Lessons from the Infusion Room

We learn so much from those around us.  I love watching people.  As I settled into the recliner for my first round of chemotherapy, I just couldn’t wait to get started.  Finally, an action step directed towards battling the lung cancer!  I did not expect to leave my first chemotherapy session with a keen appreciation for so many.  Lessons from the infusion room.

The treatment experience is personalized.  You walk in and the nursing staff knows your story.  They have studied all the evidence regarding your case.  First lesson:  everyone wants to feel like those who are important in their life know their story.  You are much more than a name on the schedule.  You are a person who requires personalized care that is carefully monitored.  I had a wonderful nurse, Deanna, who patiently listened to my list of questions, provided me with clear explanations every step of the way, and left me with a packet of written material that I have already referred to on several occasions.  My mind can only absorb so much at one time, and there is a lot to learn about cancer treatments.

My chemotherapy session took the following path:  first, lab work was completed to help the staff make final decisions on how my body will respond to the amount of chemotherapy scheduled for the infusion; next, two different nausea medications were  administered (this helped to put my mind at ease); finally, two different chemotherapy medications were administered.  In my case, I received Alimta and Carboplatin.  They are both used to treat advanced lung cancer.  We will work through three rounds of treatments and then complete a PET scan to see if tumors are shrinking.

As I settled into the infusion routine, I began to watch and listen to patients around me.  Second lesson:  patients lift and serve those around them even during difficult days.  I watched as a seasoned cancer patient reassured a young woman who was there for her first treatment.  This young patient was worried about an upcoming procedure to insert a port into her chest.  The seasoned patient talked her through the process and answered her many questions.  I loved the seasoned patient’s example of recognizing a service opportunity and gently finding a way to minister.  These two women became friends, laughed together, and shed a few tears.  The young woman has a very difficult chemo schedule.  I marveled at the tenderness that women bring as they share their light with others  The seasoned patient confidently brought her light, wisdom and courage — bald head and all.  I said a quiet prayer for both of these women.  Other patients in the room modeled how to make yourself comfortable, the importance of a family and friend support system during treatment, and a fierce determination to fight!  We all have an individualized plan that is connected through a common thread of courage.

Finally, I was carried by the united prayer, faith and hope of so many.  Third lesson:  faith and hope help us remember the Savior is the Redeemer of our soul.  Through His atonement, he will make us whole.  I wish I could personally thank each individual who has reached out, sent cards, written beautiful messages on this blog and other social media, organized prayers and fasting in their community, and written beautiful prayers that sound like hymns.  Just yesterday, I received an email from one of the principals I work closely with.  Her community has been in contact with her.  They want to pray and fast for me.  I do not know them all individually, but they know I love and work hard for their children.  Tears flooded my eyes as I pictured a humble congregation praying in my behalf.  I have countless stories like this one.   I am not sure there has been a time in my life where the atonement has increased my capacity to appreciate, cherish, and love the faith of so many in such a way as I do now.  Your faith increases my hope and courage.

And so, I end with the words to a beautiful hymn that have been ringing through my mind:

Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.
1st Chemo_July 15
First chemotherapy treatment — July 15, 2016
Adenocarcinoma — watch out!  We are coming after you.

4 thoughts on “Lessons from the Infusion Room

  1. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this journey. So often, we have questions and do not ask them when it regards cancer and its treatment, for fear that we will upset those who are battling. Knowing gives us understanding. Understanding gives us empathy; empathy is much more healing than sympathy. Thank you for helping me understand.

    You’re right, Teri… Faith is a beautiful gift from God. The overwhelming sense of love and encouragement that can only be felt during a close moment with Him… I take those with me. And… When times are hard or the struggle is real, I look back to those moments of faith and clarity. Thank you for reminding me of their beauty and place in my life.

    Dina and I will continue sending up loving prayers. I love you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Teri, I just learned! I am so sorry you are having to go through this. You are, and have always been, such a special person. From your blogs it is clear you can feel the Lord’s love for you — what a blessing. These experiences – walking into unknown territory – are scary. I remember well the feelings associated with doctor’s visits, scans, chemo, Mayo clinic… I am glad you can feel His nearness and tender comfort.
    There are so many people here (in your old neighborhood) who are just learning about it and will want to pray and fast for you. You are VERY loved by everyone who knows you. Much love, Lori

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teri,

    We love you! Your blog is so inspiring and your thoughts are as beautiful as you are. You are in our prayers and we are grateful you are feeling strength from the prayers of so many who love you. You are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for allowing us to join you in this journey. Cancer is ugly and awful, but so many beautiful lessons are learned through the process. My mother 8 years ago was diagnosed with stage 4 uteran cancer. The cancer was in her blood, lymph nodes and throughout her entire body. They gathered our family together to let us know my mom only had a short time to live. I was in my twenties at the time with a young family and the thought of losing my mom so early was unbearable. Through chemo, priesthood blessings and many, many miracles, we saw the hand of God in her life–along with all of ours. She is a living miracle and has been completely cancer free for five years! The doctors have no explanation for her miracle, other than they said divine intervention saved her life. I know if it’s God’s will, this will be your case too Teri! Whether my Mom lived or not, we saw our Heavenly Father’s hand through the process. Our family grew closer together and received endless blessings from this experience. I am excited for you and your family to see miracles and feel the love of the Lord more abundantly in your life. You will make it through! Keep up your optimism. Love you!!

    Shandra Madsen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Teri, you are such a wonderful example to me and everyone that knows you. You have such love and and compassion for others. You are so strong and have an amazing positive attitude. I know that our Heavenly Father is so proud of you and of everything you do for others. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Stay positive and strong and I know the Lord will be with you and your family through this hard trial.
    Love and prayers your way!!
    Sheri

    Liked by 1 person

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