Hope today finds you well. Just wanted to give you an update. Joel had chemo round #6 this week. As the chemo rounds have gone on he has had more & more of a difficult time with nausea. Now, I know we have all experienced nausea before but this is like nausea on steroids. Certain sounds make him gag, smells will make him gag as will looking at certain kinds of foods. When we leave the house I no longer wear perfume because the smell of it is too much for him to handle. It’s awful & I feel so bad for him. When they give him the chemo they simultaneously give him a nausea drug through his IV. We also have 3 different prescriptions at home for him. He dislikes taking the medicines because it makes him loopy & tired but you have to do what you have to do. Here we are, a full week later, & the nausea is just starting to slowly taper off.As you know Joel gets his blood counts taken twice a week every week. Yesterday his blood counts were the lowest they have ever been at 300. His previous lowest point was 500. Normal range is between 5,000-10,000. Whenever they get that low a blood transfusion is always something that is a possibility but something we want to avoid. Thankfully they haven’t made him do that yet. Instead they have given him an antibiotic to help prevent/fight against infection & that seems to help. I step back & look at all the medicines he is on from chemo, to nausea, to antibiotics. It is a wonder our bodies are able to handle as much as they can. A few other small things he has been dealing with is sporadic body cramps that will make him grab his hand or leg & scream with pain. As quickly as it starts it is normally over but it is painful for him. His skin has also started to get very, very dry. All of these symptoms are all normal side effects of chemotherapy. I have started to rub cocoa butter on his arms & legs every night for him. I actually like the time together & like to be able to do something helpful for him. I think for the rest of our lives the smell of cocoa butter will always remind us of this crazy time in our life. His hair has also started to somewhat grow back & it is, believe it or not, blonde!! I tease him that if he grows it long enough he could have Justin Bieber hair ha ha. They have told us that these are just baby hairs & that is why it is soft & light. They also told us to expect it to fall out again & for this process to happen several times until chemo is over. He recently lost his eyelashes & most of his eyebrows. The loss of his eyebrows was pretty devastating to him & has made him very self conscious. I still think he looks incredibly handsome & tell him every chance I get. Lastly, can you believe it is already time for us to make another trip to Houston? We can’t either but the time is now upon us. We leave Sunday afternoon & will return on Tuesday. Normally we would have made the trip a little later in the week but that time would fall on Christmas. We will be heading out earlier but it is nice because we will be able to be home for Christmas (next chemo round is 12/27). Christmas has taken on a much different tone for us this year. It is not about gifts but rather about being together. I have refused to run around getting stressed out. That has always been the part of Christmas that I detest but I would still fall prey to it. Not this year. Christmas for us is about celebrating the birth of our Savior who gave his life for ours & the celebration of each day we get to live out that life. No day, just like every holiday together, is ever a given. We want to make sure that with this one, as well as future ones, we keep things simple & keep the focus on what life is really about. We are so blessed. Please keep Joel & I in your prayers. We need prayer for a safe trip & clear test results. Also, Joel is starting to experience extreme fatigue with everything that he has been through. His surgery was 6 months ago & he has been constantly poked & prodded on a consistent basis since then. We still have 9 more months of it to go. His doesn’t deserve to go through this. No one does. My heart continually breaks for him but I am also amazed at his strength & resolve. As always, thank you for your prayers. You never know what a difference your prayers make in our life. I believe that they enter the very throne room of God where He is moving on our behalf. We need Him to continue to move mountains in our life.
We love you, Sarah & Joel