Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nothing too much.

Winter has finally arrived in the Midwest. And my house is still a not-quite balmy 65 degrees. I wander the floors or sit in front of my computer or sit in the living room reading or playing guitar while wearing at least two shirts, a sweatshirt, my scarf, a hat, and either shoes or my slippers that look like polar bear feet. (They're sweet. White furry with little black claws. They freak out my mom). I've been trying to make at least one sort of meaningless trip every day, just to get myself out of the house. Shopping for various foodings or today we got a rug for the downstairs. Silly, banal living things that I really wish I didn't have to do right now. Basically, I am becoming desperate for other human contact. I think things will get better once I figure out where I can go around here and what there is to do for twenty-somethings on the weekend. But I haven't reached that point yet. Blah. Aside from that though, I'm just doing my thing. I'm getting better at taking the stairs two at a time, so that's exciting. But I still get tired by standing or walking for long periods of time. My mom and I went to Costco today, and that was like a triathalon. Between lifting the pounds of artichokes and pushing the supersized cart and maneuvering between the people who think it's cool to grow roots in the middle of the aisle that comfortably fits two carts when they're on the sides, but they don't quite fit when there's an obstruction, and all the little suburban children who see 20-packs of Gushers and vocally tell their mothers "We're getting those!"... Well, you get the idea. It's tiring. And consumerism made me lose my appetite. So dinner was cereal and a bagel. And that's what my mind's been dealing with, moving back to the suburbs after being used to living in a city where small children were kept on leashes (I like to think) and if I got thirsty or bored or tired of studying in my room I could walk across the street to a coffeeshop where a very attractive yet coolly distant barista would serve me my chai. He was super hot. Sigh. But anyway, that's about it. Safe travels to everyone who's going back to school this weekend. Blow a kiss to Bay State for me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I've sort of been irrationally angry all day today. I'm also really freaking tired. There is a strong possibility that the two are related. I went to the mall today, and it exhausted me. It was good to be walking around (it's an outdoor mall) and getting air and everything. It was tough though, being on my feet and carrying various bags for about two hours. It made me realize how stupid shopping is. People just walking around, mindlessly sifting through clothes that are all essentially the same product, just in a slightly different cut or color. I went into Abercrombie, just for kicks, and seriously, all of their shirts looked exactly the same. So that was lame. I left the mall and just sat in my car for a couple minutes before I even started driving. My body was like, "woah Caroline, overload there. Breathe a sec." And then I drove home with a stop at Wendy's, where my faith in the goodness of life was restored. I napped for two hours this afternoon, and I'm still tired. So, tomorrow, I'm taking it easy. haha, I feel so lame for having to "take it easy" after spending two hours at a bloody mall. But whatever. Maybe tomorrow I'll walk to Starbucks with a book and sit there for two hours. That'd be nice. Oh, and also, the nodes in my neck are swollen, I think. hmm... I don't know if that's good or bad. But hopefully sleeping will calm them down too. mmkay. haha. Nodes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just a nibble...

I don't have too much to say today, so I won't say much about that which there isn't much to say. Today was my first outpatient visit to the cancer clinic at U of C. All that means is that instead of receiving treatment lying hooked up to an IV in a hospital bed, I wait in a lobby for about an hour for them to call my name. They call my name, draw my blood, and then I go back and wait for another hour while the blood is being tested to make sure I'm still healthy and will be okay to receive the drugs. And then I get cleared for chemo, so they call my name again. They take me into the back room where patients receive their transfusions. I wait another forty-five minutes for the two chemo drugs to arrive, and then I let the friendly nurse Sharon, who can't quite pronounce my name correctly, inject the drugs into my system. And then I wait another thirty minutes until they are sure I won't have a reaction, and then I get to leave the clinic, much the same as when I entered. The really good news is that I'm doing very well, in terms of my body's recovery. My doctors are all impressed with how well I'm reacting to the drugs. I think I've noted this, but they were expecting me to stay in the hospital for another week. But my immune system is just about back to normal now. I am no longer neutropenic. (see prior posts for definition). I don't have anything until next Thursday, when I have another bone-marrow biopsy scheduled. That one is important: the results of it will determine the effectiveness of the therapy. Otherwise, no more chemo for me for about a week and a half, until I start the second month. Yay.

