Day of the Fevers

(This is Nathan again, typing for Emily.)

Today was a hard day, starting from last night. I was able to sleep in my bed all night, except I had to get up every hour or so to change sides. Because of the incision I can’t just roll over from one side to the other, and because of my implants I can’t just sleep on my back. So I had to wake up each time, and climb all the way out of bed, and then climb all the way back in onto my other side.

It was painful, and because I needed Nathan’s help, the longer we got into the night, the more exhausted both of us were. But it got my body ready so that, by 5 o’clock I was able to move into my reading chair, where I spent most of the day.

Right from the beginning, the battle of the day was fevers. We were told to expect fevers, and there’s a certain temperature and duration that if the fevers exceed that, I have to go back to the hospital. The thought of that just makes me cry. But fevers are an expected part of both surgery recovery and chemo. They also told us the third day would always be the worst after any chemo cycle–and that would be today.

So how do we fight it? With cool rags, with fever medicine, with Popsicles and cold showers. The fever breaking usually happened while I was sleeping, drenching my clothes, hurting my bones and giving me nightmares. It also made my pain worse. Two friends came to sit with me today, and they said that as I was sleeping they would see me have muscle spasms, followed by shortness of breath and moaning, as if my body were fighting itself.

The nausea was still bad today, but I was able to try eating more and a greater variety of food. I even made my way to the kitchen while Nathan was sleeping and made myself an early morning slice of toast. That’s the only thing I was able to eat all of today. I did get to enjoy some fruit salad, and half a bowl of taco soup. In the evening I had to have nausea medicine and gum to make sure it all stayed down.

But it wasn’t all bad today.

This morning our friend Rose came with chemo supplies, including emergen-c, chemo mouth wash, and lemon drops to fight the metallic taste.


Sherrolyn, who helped me after both implant surgeries, came in time this morning to help with my shower while Nathan took the kids to church. She also massaged my feet and my hands with lotion, and read me family history stories from Switzerland. She stayed while Nathan had choir practice and went home teaching, and helped get Toddler and Five up from their naps, and brought them to me to play counting games until Nathan got home.

Nathan’s parents came to visit for dinner, and played with the kids.

And after the kids were down for bed and everyone else had left, Nathan and I even got some alone time together.

And that’s when the first bit of my hair fell out. Just a small thin clump. A little handful. And I got mad at it and threw it on the ground.

I felt defeated, but I knew I wasn’t, so I asked for help blogging so we could still find the good things. Another fever came along just then as well, so I sat here with a wet cloth on my head as Nathan typed for me.

This is Nathan. Emily asked me to finish this blog, but didn’t give me any particular direction. Ah, there are so many ways that could go delightfully wrong. But instead of taking my shot at hacking the blog, I’ll finish with this:

C. S. Lewis said that you don’t know who you really are when things are going well, in the same way that you don’t really know if there are rats in the cellar by turning on the light and banging some pans together before you go down the stairs.

In less than two years of marriage, we’ve had miscarriages, the tragic death of her mother, at least 20 emotionally and sometimes physically scarred foster children (or more, depending on how you count it), and now cancer. It has not been a picnic. But what I have learned about myself is 1) I really need to watch my temper when I am tired or hungry, and 2) I love Emily enough that I would trade these months for anything. I know for sure it’s not just newlywed twitterpation. She’s a keeper.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Day of the Fevers — 2 Comments

  1. She is! So thankful for the blessing you have of family,and church! Praying continually and fervently! You know I think the fever and earlier than expected hair loss is a sign that the cancer is already on the run and scared from all the blessing and prayers going up and covering your family!