Saturday, January 27, 2007

If I were an Oscar Meyer weiner, I'd probably commit hot-dog suicide.

I don't think I could live with myself knowing the conglomeration of pork by-products that composed my innards. In other news, I really have no other news. I think one of the three tubes that comes out from my main catheter line is clogged. That's exciting. I came to this conclusion last night as I was flushing them, and the saline solution wouldn't go into one of the tubes. It's important, but it's not an emergency because the other two lines are still flushing fine, which means my main line is still clear. (I have to flush 10 mL of saline solution into my lines every other day to keep them cleaned. It comes in a syringe, and every time I have to flush them, I always get the feeling that I'm cooler than I actually am, all intense and using a syringe and everything.) Also, today I became a member of the Chicago chapter of Gilda's Club. It is basically a national cancer support group that has houses in many major cities in the U.S. and two in Canada - although there isn't one in Boston. Anyway, so Gilda's Club offers support groups to cancer patients and survivors and their friends and families. They also host activities and social events for their members. I think I'm going to start going to a young adult support group. Not that I need the support, but it will be good to hear what other people relatively close to my age and experience level have to say about their adventures with cancer. Probably that it's not an adventure, and I should stop talking now. This place also has cooking demos with chefs from great Chicago restaurants, painting, pottery, and they have activities specifically for the young adult crowd. For February, it's jewelry making. Cool? So we'll see how this goes. Hopefully I'll meet some neat folks. Otherwise, that's really it. Two more days until chemo session number 2 begins. Counting down... And it's supposed to be (insert appropriate inappropriate expletive here) cold tomorrow in Chicago. Fantastic. Well, sleep tight, don't let anything bite. Pax.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So you know how when it's winter and your nose gets cold? Yeah, me too.

I have lots of exciting news after a not very exciting day. Firstly: I realized last night that the feeling is coming back into my finger tips. It's pretty much completely back in my pinkie and ring finger and is mostly back in the first three. I was happy when I noticed I could feel them. It's reassuring to know that after all this is finished my fingers will be back to normal. The feeling will probably go away again after next week because I'm starting up the second session of chemo. But now I know it's not permanent. So woo hoo. Secondly: my new blood is treating me well. My mom commented this morning that she could tell the difference between my lips and the rest of my face again (meaning I have color). So that's a woo hoo. Thirdly: My doctor called me tonight - before Grey's Anatomy, thank God - to tell me the results of the bone-marrow biopsy. Freaking took them long enough. So she informs me that "they could find no trace of the leukemia in your marrow." Hell Yes. I am in complete remission. For my doctors, this means we can safely go full-speed ahead with the next session of chemo. From here on out, all of the drugs will be to absolutely be sure it's gone and that it doesn't come back. And while I'm wary of starting this next bout, I'm super happy that I'm responding well and that there will be no chemo hold-ups. The sooner I can get this over, well, I guess the sooner it's over. Oh, and Fourthly: my hair is doing this ridiculous hat-hair act. It's sort of like a comb-over with swoop bangs coupled with a wave that exposes the bald spot. I used to make fun of my brother because he fell as a small child and actually does have a bald-spot under his chestnut locks, but this totally trumps his. Although, really, mine has mostly just thinned, not totally balded yet. Meh. Details. But so that's fun. And that was my day (I did other stuff too that would probably bore the readers). Again, I know you wish you were me.

Also: Did you know that stars actually twinkle? It's not a trick of your eyes when you look at them. You can distinguish between stars and planets because planets don't twinkle. I can't remember if it's because of the hydrogen in the stars or their luminosity or what (that's another thing I learned in a class I took, but apparently I really don't retain any information I learn, ever) but it doesn't much matter. I walked outside right after the sun set tonight, and once again, I was blown away by the beauty of the sky. The western horizon was a deep orange with fading shades of pink to purple to navy, directly above me was dark, dark blue, and the east was faintly purpled with Chicago/Wisconsin/Indiana pollution. But I could still see Orion and his belt, as well as the seven sisters above him. I realized the stars keep disappearing from our sky. One day they'll be gone, and no one born then will even know the difference. Weird. And thanks for tuning in to Caroline's Deep Thought of the Day. Check back next week to see what my walkings and whims turn up. et pax de Chicago.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

mmmm, chicken pad thai belly.

Apparently my dad and I have begun a Wednesday tradition of "ethnic food night." Last week was sushi; this week was thai. Thai delicious. Next week, Indian? Who knows. I can't wait for Mexican night. Aside from the food, today was a busy day for me. I had a blood transfusion in the morning. Hoo-rah. The home-care nurse came and gave me two units of A-positive red goodness. She told me initially that it could take between two and three hours, but it ended up barely taking one. Because I'm awesome. Or I really needed blood. Yeah, probably that. It was funny because my heart rate before they started the transfusion was in the 90s, and when the two units finished, it was down to 64. Normally, I'm in the 50s, low 60s. So the blood was good for me. My heart had been working really hard to pump my blood around. Once they transfused me, however, my heart was back to pumping normally. No more strain, which is great. I'd hate to pull that muscle from working it too hard. I wonder, can you pull your heart? It is a muscle... I dunno.

