Last night EJ thought he might be getting sick, but this morning he said he was feeling pretty good. He thinks maybe he is just tired and rundown. With JJ’s immune system so low, I do not know how he could keep from getting sick or what affect even a cold would have on him, so I hope we all can keep healthy.
EJ had his appointment with the eye doctor this morning. He decided to “shop local” and try a local ophthalmologist rather than go to the eye doctor at Walmart. EJ said that the doctor was skilled and the staff very nice, but he was shocked when he saw the cost of the visit (appointment plus new glasses). It was several hundred dollars more than at Walmart. YIKES! We won’t be going there again any time soon because, frankly, we can’t afford it.
The ophthalmologist had put eye drops in EJ’s eyes so EJ had trouble seeing afterwards. He was so focused on driving safely with blurry vision that he forgot to stop at the Pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions. I thought it was important to get JJ started on the Magic Mouthwash right away. There have been enough delays already in getting it, and open mouth sores can let in infections that JJ might not be able to fight off. So I asked EJ to cook lunch (he’s an excellent cook) while I drove to the Pharmacy for the meds. I am thankful that I now have enough anti-nausea meds and that there is no danger that I will run out of them during the Third Cycle of Chemo.
I poured JJ the prescribed amount of Magic Mouthwash in a small medicine cup, but he resisted taking it. I suspect that even if the remaining cycles of Chemo aren’t as bad as he fears, they will still be harder because he is getting increasingly weary of pokes, prods, pills, and other kinds of meds and procedures. He is tired of health problems and feeling sick. I talked him into taking the mouthwash by asking him to drink it since I already had it poured. He grumpily took it, and “swished and swallowed” as instructed.
In fascination I watched his various contorted facial expressions as he drank the Magic Mouthwash, and I couldn’t help but smile. He smiled when he looked up and saw me. “Ugh, this makes my tongue numb!” “So are you going to start talking like Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace when his tongue was numbed by the podracer???” I asked hopefully. “No, No, stop it, Mom,” he said, almost but not quite smiling.
“I hate this, Mom,” he sighed a few seconds later. I replied, “I know….but at least the liquid is easier to swallow than the huge pill.” He said, “The mouthwash is NOT a replacement for the antibiotic.” I replied, “I know, but the mouthwash will prevent and treat the mouth sores so that you don’t get an infection from them and have to take the huge antibiotic pills.”
A few seconds later I said thoughtfully, “You know, they call it Magic Mouthwash, which sounds really awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want to drink Magic Mouthwash?” Who knows? It could turn a person beautiful, or tiny or tall, or able to see hidden things, or take them to a different realm, or anything. The possibilities are endless. “But what they don’t tell you,” I continued, “is that it’s actually a witch’s magic potion that numbs your tongue and….” “No, No, stop it, Mom!” Sigh. No one appreciates my imaginative and fun fairytale theories.
Tomorrow morning we have an appointment with the oncologist. I always feel a mixture of hope and fear before we meet with doctors. Our previous appointment with the oncologist was MUCH better than we had imagined, but all the visits with doctors before then had been worse than we imagined. So we go to these appointments hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
I have had a few friends call me “strong” or “courageous” through this battle with cancer, which, I confess, amazes me. Really, I feel quite clueless and inept about handling all this and I am mostly learning as I go along.
I have found that the hardest parts of all this is when we first hear bad news. Bad news are a painful and numbing shock and take a while to absorb, process, and accept. These are the times when we have fears and tears. I also feel stabs of fear when I hear of a person losing his battle with cancer, especially if it’s the same sort of cancer as my JJ. However, we can’t live in those future “what ifs”–we have to push them away. We handle the day-to-day challenges–the treatments, the side affects, the struggles with swallowing medications, the weariness, the occasional low spirits–one step, one moment at a time. It’s not that bad. Most of the time we have hope and good spirits.
We find our strength primarily through our faith in God, of course. We also gain strength through the prayers, love, and kindnesss of our friends, who are INCREDIBLE. And we find strength in our ability to find humor in difficult situations.