Chemo #13: Update

Hi friends! Happy to report I was able to receive my 13th treatment on Thursday! Praise the Lord! Mark and I are headed to Dallas next week and hoping for good test results and a positive meeting with the Liver surgeon. I had a great “cool cap crew” again this week and was happy to catch up with friends.

The picture below is of two long time friends. (I’ve known Natalee since Kindergarten and Anna since junior high.) Suffice it to say, we had plenty of things to catch up on. My sweet friend Courtney Chadwick Miller was scheduled to be with us during this treatment but had to miss because her youngest child has the flu (poor thing). Speaking of the flu…..my oncologist encouraged my husband and ANYONE who is around me to get a flu shot this year. Sooooo if you haven’t yet and you’re planning to come hang out….it would be splendid if you could swing a flu shot first💙 #HerdImmunity

If I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling with accepting the inevitable weight gain (and other side effects) that come with the steroid (dexamethasone) I get through my IV each week. At this point, steroids are not optional for me because the longer I’m on carboplatin (one of my chemo drugs) I’m more likely to have an allergic reaction to it. Nevertheless, I asked my doctors if they could cut my steroids in half this week (brilliant right?) Wrong. The steroids do prevent any type of allergic reaction but they also help with nausea. My husband Mark warned me that “we” might be paying for that decision this weekend….and I’ll say he was mostly correct. I was able to get out a little today and enjoy the fall weather (pic below of quite possibly the most patient man in the world)…..

……….buttttt I’m back in bed now….blogging from my phone at 6pm. Let’s just say I think I’ll take the full dose of the steroids next time. (I’m sharing this in case anyone reading is also struggling with the steroid side effects like I am). I’m trying to keep in mind that as long as I’m at a healthy weight, the way I look is not at ALL a priory right now. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to that’s gone through chemotherapy has gained weight while on steroids (except ONE unicorn of a friend, Danielle). Anyway, despite having less steroids this time, chemo still went pretty well and I didn’t start feeling bad until I got home.

On to the next topic, needles. I don’t know what it is about needles…..but I don’t like them. Never have, never will. However, since I get shots and labs every week……plus chemo and countless IV’s…..I’ve had to deal with it. Here’s what helps me:

1. Put lidocaine on the spot about 30 minutes prior, cover with plastic wrap. Helps with the stick. (My friend Jill sends me a text every week “don’t forget your lidocaine!” My friends really are the best.)

2. Tell the nurse ahead of time you don’t like needles. I’m a proponent of full disclosure.

3. Ask the nurse if they can use a “butterfly needle” (I think the smallest needle where I get labs is a “baby blue butterfly needle”).

4. It sounds silly, but have a nurse or friend hold your hand and recite some things that you like or that you are grateful for out loud. I usually say random things like “HomeGoods on a Sunday, Pottery Barn, Baskets, Malibu, Cold Weather” ….you get the idea. Here’s a candid from one of those moments last week 🙂

One more topic…..I can’t even BEGIN to thank everyone for things they’ve sent or done for me since I’ve been diagnosed. Countless keto meals, personalized blankets, books, cards, lawn care….even socks, coloring books, and bracelets embroidered/embossed with fun things like “f#ck cancer!” on them….(thank you Elizabeth, KiKi, and the girls from MMR). My friend Courtney Miller (apparently) sent a mass group text to our friends around my birthday in July to make sure I felt extra special this year. I could go on and on……just know that I read every single card, text, and email. I appreciate it so much.

Yesterday, my friend Natalee Allen Menge (again, who I have known since kindergarten) surprised me with some front porch fall decor…..how sweet is that? Her daughter Charlotte helped out and was wearing the same plaid we wore at Cedar Creek for our uniforms. (Blast from the past!) Charlotte looks SO much like Natalee did at that age.

What’s funny is the SAME day, I get a package in the mail from Sarah Sweeney, another Cedar Creek friend who I have known since kindergarten. The support and love I’ve felt from my hometown of Ruston has been incredible. I know school was not a positive experience for everyone….but I was lucky enough to go to school with mostly same group of people from Pre K through 12th grade. It’s a small place and as it turns out- is filled with some really wonderful people.

Philippians 4:4-6 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

For everyone who is joining in our prayer and petition for healing. Thank you. I know God is listening. 💛

-xo-

⭐️Holly Hollis Stars⭐️

12 thoughts on “Chemo #13: Update

  1. Funny you should mention needles in your blog. I went for my 4th chemo treatment on Friday. I usually say something like I’m a hard stick…hard to find my veins. But this week I didn’t say anything because they’ve done a fabulous job each week. Not so much on Friday. She tried but got no blood. Then moved down to the underside of my forearm…ouch! Started to get blood but it quickly stopped. Asked another nurse to help. She drew blood from the top of my hand. So ive got 3 lovely bruises today. Small in the grand scheme but I’m sure you can relate. Keep strong in your journey. You’ve got this!

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    1. I’ve completed 4 weekly sessions and have 8 left. Going great except started losing my hair after #3. Its been an emotional week because of it. I know it’s just hair and it will grow back, but it’s hard and emotional. And by the way, you look awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, I’m so sorry. I “shed” a lot…..but have only lost about 35-40% of my hair. I can only imagine how that feels. Losing my lashes and eyebrows was traumatizing enough! You stay strong and keep the faith! What kind of BC do you have? Where are you getting treated?

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  2. Weight gain?! What weight gain?! You are quite possibly the most attractive woman I know!! Your “weight gain” is probably my weight goal ( and probably one I Can’t reach!). As always I love your blog and you. You continue to be my super hero! And your side kick Mark is pretty awesome himself 😘

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  3. Hi Holly! You probably don’t remember me, as I was one of your first stops on this journey. I did your very first PET scan. I prayed for you while you sat in my chair. I guess I was the first person to know what that PET scan revealed and it shook me to my core. I think about you all the time. You have made an impact on more people’s lives than you even know. I just wanted to let you know that and that I have been praying for you as well. P.S. I also wondered if you ever got better with needles. P.S.S. No one should ever have to get better with needles!

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    1. Awe, thank you so much Jennifer for the prayers. The first Pet Scan was definitely a shock to all of us. And of course I remember you! (I have NO doubt I was a hot mess that day!!) As my faith has grown stronger during this process, I like to think I’m a LITTLE less of a hot mess though! Haha 😉 Thank you so much for following along and praying. That means the world to me. Stop me if you ever see me at Woman’s! Would love to see you.

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