Saturday, January 6, 2007

And I'm back.

In the house that I really haven't considered myself as "living" in since I was fourteen. There have been vacations, but I'm pretty sure since I left for highschool, I haven't lived here for longer than four, maybe five weeks at a time. There was one summer where I took driver's ed, which may have been the longest time period. So, basically, I've got a lot of adjusting to do to this whole "house" thing. For right now though, I am just glad to be out of the hospital. I had Domino's for dinner, and it was freaking delicious, although I'm pretty sure my cholesterol just jumped a few feet.

In terms of my health, my immune system is still mildly compromised, but really only to the point where I just need to be careful when I go to really public places. Because, I mean, I'm fine. But other people are sick. I don't really want any of their little germies. I'm still on chemo. I'm taking the steroids and the birth control pills from home. And this coming Wednesday, I get to go to the hospital clinic for two more drip chemo treatments. That will only be about an hour or two stay though. Hopefully, I shouldn't have to check back in to the hospital for any sort of extended stay at all anymore. Most of the chemo that I get to do for the next five months I'll get twice a week at the clinic. Go in, get a shot or two, come back two days later, and then I'm set for another week. It sounds tedious; I'm sure it will become tedious. But I won't be bound and gagged, waiting to be released from the white sheets and walls that had become my chains. And right now it is 10:30 p.m. Central time, and I'm going to sleep! And I won't be woken up in an hour and a half by a nurse who has to check my blood pressure and heart rate. And I don't know what time I will wake up tomorrow, but I know that it will be of my own accord, not on account of some doctor knocking on my door because he needs to make sure my lungs are still clear, I'm breathing alright, and my ankles haven't mysteriously swollen during the night. Yes, all things they check for. Every morning. But no more! So, fantastic. I'm going to sleep in flannel sheets. :-)

Friday, January 5, 2007

On going home...

Tomorrow! Well, crap, they said I'm doing well enough that I can (praying so hard) be discharged tomorrow. It is four weeks to the day that I was diagnosed with leukemia. I've been in the UofC hospitals for three weeks, and I've been on chemo for 17 days. I can't believe it's already been four weeks since I was in Boston. The days have flown by. I still clearly remember sitting in Wendy's, forcing people to eat whipped cream from a dirty spoon. Ah, memories. Haha. And tomorrow I get to go back to my house in the Hills. In about two and a half weeks, I'll start my second month of chemo. So, one down, five to go. But I'm really happy. I'll have the catheter in my chest for the next six months, which is lame, but apparently one gets used to it. It's just sort of like another arm that doesn't move on its own or anything; mostly it just acts as a hose for blood and drugs and various other whatnots. But I'm allowed to go outside, to be social, to go to the mall. I can run (eventually, when I stop bumming around), and sporadic alcohol probably won't kill me. So alright! I'm pretty sure I freaked my doctor out when I asked her if I could still drink, but I mean, come on. A glass of good wine, or a good beer? I'm not going to cut myself off here, if I can help it. So that's what's good here. I can't wait to eat real food again, to be outside again. Freaking, to walk around. Ahh! So many plans! Haha. alright, let me get through tonight. It's like on the night before Christmas or Easter, when you know that there will be presents for you in the morning, so you can't sleep at all, but you're not allowed to leave your room, so you just have to lie in bed, waiting. And then the next day you're really tired, but it's totally worth it because there are presents or candy or, if you live in my house, an orange in your stocking. Well, yay. We'll see what becomes of the (b)log... I might have more or less to say on any given day, but we'll see what happens. I feel like I shouldn't let it die, just yet. Still many months of boredom and being at home to mire through. Starting tomorrow! HAH! Okay, I'm finished. Pax.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I feel better today, but in so feeling, I also feel more bored today. I disapprove of and acknowledge the lack of parallelism in that sentence, but I'm not willing to lower my grammatical standards to say either "more better" or "boreder." So there ya go. Today's weird hospital craving: Iced chai. mmm. I find myself craving strange things. One night (yes, night) it was an egg mcmuffin. One time it was cheesecake. Another: lasagna. So, if anything, I can't wait to be able to eat sweet foodings again. Otherwise, I don't have much of anything to say today. The hospital's religious minister came in this evening. She's nice, doesn't try to impose anything, just likes saying hi. She told me I was a "classy lady." I was like, haha, I'm sitting here in flannels and a wife beater with tubes sticking out of my chest and a blue striped beanie on my head, writing mediocre poetry and reading really, really good poetry (William Carlos Williams. He's amazing). Classy isn't exactly how I think of myself. But I'm flattered she does. So that was exciting. But that's about it. Now I'm waiting on dinner, also exciting. My weight, strangely, keeps going down. I think I'm going to cry when I go home and it all comes back. Sigh. But such are the lives we lead. As it is, I really don't have anything else to say, so I'll say au revoir, bonne nuit.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


I. Ate. So. Much. Can't. Hold in. Stomach. The nurses warned me that some patients reach a point where their appetite decides to turn on. Yeah, I'm there. I had like, two, three ish dinners. Healthy, mostly, but still. Lots of food. I suppose that's good though, better than not eating anyway.

