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Updates

Read the story as it happened. Starting with the first e-mail I sent to my family and friends, I've compiled my updates I wrote as the story unfolded. Take a few minutes to experience More Great as those who love me did. 

Update 24: March 13

Melody Raines

"Watch out for day three!" Before I started chemo, everyone told me the side
effects would hit on the third day. I was sick by the third hour. "Early
bloomer," the nurse called me. I could barely tolerate the bag of saline
they pumped into me on day two for my required rehydration routine. Sometime during day three I finally ate crackers or applesauce and drank Gatorade. Around day five the steroid kicked in, and I couldn't eat enough.
 
But this new cocktail is different. The anti-nausea meds that used to sit by
my clock are back in my crate of pill bottles. I used to sleep with a bin in
my bed. I've put that away now. And the prefilled cups of my salt-and-baking -soda gargle recipe no longer clutter my bathroom counter. I'm so nausea-free, I may even pack a lunch for future treatments. No, that's not a good idea. They're giving me Benadryl. I'm asleep in 10 minutes. The Benadryl works so well, sometimes the electronic cuff that checks my blood
pressure has to restart. It thinks I'm dead.
 
My toes and fingertips may actually be dead. They're orange, and I can
barely feel them. But I feel the aches in my bones, muscles, and joints. And
I have some other new side effects. My nose bleeds every morning. And I make
my bed four times a day. Exhaustion hits whenever and wherever it wants. I
fight it by walking that third-of-an-uphill mile to the mailbox. Sometimes I
consider bumming a ride home.
 
Other times I walk past the mailbox and on to the fitness center. Two weeks
ago I pedaled a quarter mile on the stationary bike. The computer said I
biked 6 mph. That's how fast I ran in the fourth grade. Last week I improved
to 7 mph and pedaled a half mile. It doesn't really matter though. No
matter how fast or how far I go, the computer always says, "GREAT WORKOUT!"
After the bike, I do 15 reps on the three weight machines--without weights.
Then I lie on the floor and flail my arms and legs while I hold my 1 lb
dumbells. I flail for five minutes with ten minutes of rest interspersed. It
takes me an hour to complete a 20-minute GREAT WORKOUT.
 
That 20 minutes includes walking my bald head back down the hill. I won't be
doing that much longer though. My hair's growing proportionately to my
biking ability. This week I doubled my distance and my fuzz. If you plan to
rub my bald head, you'd better hurry.
 
Melody
 
Chemo round 10 is next Monday, March 19. After that, only 46 Mondays
to go.
 
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me" (Psalm 54:4).
"I love you, O Lord, my strength" (Psalm 18:1).