You know those moments in life when you think to yourself, "Really, could this get any worse?!" and then more often than not it does. Well that pretty much sums up my weekend!
Over the course of being on Alectinib I have experienced a roller coster of side effects. These have consisted of swollen feet, shooting pains in my muscles, muscle soreness, trouble sleeping, and night sweats (sorry Braden). Everything has felt more annoying than truly hindering my health. If anything my spirits were improving because I managed to survive an hour long yoga class that rejuvenated me from a lot of defeat I had been feeling. Then my side effects decided to take a move from Colorado weather's playbook and completely change on me. Out of nowhere I started to experience a brain fog/lightheaded sensation that was almost giving me an out of body feeling. This was topped off with intense headaches and an all too familiar feeling of nausea.These new side effects were also creating the feeling of deja vu from when I initially experienced symptoms due to my tumors. By Friday this had been going on for a few days and decided it would be best to inform my doctor. Without a second thought I was told to go to the ER right away for an MRI!
It was 4:30 in the evening when Braden and I arrived at the emergency room. There we waited briefly, only giving Braden enough time to check out the frozen yogurt machine, before we were whisked back to a room. What should have been a fairly quick process turned into hours of being the resident pin cushion. Four nurses and a good ten needles later an IV was placed. All that was left was my favorite injection of chemicals (contrast) and a whole lot of not moving. Note to self: Next MRI DO NOT tell the technician you don't care about what music they play. A good 30 minutes of what sounded like Today's Top Rap station about made me squeeze the emergency claustrophobic ball. Well, shortly after the needle and music torture I was able to return to Braden where we waited. Between the lack of food and the tv being on ESPN my patience was running thin at this point. Close to an hour later a doctor came in bearing our first good news. The tumor in my frontal lobe was completely gone while the brain stem tumor had shrunk significantly. What's the cause of the issues I was experiencing?! His guess was that it's just the medication obviously doing its job. Following this news you would think we would feel an overwhelming amount of relief, but all we wanted was to be set free from the ER and head to our favorite local spot for hummus, falafel's and pita bread.
At this point, I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Where's this pouring rain that made everything worse?" and I'm getting there, but it's important to mention that in the midst of struggle we sometimes can ignore the good. It's almost a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from further hurt and disappointment. Well my defenses were high as we got out of our car and made our way into the house. By this point it was almost 10pm and I was exhausted. Mix in rain, full hands, hunger and an untraditional route into our home and you have what turned me into Lloyd Christmas. With a quick catch of my foot I went down with nothing to catch me but my face. Quickly Braden rushed me inside to asses the damage. There I stood in front of the mirror with wet leaves stuck to my hair, a bloody face, bruised knees and chipped front tooth. After seeing that no severe damage had been done Braden just held me as I cried. It was a moment of truly hitting rock bottom. All the challenges we had faced up until this point seemed to feel heavier with just one simple fall. Why is it that we seem to get hit when we're already down? I wish I could say I knew the answer to this with all my experiences. Yet, I can't. I do, however, believe as much as God is for us, evil is against us. To me it seems to thrive when we are at our weakest. Regardless of how we are attacked it's key we persevere and continue to turn to God. Don't hide your emotions...scream and cry, but wipe it all away in time and fix your eyes on Him. It's amazing how He can take our lowest moments and make them our most defining!