December 26

Here’s how the Walker household felt about Christmas this year: EXCITED!!!!

(If you click on the pictures link, there is a normal picture of us in the same get-up. These pictures were taken after church on Sunday morning.)

My wanna-be writer-self desires to spend considerable time here exercising my creative muscles as I update you on the latest in our continuing journey. However, my often tired, mother of two energetic boys who are on Christmas break-self desires to spend as much time enjoying said break with those boys as I can and so lacks the mental energy tonight to write creatively.

As I shared several posts ago, I want to share good, positive news on this blog – and tonight I can!

My energy, my appetite, my stamina have returned!

I don’t think it is possible to really get across how much better I feel now without describing how bad things had gotten, and perhaps I will do that tomorrow. But let me just say the difference is night and day.

I almost feel “normal.” Praise God, I am not experiencing any real side-effects from the clinical trial drugs. I do have extreme fatigue that hits me every once in awhile (like yesterday afternoon – I slept from about 7:15 pm last night until 8 am this morning) and that could be related to the new meds, but it is not happening in a very consistent manner as yet. I also have numbness in my fingertips and in my toes, but we aren’t sure if that may be a residual issue with my last chemo drugs.

I have had no skin reaction!!

I am able to be up and about, drive, take care of the boys, do household chores, etc, all without being completely out of breath. Again, if you don’t know how bad it had gotten, this may not mean much. Let me just say that simply having a conversation used to get me out of breath. And I spent 95% of the day either sitting or lying on the couch or the bed. I also was only eating about 200-300 calories per day, on a good day.

I also have had to take very little pain meds. Before, I was eating them like candy – as often as I could take them, at max dosages. Including liquid morphine, which I understand is one of the strongest narcotics you can have at home. For most of this past week, I have taken pain meds when I first wake up and then right before bed and that’s it!

I had a follow-up appointment at Sarah Cannon this past Friday. The research nurse and doctor were so excited to see how much better I was looking and to hear how much better I’d been feeling. They said I was their Christmas present. Dr. Bendell remarked about my last liver function tests (the ones that I already blogged about, telling the nurse response on the phone): “I couldn’t believe how much they had improved just in 3 days on the new drugs!” The research nurse then said, “I can’t wait to see your labs today.” They both insisted my eyes looked so much brighter and that I had the “positive make-up sign,” meaning that I must be feeling better because I’d had the energy to put on make-up again.

I don’t know much about my labs from Friday other than that my iron and hemoglobin were both the same – a tad on the low side. I am supposed to start taking an iron supplement. Yep, let’s throw one more thing in there in constipation’s favor. Thrilled about this, as you can tell.

I had also lost another 6 pounds in 2 weeks, which I was not happy about. But then I realized that my belly didn’t feel as swollen with ascitis, so I am hoping that’s where most of the weight loss came from.

Christmas was thoroughly savored in the Walker household. I couldn’t even estimate the number of times I’ve thought to myself, “Thank you, Father” over the last week. To have so much energy, to feel so “normal”, to spend so little time in doctor’s offices during the break – I am so so very thankful. God is merciful and God is ever good to me.

I owe several people thank yous: Carolyn and daughters for decorating our mailbox, whoever spent considerable time raking and bagging our leaves, all of you who openly or anonymously sent us money to make our Christmas a little sweeter, you who donated to Agape in our Anna’s name, and many more I’m sure I’m forgetting. My love and thanks to you all. Our cup overflows.

I believe more good things are in store. But no matter what may come, my God still carries me. I don’t deserve His goodness, but He pours it down. Thank you, sweet Father. I climb in your lap, I rest in your shadow, I put my head on your shoulder, and I will wait for you.

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