...all my plans have changed. The neuropathy from Taxol hit me like a ton of bricks. One day I was fine, the next I noticed some burning in my feet, and the next my feet and hands were completely numb. The 21st was my last chemo & I didn't even know it (or get to ring the bell). My oncologist said he knew I was only going to make it through one or two more treatments &, at this point, surgery was more important than one or two more chemo's. I was given the choice to stop, take a week or two off & see if there was any improvement, or plow through with no guarantee that the numbness is ever going to get any better and the possibility of it getting worse. I chose to quit.
While I do not doubt my decision, this does push surgery up from the beginning of Jan. to the beginning of Dec. - December 5th to be exact - and that brings a whole bunch of issues. I have worked full time the entire time I have been getting chemo. I have only missed one day of work & I'm very proud of that, but it's about to change. I will be out six weeks with this first surgery & have at least two remaining (the second reconstruction & a hysterectomy) surgeries. I have mentioned before that we have only lived in Tulsa since Jan. & I started my job at the beginning of Feb. This means I don't have 12 months in yet & I'm not eligible for FMLA. I also have to continue paying for my health insurance during this time. I have about 115 hours of PTO & I'm only assuming they will let me use all of it - I'm going to HR next week to find out what my options are. This still leaves me with a little over 3 weeks of paid leave - half of what I need. I'm so stressed out about this - I've given myself a fever blister. We have all of our normal expenses plus extra Christmas expenses & now we are going to have a loss of half of our income for a while. Add that to the knowledge that we already have gotten several thousand dollars in medical bills & you have me as a hot mess. While I know this isn't my fault, I am having a lot of guilt. I'm trying to relax, remember that the Lord will provide for us, & let people that say they want to help do so.
We have already had offers of help. People who have gone through this have been reaching out to let me know about their experience & offer advice. My mom is coming to town for "as long as you need" & I know she means that. A friend made an online "meal train" & every meal has been signed up for after just a few hours. We are very grateful for that & it takes a big worry off me.
I know that we will be ok - but I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. This is the part I'm the most nervous about & it is every aspect. What am I going to look like? How much is this going to hurt? How long before I can go back to work? How are we going to afford this? How am I going to make this work when I can't even raise my arms above my head or lift anything? I'm sure there are going to be questions that I haven't even though of yet!
Also, please give me grace if I can't remember something or have to turn down an invitation. I have 19 days off work before this happens and only 7 of those days fall on weekends. Rich will have to work 2 of those 7 so that leaves 5 days to get in some family time before I am out of order for a while. We are going to try & fit in as much "fun stuff" together as we can. I hate that I'm going miss the activity that comes with one of my favorite times of the year but I know it's better to be this way for one & be around for many more.