So, the good news. My doctor promised to sneak me outside today. He finally came through, around 6:30 pm. It was dark outside. But it was outside. I got to walk around my building. It sounds lame, but I have been inside for 20 straight days. I was willing to take whatever I could get. Gown, mask, and gloves, yes, but it was outside. I felt air. I felt wind. Oh man. So that was a good thing.

The thing is, the "sneak out" couldn't have come at a better time. I pretty much reached my breaking point last night and during the day today. Couple reasons: Last night, I read White Oleander, Janet Fitch's first novel. So, firstly, this woman is the most amazing author I have read in a good long while. Her language is so beautiful. Just about every word that I read last night cut me straight through, seared my emotions, left my heart bleeding. It also made me terribly depressed because I realized that I have nowhere near the intelligence nor the command of the English language that this woman has, the ability to write engaging and beautiful prose. And then I realized that's why I'm going to school and majoring in English. So I can study these authors and eventually master my own writing style that other people will want to read. And Then I remembered that I'm not going back to school until September. And then I got sad. And this was at about, um, 4:00 in the morning. And then during the day today, I finished her book. I recommend it to everyone. It's fantastic. But pretty much, everything just snowballed in my head. I thought about how hard I worked first semester, school and non, how at the time I was so happy doing it. I was so exhausted, but I was doing what I wanted. I was working, doing well in school, had friends I saw occasionally, living in Boston. But then it stopped. And here I am, unsure why I worked so hard. What was the point? I have a sick camera, okay, that's cool, but I would have gotten it eventually. I'm trying not to let myself think that if I hadn't pushed myself so hard, I wouldn't have gotten sick. Because that's crap. I didn't give myself cancer. It eventually would have popped up, just possibly later. But what would have happened if I hadn't worked so hard? Gah. These are terrible things to think, because they don't have answers. So then I got to go outside. I got to walk around. And it cleared my mind a bit. I still don't have any answers, but I'm a little more okay with the questions now. There's nothing I can do about first semester now. I'm in a good place to start the school year again in the fall. What's going to happen is going to happen. There's a good probability that I'll go back to Boston and work myself too hard again, but that's who I am. I push myself to my limits because I can, because I need to. And that's what's been up today. My blood cell counts are all going up. I'm doing really well, in terms of recovery. I should be out of here in 10 days. Okay. One day at a time. Let's go.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I know, I know.

I'm blogging twice today. Sue me. I'm not becoming a slave to the blogosphere. I just have some updates since this morning. Calm down.

People came to visit me!!! Fantastically awesomely amazing friends from highschool whom I love so much, and I am so freaking happy that I got to see them. And Katie brought me a coloring book! I never would have thought so, but it made me really excited. So pretty much, today was awesome. It was so good to see them. Today was the best I've felt since my last night in Boston. Thank God for friends. Yay.

So mentality update: I'm okay with my hair now. It was pretty much just the first handful I grabbed that freaked me right out. But I've reconciled myself to it. I also cut my own hair today and giggled like a school girl the whole time. It's super short right now. I'll post some short-hair Caroline pictures when I upload them. They make me excited. But probably tomorrow or the next day they're going to buzz me. And that's cool. It's an adventure. It just took me a little time to accept. But I'm there now, with a little help from my friends as well. Because obviously, poop is the new uggs. Classic.

Finally: there has been some concern expressed by a certain rhetorician that I tend to forget my purpose in writing this (b)log. I would like to publicly retort by saying that everything I think at all times does not revolve around the fact that I have cancer. So, if anyone has a problem with my occasionally throwing in random bits of non-cancer Caroline, please, really, let me know. Otherwise, you're going to get it. Some of it. Maybe more on days when I don't have much to say about the hospital. That is all. I hope everyone recovered from New Years nicely. As it is, goodnight from heah!

I'm not sure how I feel about this...

