Harder Family

Harder Family

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Update 12/3/23: Infusions

Psalm 41:3 "The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness." 

Psalm 6:2 "Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony."

It has been a few crazy days in our world. On Thursday morning, Wayne had a home health nurse come over and meet with us. It was so encouraging to see what services are available to us. For example, Wayne is able to receive PT and OT from home, which will save me extra trips out of the house. Additionally, the nurses will check in on him and are available any time we have a health question. 

Thursday afternoon, Wayne had his first Avastin infusion. It was our first time utilizing our new wheelchair ramp. It was a little scary hooking it up and making sure the thing didn't fall off. Wayne's appointment took forever, even though his actual infusion was only for 30 minutes. Due to the nature of the infusion, they had to run a bunch of medical tests before administering the medicine. We didn't get out of his appointment until 4:30. By that time, I was completely exhausted and worn out. Somehow when I was pushing the wheelchair on to the ramp, one of the wheels slipped off and got stuck. I may or may not have pitched a royal fit in the parking lot. I felt so overwhelmed by life and just completely broke down. Thankfully, after my little fit, I was able to maneuver the wheelchair and get it back on the ramp. I told Wayne it shows just how worn out I am and how much I need Jesus to get me through each day. Hanging on by a thread some days.

Friday was another early morning for me. I had to be at Baptist Hospital by 8 for my blood draw, followed by meeting with my doctor before my 3rd infusion. My friend, Rhonda, drove me to my appointment and hung out with me for most of the day. I also was fortunate to have my favorite nurse, Becky. Unfortunately, my liver enzymes were too high to receive my 3rd immunotherapy dose. We had to postpone it for my next infusion, which was a little disappointing because they have seen great results when all 3 medicines are given. I’m trusting God with the waiting and results.

I ordered a castor oil pack to use on my liver. The doctor said it’s worth trying to see if we can get the levels down. I guess due to the nature of the immunotherapy, my body can go into hyperdrive and attack other things besides just the cancer cells. This appears to be what happened this week. So, I’m buckling down and doing my part to hopefully get those levels down so I can receive another dose in 3 weeks at my next infusion.

My doctor, Hope, is the best. I’m so glad God brought her into my life.

So here we are 3 days after Wayne’s infusion and 2 days after mine. Wayne woke up with a bad headache. Thankfully, the home health nurses called and checked on him. They will contact the doctor and let him know so we know what to do next. We have waited to start the medicine that targets his IDH mutation until we can see what side effects we need to be aware of from the Avastin. I can tell I’m heading into day 3, which is always the worse. My body is starting to hurt this evening. Thankfully, my nausea has been minimal this time. I really do believe the sea-bands are helping a ton, as well as taking my anti nausea medicine regularly. 

This machine is amazing. It helps me with the pain in my hands and feet. Hallmark is always a go to during my recovery days.

In the midst of all of this, we are trying to continue to make memories. Micaela and Joella went with me to a play on Tuesday to see Holidays Around the World at EKU. 

We were blessed to have Jeff and Jody visit us yesterday. We have known them for many years. Jeff was our college pastor and they played a vital role in our lives. We love them a lot and are so thankful for their friendship and encouragement over the years.

I made a list of some chemo must haves in case anyone is looking for ideas to give to others going through chemo. These are the things that I have benefited from the most:

** Mittens and socks (ice) during chemo to prevent neuropathy.

** Weighted blanket: helps with body aches

** Gin-gins for nausea 

** Sea bands for nausea

** Lemon heads to awaken dull tastebuds the first few days after chemo

** Cloud massager for sore feet, hands and legs after chemo

** Phone screen holder for chemo time when hands are in ice mitts

** Turban Wrap for head

** XL Back and neck heating pad: perfect to keep you warm while icing your hands and feet during chemo.

Prayer Requests:

- Wayne: please pray for his headaches to diminish and for wisdom when to start his other medicine. Please also pray for his ankle to heal quickly.

- Rebecca: please pray for me as I enter the hardest day of my recovery. Please pray that my liver enzymes significantly decrease so I can continue with my immunotherapy.

- Kids: please pray for their hearts and that we can continue to be intentional with each day we have with them. Pray for Abigail, Grace and Naomi as they have finals this week and for safety for Abigail as she travels home next week.

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