Friday, April 27, 2007

so, um...

I'm going on a very mini Vacation! Woo!! Tomorrow, a friend and I are driving back to my high school in Indiana, and we won't be home until Sunday night. I am super excited to be getting away. It is the spring performance of the dance group there, of which I was a member for four years. Good times, and I miss dancing so much. It'll be interesting to watch the performance, as opposed to dancing in it.

Okay, so here's the big news: I finally went on my date-ish. I met up with the guy I met at the concert; we had sushi for dinner, and then we played pool for a while. I haven't smelled this strongly of smoke in I don't know how long. Nothing better than secondhand smoke when you already have one disease. But it was a good time. It was nice to feel normal for a while, even if that feeling was fighting strongly with my self-imposed awkwardness at this being a first official meeting. But he's a super chill guy, so everything ended up being fine. And I only remembered I had cancer once I was back at home. So yay for making local friends. Otherwise, everything's great. I had a good day today; I'm looking forward to a great weekend. Enjoy yours as well. Pax.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hey guess what!

This is officially my 101st post. Yesterday's was my One Hundredth post! Woo! That's quite a lot of posting, if I do say so myself. And yet, I have been keeping this thing for over four months. I don't understand how time works. Sometimes it feels like I just left Boston yesterday, and yet, I feel like I've been going through treatment forever. I am halfway finished with the chemo, but September seems so far away. I am not sure if time is moving slowly or quickly, if my days are rushing by or dragging. Both, I suppose. So much has happened to me, but then again, there are no really outstanding days that I can recall. There are hospital weeks and non-hospital weeks. I think I spent most of February sitting in my living room, wrapped up in a blanket and two sweaters. I'm still sitting in my living room, right now, wearing one sweater, but I have left my house today. Subtly, my life has changed. Today I volunteered at my job. I called in and picked up my prescriptions from the pharmacy. Oh yeah, and I also ate a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. So much for not succumbing to eating for comfort's sake. But it was delicious, and I have no regrets. Well, maybe a little bit of regret... Eh, I'll go for a walk tomorrow. But so congratulations (B)log for passing this important benchmark. God only knows what I'll be saying at post 200 and how long it will take me to get there.

Also, I just want to mention for a little bit of shock value, that I was put on a new pill. It's called Valtrex, and it is an anti-viral medicine. Apparently viral infections will be a huge concern for me after I start a new type of chemo this coming week. So this pill: It is bright blue. I have to take it four times a day. I have to take four pills four times a day. I have to take it until I finish my chemotherapy. I have to continue it for six months after I finish treatment. Let's sum up shall we? For the next ten months, I will be taking four pills four times a day. Sixteen bright blue pills. If nothing else has or will test me throughout this adventure, remembering to take all these pills will. I'm thinking I'll buy a watch with a timer and set it to go off every three hours or something. That might work... Well, wish me luck with overcoming my absentmindedness! And do something ridiculous tomorrow. Peace.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today's Word of the Day =

Snuffling! At this very moment, there is a brown/grey rabbit snuffling through the shrubbery at the bottom of the fence in my back yard. I am desperately trying to make friends with these rabbits -- there are two of them -- but I feel my efforts are in vain. They want nothing to do with me. And soon, I'm sure, there will be a multitude of smaller rabbits snuffling around the vast world that is my backyard. Aww.

And for the cancer-curious, I would like to revisit a point I made in passing about a week ago. The anticipation is always substantially worse than the actual event. Case in point: today's bone-marrow biopsy. I was not looking forward to it a week ago. Last night, I didn't want to think about tomorrow, me, who is usually so forward-looking. This morning, I woke up at 8:30, giving myself ample time to shower before we had to leave for the clinic. 11:00 am, I check in at the clinic, all hyper from the three shots of espresso I had in my latte. By this time I'm freaking out a little bit. It doesn't help, either, that everyone at clinic always looks so unhappy. I guess they all have decent excuses though. People sitting in wheelchairs, the woman across from me in the waiting area wearing her mask, the woman down from me on the chairs totally passed out with mouth open and arm hanging down (I may or may not have been watching her, hoping she'd slide out of the chair...). But anyway, so they send me into the back room to get my blood drawn. Now, because of the study that I'm on, on the days they do the biopsies, I get extra blood drawn for study purposes. Ordinarily they draw about 10 cc's (two small tubes) of blood, and they draw it from my catheter; they don't stick me. Today, however, while I was sitting in the plastic chair waiting for my nurse, I noticed that there was a needle hanging out on the tray next to me. The needle that they stick into your vein to draw blood. And then I started counting the tubes lined up next to the needle. That they stick into your vein. There were eleven tubes. Eleven. And six of them were 10 cc's each. They all added up to about 85 cc's. (Incidentally, I think cc's are about the same size as mL's). So the nurse finally came over and told me they had to draw the blood from my arm to make sure there was nothing (no chemo) that would skew the results. So fantastic. Eleven tubes of blood from my arm. Grimace, grimace, and really, it wasn't bad at all. I mean, they draw a litre of blood when you donate blood. So mine was a piece of cake. But then I had to go wait for the biopsy. And wait. And finally they called my name. So I walked to a different back room... and waited. And anticipated. And then the Physician's Assistant showed up, marked the spot on my hip where she would be drilling, placed a support under my "lower belly" (i.e. my hips), and we waited for the lab technician to show up. Finally, after much dreading and a little bit of hopping around on my part, they did the stupid procedure. And it wasn't that bad. Some pain, some blood, but, of course, it was not as terrible as I thought it would be. Either way, I'm just happy to be finished with it. Mmm, so tomorrow's Thursday. Should be a good Thursday... Not too much waiting. Pax.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sometimes I think I shouldn't be allowed to breathe.