I've lost about 13 pounds since I was first admitted to the hospital in Boston, way back on December 6th. Most of it is muscle mass, which bothers me to no end. But I mean, I'm really not doing anything. I go from walking at least a few miles a day, having a history of decent physical activity, to being pretty much confined to a 15' x 12' room. Yeah, there's a treadmill down the hall, but I can't run because 1. I'm anemic, 2. I'm dehydrated, and 3. I'm kind of worried about the tubes in my chest... Also, I am on what is known as "contact isolation." I tested positive for a bacteria that is potentially dangerous to people who have no immune systems to fight it. It's not a big deal; it's not affecting me at all, and I'm taking antibiotics for it. But it means that if I ever want to leave my room, I have to put on a yellow gown, a mask, and medical gloves so I don't spread my stuffs. Not exactly work-out apparel. Also, I'm not allowed to leave this wing yet anyway because my immune system is still so destroyed. So, I mean, I suppose I could walk laps around my room... My mom brought me some five-pound weights the other day, so I'm using those to at least stay toned-ish. But those aren't going to do much in the way of rebuilding muscle. Grr, it's just frustrating. Although, I'm morbidly fascinated by the fact that my weight is a little bit lower every morning. And believe me, it's not like I'm not eating. Although, for sure, I'm eating much less. I'm not that worried about it as of yet. I think if I lose five more pounds, then we're going to have a problem, but I'm going to try and not let that happen. Otherwise, today is just going to be another day. They started me back up on the steroid that helps me retain fluids, and my doctor says it's working, so that's a plus. I start back up on the heavy chemo tomorrow. I've had about a week off. But for today, more of the same relazzin.

Oh, also: I know I said that I wouldn't let this become a political blog. I keep hearing of more and more people who read this, which is awesome, but I don't want to alienate anyone. That being said, I would just like to say that American foreign policy makes me want to throw up. And I'm taking anti-nausea drugs. I was seriously upset by what I read in the NYTimes this morning. (The other side of it is that clearly biased journalism is dominating the national media, which is also gross...) But I'll skip the details, only emphasize that people, please read the paper, give a damn about what's going on around you. Okay, thanks. hahaha, I'm done.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Look to the right.

Know what that means? That means that I am now inextricably linked with digital photography and all of the ridiculousness and difficulties that go along with it. Look for some sort of thing online in the next few weeks/months. Word.


Happy New Year. I hope everyone survived their New Year's Eve. I talked to some people, and it sounded like they had a good time, although certain situations seemed rather suspect (cough cough underage!). Swell. I spent the evening watching various and sundry New Year's Eve television specials and watching powerpoints from highschool that made me sniffle a little. I was also able to see Chicago's fireworks display from here, which was super sweet. Otherwise, that's about it. My family brought our New Year's Eve tradition of Chinese food to me, which was awesome, although the sesame chicken was sub-par. Sigh. So now it is 2007. A brand-freaking-new year. One year ago, I had absolutely no idea that I would be where I am now, having done everything I did in 2006. (a lot.) I've decided against making any resolutions for the new year. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have enough to deal with without making myself feel guilty about losing ten pounds or drinking less coffee. I am just going to take whatever this year feels like it can throw at me. I am even--dare I say it--excited to see what happens. Yes, I'll say it, I actually can't wait to see what happens this year.

Medically, my year begins thusly:
I am dehydrated. Not like, oh man, I could use some water, or, oh man, I drank waaaay too much last night, but more like my body is not retaining fluid. Basically, I've been on a (ASIDE: holy crap, Pink's "Respect" just came on my shuffle. Oh wow. My life just got Made. Anyway.) so I've been on a saline-solution IV for about the past three, four days now. They started me on it when they told me I was, ahem, backed up, if you will. The idea was to rehydrate me. My body, however, is not processing the fluid or something. It's pretty much just sending it right out. Yay. The doctors weren't sure what was wrong with me. (heh heh. No one really is.) So they planned today to do a cortisol test. (cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands that has something to do with fluid retention, among a variety of other things.) They thought that my body wasn't producing its own cortisol, although they weren't sure why. It would be an adrenal gland problem, which is never good. Now me being the stellar person I am (namely bored), I looked up cortisol online. Turns out there's a steroid called Dexamethasone that essentially decreases cortisol production. Now here's the funny part: I am actually taking dexamethasone. (yeah, that's right. I'm taking steroids. I'm a beast.) And since my doctors are all really super smart, no one remembered to check my growing list of pharmaceuticals. So, I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. But basically, my glands aren't screwed up of their own accord, which is good. I'm not sure what they're going to do now, maybe give me more steroids to counteract the effects of the steroids I'm already taking. Sweet. Otherwise, we'll see what happens. The good times never stop here. Well, good luck to everyone who is spending today recovering. Pax.