Good Morning! It’s early but I’ve been up for a while. I’ve been in and out of sleep for the last hour and thinking and praying about the day. I also wanted to share another health update.  I was downtown yesterday again (yes… that’s three times this week!) and my team continue to feel that we are on the right track with fighting the lung infection and the secondary cold that linger around.  A CT scan of my lungs has been arranged for next week along with a once a month IV treatment that will help to boost my immune system. I am thankful that even though I have a lot of appointments next week they are all scheduled on the same day. This makes a world of difference! I continue to have a lot of optimism about my health and I’m in good spirits.

That said… it’s been a difficult few weeks, physically and emotionally and I want to write it out here both for my own benefit (and future reminder… I’m such a glass-half-full kinda gal that as I look back I often forget how I was really feeling) and so that you also can understand what’s going on and how to best pray for me and my family.

Physical

Breathing: The lung/chest infection has left me pretty short of breath.  Climbing even just one flight of stairs is like running a race (okay… I’ve never run a race but I can imagine…) and I’m left pretty winded, breathing shallow breaths, trying to recover. If I do need to climb the stairs I’m always mindful of all the things I need to get from one floor to the next. If I forget something on another floor, I often ask for someone else to get it. Breathing is also difficult. I feel a tightness around my lungs constantly and my breaths are short and shallow. I have also developed quite the cough and when I’m in a coughing fit, it makes my breathing all the more difficult. I do feel that I am coughing less but my body is sore from the strain and it is difficult to breathe deeply for an effective cough. My muscles are sore from the coughing.

Weight Gain: I’ve been on a high dose of prednisone for a while now in order to treat the graft-vs-host disease in my mouth. One of the common side effects of this drug is water retention and weight gain.  In the last 4 months I have gained 40 pounds which is significant. While looking at websites that talk about this effect they often refer to the swelling in the face as “moon face” and the fat storages on the back as “buffalo hump” and these are all true of me.  I also noticed the other day that I have three chins.  My body has swollen beyond what is comfortable, in some places leaving bright red stretch mark stripes. I feel constantly that my skin has been stretched beyond it’s limits. I have difficulty with mobility and simple tasks like tying my shoes, getting dressed, turning to look behind me, taking of my jacket or getting up and down from the couch. We are in the process of reducing this medication, slowly. It is not one that can be just cut off and the hope is that once the dose is much lower that these effects will be reversed.  I’ve always been pretty small and never really had to worry about body image so this has been new for me. I look in the mirror and often wonder who’s reflection that I see. I don’t write this to complain or even for reassurance that “everything will be normal soon” or “you’re still beautiful” or… I know these things. I know these things deeply.

Emotions: The last few weeks have been crazy for me to in an emotional way.  I think in part that it is due to the medications that I am on. I find that I have a difficult time focusing on tasks and bringing them to completion.  My thoughts are often muddled and I have a short attention span. I have also been overly weepy in the past few weeks. The tears seem to come from no where, at any time.  The weepiness is not connected to sadness but often to a sense of being overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by kindness, by love, by thoughtfulness… really… anything sets it off.

This verse really summarizes how I feel.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I’m not sure what else to say so I’ll sign off for today.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers for me and my family. We love you guys and feel supported and surrounded by your love.
Love Heather
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