This is where I work. More specifically, this is at where I work. I don't actually work in a flower. I do, however, work at a place that harbors quite a few flowers. I am officially a volunteer at the Morton Arboretum, which is, I guess, considered a "tree museum." I work in the gift shop stock room right now, mostly just price-tagging various oddities such as t-shirts and ornaments, but I hope to one day expand my job description. The best part about working there though, is that I get to walk through miles of trees and flowers and lakes and praries and such. I also get to take pictures, hence the picture above. It's good for me. If I work there twice a week, that guarantees that at least twice a week I will take myself for a walk. One of these days I'm going to suit up and try running a little bit. It's also absolutely beautiful there now, now that spring is springing.

The reason for my title, though, is that I feel like I am becoming dumber. While I was walking around the Arboretum today taking pictures, my glasses fell out of my pocket. I know this was not exactly my fault; I should have known better than to put the glasses in the pocket that I did. So I retraced my steps twice, going back to each and every spot I had taken a picture from. Finally, my second trip around, under a tree, on wood chips, I saw them. My brown glasses, blending in perfectly. I'm so freaking lucky I found them. But this incident fits in perfectly with pretty much everything that has happened lately. I'm unsure whether the chemo is affecting my short-term memory or if my brain is just becoming sluggish due to lack of mental stimulation. Honestly, it's probably the second. Maybe I'm not exactly becoming dumber; it's just becoming harder for me to stay on top of the little things I have to do. I tend to forget to pick up an item at the store, or bring in the chairs when it's dark out. Small things, but when you aren't forced to be thinking ahead all the time, as you are with school or a job, you just sort of slow down. I feel bad too because my mom will ask me to do something, and I'll forget to do it. And I'm not trying to be insolent or anything; I just honestly forget. Bah. It's going to be fun trying to hop back on the busy bandwagon once I get back to school. But I'll worry about that when it comes up. For now, I'm just enjoying my hot chocolate. And that's it. Have a happy hump day for me. Peace.

p.s. Here's the link with the rest of the photogs, in case you're interested:
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Sunday, April 22, 2007


Hi, I'm back. Gosh, I've been so busy these past few days, I haven't had any time to update the (b)log! I'm actually only half kidding. Yesterday though, I went to a concert! There's nothing better than smoking drunkards dancing to some out-of-this-world guitar jamming. I did have a good time though. And when people get too close to me, you'd better believe I start throwing 'bows.

Anywhoo, the relevant part of all of this is that, somewhere between the walking around Wrigley Field waiting for the show and "accidentally" punching the kidneys of the 6'5" guy who decided it was polite to stand directly in front of me, I became super tired. I ended up leaving the concert early, during the encore. And then today I was supposed to go downtown again for an all-day Earth Day music thing, but I decided I couldn't do it. I'm just so exhausted. It's kind of funny because, depending on what type of cancer you have, it's mostly the treatment that destroys you. I know one of the major drugs they give to people with lymphoma is disastrous. Basically, in addition to killing the cancer cells, it also causes major fluid buildup in the lungs, as well as harming the actual lung tissue. The people I've talked to who have been given it told me that it has taken months for them to regain their lung capacity. Apparently Lance Armstrong's doctors were going to give it to him for his testicular cancer, but he refused it because of the damage it would have done to his lungs. So for me, my strength and endurance have been decimated by the chemo. I'm no longer worried about not producing blood because of the cancerous cells in my marrow. Instead, I'm concerned that I don't have enough blood as a result of all the chemo. I mean, never in my right mind would I have passed up an all-day music fest. But I do know it would have been a bad idea for me to go. So instead, I sat outside at home and got happily sunburnt without becoming dehydrated or fatigued. I guess this is also a relatively good excuse to sleep in all the time, in addition to taking the occasional nap. Splendid! Tomorrow I have group, Tuesday is volunteer time, and Wednesday is the biopsy, so it's going to be a busy week for me, this last full week of April. Have a pleasant Monday, and if you don't, call me, and I'll try to cheer you up with inane observations about the world around me. Pax.