Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast

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The Innkeeper’s Cancer Battle: Make Every Week a Good Week

I started a new med with my chemo last week, and I definitely felt it. (And not just because I was at chemo center from 8am until 4pm on Monday!) It wasn’t just the new med, but after chemo I had a rough time feeling like myself again. In fact, I would say it was Tuesday this week before I really started to feel more “normal.”

It sort of feels like the “bad week” stepped into my good week. There were some definite bright spots, but it’s been a bit challenging. I had a list of concerns when I went in for the consult this week, and I believe we have strategies to address each one. Please pray that I’ll bounce back better this coming week. It leads into my birthday trip to Galena, and I’d really appreciate your prayers that I’d have the stamina and strength to enjoy it. Dreaming and planning keep me going, but the actual experience is what I’m looking forward to!

Last week wasn’t anything like the first week of chemo when I hit a pretty significant bump in the road in the week following. I was transported by ambulance twice. I was in the hospital for five days. I went through multiple tests and procedures, including CT scans, a blood transfusion, and the threat of another colonoscopy.

At the time, I felt like I lost my Good Week. So, I am reclaiming it! And moving forward, I believe they should all be Good Weeks! Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” He is good. I am resting in His enduring love. I should be thankful for every week.

So… I’m now calling that week a Good Week. All the blood draws, scans, and procedures identified the source of my problems. I got to know terrific medical staff that I would never have met. And one introduced herself saying that she knew about our bed and breakfast – her friend and colleague had stayed with us and recognized my name on the procedure list! The best stories were told in the middle of a sleepless night when the nurse got all excited, telling me all about the wonderful services she’d experienced at a fancy spa in Chicago. These experiences I can only dream about, and I’ll never be able to afford, but they were so much fun to hear about! And we shared some laughs along the way, too. It was an even better week because I was able to talk them into waiting for the results of an upper GI scope before scheduling the colonoscopy. And… it turns out that it wasn’t needed! Not that time.

It was decided that I needed to postpone Chemo, so I delayed starting again until I could see all the follow-up doctors and get some of my strength back. By delaying chemo, I was able to really have a couple of Really Good Weeks. We met new friends for lunch at Broadgauge. Chef Susan Steffan drove down to spend a few days caring for Glenn, me, and many of our guests. Mac and Terry came for an overnight visit. Glenn and I took a Good Week Getaway to Amana Colonies in Iowa and had a wonderful time. I think I’m going to start writing about our Good Week Getaways. We’ve had some great trips and maybe you would like to experience some of the things we’ve experienced!

While I was in the hospital for five days, I had a face-to-face conversation with the doctor that perforated my colon. In front of two of his students. We’d had similar conversations by phone, but I felt then that all he did was roll back into his medical best practice speech and what the textbooks say to do. I needed him to understand that he needed to consider the patient. He needs to see me. My life changed the day he perforated my colon. My life changed the day he went around that big old tumor. The purpose of the test, as I understand it, was to tell if I have cancer. It was immediately apparent that I do, so in my mind, “Mission Accomplished” – get out! I understand that he wanted to get more information clinically to provide better treatment options. From my perspective, he should have mitigated the risk of proceeding by identifying additional ways to gather the information. From my perspective. As his patient.

We had a face-to-face conversation about it. I believe we came to an understanding. Yes, he apologized. However, he apologized before. Before, it was more I’m sorry, but… let me run through all the textbook standards / clinical best practices for the 59th time. This time, in my heart of hearts, I hope he really gets it. And maybe his two young protégées did, too. There are two sides. That procedure changed my life. I was impacted by what happened. The resulting emergency surgery and outcome weren’t so great. But, it was good that I had the procedure because it started the cancer treatment journey to try to extend my life. Prior to that, I had no idea that I had cancer, widespread or otherwise. No idea. Good week? I think I have to say it weighs heavily in that direction!

While in the hospital that week, I maneuvered my way from Intermediate Care (step down from Intensive Care) to the general surgery floor – mostly because I wanted fewer interruptions throughout the day and night, and… I wanted to wash my hair. I gave up those glorious high ceilings with tall windows and automatic blinds and a beautiful bathroom with a shower that looked brand new in exchange for a cavernous gray room from 1960 with two small windows with mini blinds and a shower room down the hall, more steps than I can count. (But it was quiet!)

And… I got my hair washed! I may have about done myself in, but I got my hair washed! However, after walking down the hall, showering, and shampooing, I think the reality of low hemoglobin set in, and I didn’t know how I could walk all the way back to my room. I asked the Tech assisting me for a walker and that saved the day. She was more worried about getting my arms in the sleeves of the second hospital gown I was using as a robe. I said tie on like Superman’s cape; I need to get back to my room. I was so weak! I sure didn’t do much after that! I pretty much fell into the bed and called it a day. (But I had clean hair!!)

Sometime around 11 PM, I was finally untethered from the IV pole for the first time in four days. Such freedom! I could actually just get up and walk to the bathroom without being unplugged and replugged, dragging an IV pole. I still had pieces and parts hanging from my arm and the port, but I was free! For the moment, at least!

Was it a Good Week? I’m saying yes. I had good care, they identified my medical issues for treatment, and I’m still here!

When I first started chemo, I made plans for the “Good Weeks.” I planned ways to make that one week so good that I could forget the next week (chemo). Then, the Good Week went haywire. Now I’m determined that every week will be a good week. Even when there are bumps in the road. I should be thankful for every day, every hour, even when faced with challenges. The Lord keeps giving me days, and I’m happy to be here. I need to keep my eyes on Him and figure out a way to make every week a Good Week.

What do you consider a good week? What makes it a bad week? Don’t you think we can find good in every week? In every day? Let’s try that! I’m determined to make every week a good week, finding good even when it’s wrapped in not-so-good.

I hope that you can, too!

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Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is an award-winning all-suite bed and breakfast inn located in Jacksonville, Illinois. Hospitality is our hallmark. We offer many amenities, including overnight accommodations in a 130-year-old vintage mansion, Wi-Fi, expansive lawn and gardens, all-season fireplaces, and multi-course breakfasts. Come see us!

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2 thoughts on “The Innkeeper’s Cancer Battle: Make Every Week a Good Week

  1. This is the day that the Lord hath made..I will rejoice and be glad in it..His words never change, just the events of the day. God gets us though the not so good days to still make it a good week. Your encouragement is infectious!! Continued prayers,that include enjoying your planned vacation, cover you throughout your day and night

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