And that's about it. I was the youngest person at the clinic today receiving treatment. That was weird and oddly saddening. Wives waiting for their husbands to be called, clearly tired because they'd been there for hours, waiting on the blood results. There were two different father-daughter duos, the daughters waiting for the fathers to finish. And there I was with my father, but he was the one driving me home. There's a weird lack of emotion in the clinic. Aside from the tiredness of everyone there, especially the patients, there was a sense of wearied resignation. I hope I don't become wearied. Resigned, okay. I'm resigned to this; there's nothing to be done except get better. But weary or tired? That's when people start getting depressed about their lives. And I've realized that I've outgrown whatever depression I had in highschool. There is no point in going back to that. So goal: stay fresh, I guess. Stay expectant of the good things to come. Alright, manageable. Let's go.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I went shopping today!

Not like, oh sweet, I've lost 16 pounds in a month and need new jeans shopping, but like, I went to Trader Joe's and got totally sweet food shopping! Needless to say, I was excited. I feel so productive. I also bought cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera Bread. For those of you who don't have Panera, I am so, so sorry. And I will enjoy a cinnamon crunch bagel on your behalf.

I suppose I should include some sort of cancer update, seeing as how that is supposed to be the [purpose] of this (b)log. I have to go in to the cancer clinic tomorrow for two more doses of chemo. After that, I won't be receiving any more chemo for about a week and a half. And then my second month of treatment starts up. A new batch of drugs for me, but I think they'll all still be doing the same thing, although I'm not sure yet. That's still a little ways away. Otherwise, I'm not sure if I've noted this before or not, but the tips of my fingers are numb. It is a very strange feeling, not being able to feel them. It's cool for my left hand, because I can play guitar for a really long time and not feel anything. But for my right hand, it's strange. It sort of feels like when your hands get really cold in the winter and you lose the feeling. But when that happens, gradually the feeling comes back, with repeated hand-rubbing or warming them up under lukewarm water. The feeling isn't coming back for me. Occasionally the tip of my big toe goes numb too, but that one is inconsistent. Apparently this is actually a normal reaction to the chemo. So, that's cool. But I'm pretty much just hoping that the feeling comes back once I finish up the chemo. It's not really painful, more just strange. I pulled toast out of our toaster this morning and was like, "hmm, this should be hot... Caroline, don't play around with toast." So I stopped doing that. The goal is no lasting damage here. Working on it.

Also, you wouldn't think it, but losing your hair is actually kind of painful. Again, not substantially so, but to the point where my scalp is tender. I'm pretty sure I'm freaking out my dad because of all the hair in the wastebasket in our bathroom, but I mean, come on, it's got to go somewhere. Otherwise, I'm bumming around my house. Doing some writing things for my mom, getting kind of published and all that awesome jazz. I think my strength is coming back; I'm telling myself my strength is coming back. But I've only been home four days. I'm still adjusting. I suppose I'll be adjusting for the next few months. Hokay, props for over-long posts. Pax.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

So, funny story.

I'd just like to preface this post by noting that as a habit, what I dub as "funny stories" are usually not funny to anyone besides myself. Case in point: When I was released from the hospital in Boston, after finding out I had leukemia, I went back to my room to tell my roommate. I'm pretty sure I answered her well-meaning "How are you??" with a, "So, funny story..." And then I went on to explain what was up. I realize it's rather morbid, but I feel that most situations should be bettered with the advent of laughter. Anyway. So, today's funny story. I don't really live in a large house. It's comfortable, I like the colors and our couches, but it isn't really that big. We have seven small, green-carpeted stairs that lead to our upstairs. As a youth, full of vim and vigor, I used to bound up these stairs. Take them, two, three at a time. I thought nothing of it. They are small steps, and I had neither the time nor the patience to walk on each individual stair. So, today, I had to go upstairs. And of course, I'm not thinking, oh wait Caroline, you have no muscles left in your thighs. Haha, you can't jump. So I go for the stairs. And fall. Not very hard, but I didn't make it up to the second step. My mom was like, "Oh no, are you okay?" And I just kind of laughed. Because it's funny. I totally wasn't expecting not to be able to jump up the stairs. But I'm learning fun new things like that every day. So that made me chuckle. It's still cracking me up, actually.

On a related, more or less serious note, I have found myself laughing a lot more. I don't know why. I'm not necessarily any happier than I have been before. But I really like laughing now. I tend to laugh at myself a lot, or Family Guy, or the absurdities that are the suburbs. I think I've decided that if I'm going to be bald, I might as well be bald and smiling. And you know what? I feel better about it. I mean, really, why not smile, or laugh, or whatever? So here's hoping I can keep on smiling. Don't worry, I'm not becoming some ridiculous, giggly optimistic idealist whom, if I met on the street, I would probably kick in the shins. I'm still my guardedly cynical self. But I am vaguely getting the idea that one of my body's coping mechanisms is becoming laughter. So, rock on. And do me a favor, laugh at yourself tomorrow. Because, we really are all ridiculous. It's fantastic. \m/