would lower, we could see even more tired than 'normal'. At that point we would try to get into the clinic to get her blood tested and if it was at a low enough level, they would send her to the transfusion room.
Third - the white blood count had lowered itself down and other measurements where lining up and the Doc opted to pull her off the chemotherapy. It was a joyous occasion and one we were excited for. They took her off in the middle of October and we were hopeful and even expecting, a great turnaround. Well, the good news is her white blood count has stayed mostly down, but her red count seems to not be rebounding like we were hoping. Since she has been off chemo she has had to go back for a couple of transfusions, one in November, and then another one about a week ago. The doctors have intimated that she may need to go back on it as there are signs that suggest it hasn't done what they were hoping for.
Note however, that this last transfusion may have something to do with cold she has had for a few weeks. Or so we are hoping.
That all said, this cold she has, has taken what would seem a turn for the worse. Last Sunday, she started to suggest she felt like she did right before the shingles came upon her. On Monday, as she was doing some cleaning, she started complaining about some pain in her left knee and shoulder. By Tuesday morning (Christmas Eve) she could barely walk, and when she tried, she was in 'the worst pain ever' (even suggesting labor pains would be the only similar pain she has felt). So up to Huntsman she and I went and they started doing some tests. Everything came back normal and the doctors suggested it was likely the cold virus she had, had moved into her joints. But, to make matters worse, her platelet count was way down (in the 50's) and therefore couldn't take Ibuprofen but due to her liver (oh yeah, we had to go see a liver specialist in early December as there are some abnormal liver enzymes in her blood test - so far that specialist is hoping it is damaged due to the chemo and that the liver is a hearty organ and should rebound with time) cant take heavy doses of acetaminophen. So pain management has been aweful and Christmas she was on the couch in pain for most of the day. It does seem to be letting up, but there is still a lot of pain. We were told to contact Hunstman next Monday if it doesn't let up. We are hoping she will feel much better before then.
Like I said earlier, if you talk to her, she will have a happy smile and a good disposition. She is trying to show the world what she wants to feel. But for those of you who want to do more - know this - it isn't in helping clean the house, or even bringing a meal over, both of which we have had plenty of and have been very grateful. The best thing anyone can do, is to talk to her. Listen to her, and share your empathy for her. She is going through what is a very lonely place. Don't let her tell you she is fine. Ask her specific questions. She will open up, and doing so, you will become as our Savior, helping her bear burdens that she has sometimes feels alone in bearing.