After that, I met with a doctor at a hospital closer to my house than UofC. He's pretty much just a back-up, in case I have a medical emergency and don't have time to drive downtown. It wasn't that exciting. He did tell me, though, that if I ever get admitted to his hospital and they're not sure what's wrong with me, they'll send me to UofC by helicopter. Heck yes. Note to self: find ways to become mysteriously ill. I will get my copter ride. The really exciting segment of this anecdote is that I got lost driving around the Chicago suburbs. Again. It's becoming a special habit. Special in the sense that it was funny the first two or three times, but now it's just getting annoying.

And finally, I went to the gym today. I'm pretty tired now, but I pushed myself to a good level. I biked six miles in about 25 minutes, averaging somewhere around 15 or 16 mph, I think. And then I hopped on the treadmill. I actually ran for a total of 6 or 7 minutes, although I broke that up with walking. I wasn't running fast, but I was still running. Well, jogging I guess. I don't know, some people would call it running; it was about a 10-minute mile. At high points for Caroline, though, I was running for long periods at 7 or 8 minute miles. So, that's where I've got to get back to. Small steps. But I'm proud of myself. Getting back in shape! And I'm going to sleep like a freaking log tonight.

That's about it for me for now. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Tuesday, sad toad.

I'm bored. Early post! So, I'm not really a messy person. My room is messy right now, but it's an organized mess that I am slowly picking up. But I prefer to have my life in order. I am, however, pretty careless in terms of taking care of myself. Meaning, I don't really care or notice what happens to my body. For example: I thought it was funny that I was getting huge and long-lasting bruises the first months of school. (they were actually the first signs of my leukemia. Bruising easily means your platelets are low. Which makes sense, since I wasn't producing any.) So I bruised and didn't listen to my friends who told me to go see a doctor. And we all know how that ended up. For other examples: I bump into things a lot. I walk into corners, tables, doors, etc, a lot more than most people. And it seriously doesn't bother me. It's a neat trick, my tolerance for pain. One time at the hospital, when I was dehydrated, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I actually briefly blacked out and almost fell (I caught myself one one of the bathroom handrails), but I bumped my head on the wall. I told my doctor about it because I thought it was funny. They didn't. I had to get a CT scan of my head. But anyway. So yesterday I was at the gym, and I bumped the top of my head on one of the machines. Didn't think anything of it, just went right on and did my sets. And then I got home and took off my hat. And there was this fantastic red scrape right across the top of my scalp. And it occurred to me that perhaps I should maybe start watching out for things like that. Because now I don't have hair to hide my idiocy and carelessness. The good news is my platelet count is way normal, so I'm not bruising like an abused person anymore, although I still run into things. I actually poked my finger with a fork today when I was putting away dishes. You wish you were me and my awesomeness.

Also: I'm getting a blood transfusion tomorrow because I've been feeling a bit anemic. Tired, my heart starts racing after only a little overexertion, and there's a fun tingling in my legs sometimes. My counts are actually fine for a cancer patient, although they're slightly low for a normal person. My hemoglobin (red blood cell count) is at 9.4. They transfuse people usually when it gets below 8, and the normal number for an active 20-year old female is between 14 and 15. So I'm getting me some blood. My doctor knows I'm active, and no one wants me passing out on the treadmill. I'm excited because that means I'll have more energy and color in my face again. Woo. And that's about it for now. Watch out for solid, inanimate, potentially hazardous household objects. I know I will be. Pax.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Bears won! In case you hadn't heard. The Chicago Bears are going to the SuperBowl! If anyone has a couple of tickets lying around that they can't use, let me know. I sat in front of a tv today-with frequent breaks upstairs, some longer than others-watching football for roughly seven hours. I despise myself just a little bit. But that feeling is pretty much overshadowed by my excitement that the Bears won. Sorry for all you New England fans too. They totally should have had that. But now you can all cheer the Bears on in two weeks. Clearly, I've had a seriously uneventful day; I have nothing to talk about. I had beer during the game though, and so far, nothing bad has happened to me. I didn't fall over in a drunken stupor after one beer, and last I checked, all of my appendages are still attached. Alright, score one for Caroline. And that is just about it for today. I don't have any hospital or clinic trips this whole week. No drugs, no fun with nurses and needles, nothing. Whatever will I do with myself? I am supremely confident I will find awesome things to keep me occupied. There's a city down the street, and it's calling my name. Caroline's Cancerific Adventures in Chicago: look for the movie in upcoming months. Or at least pictures. Hokay, I hope everyone has a fantastic Monday. I'll think of all ya'll at school or work while I'm at yoga and the gym in the morning and then bumming around the rest of the day. heh heh. Peace out homeys.