Thursday, August 9, 2007

Stupid... Mosquitoes....

I swear, if I die of West Nile Virus, I will be seriously upset. West Nile is usually only fatal to the very old and the very young. And, oh yeah, those with poor immune systems. Fabulous. But I think I'm on enough anti-viral medications that I should survive. Malaria, on the other hand, might be a problem. Although, I'm not sure when Chicago last had an outbreak of malaria. I don't think there has been one in a while anyway.

BUT: Everyone's happy white blood cell thoughts, and I've received a lot of them, have done wonders in raising my platelet count. It has soared from around 60,000 one week ago to about 250,000 as of this morning. Hoorah! This means that I will be able to begin my Final! module of chemotherapy this coming Monday. And the even better news is that I will be doing it all outpatient. So, even though the temperature is hovering in the 90s, the humidity is so high you can almost swim through the air, and my house's air conditioner decided to die about 15 years ago, I am overjoyed to not have to spend any amount of time in the hospital. Hopefully I won't get an infection; that would cast a rather bleak shadow over my otherwise sunny outlook. All of the chemotherapy and the lumbar punctures can be done in clinic, which is great. I'm actually not quite sure why I am doing this outpatient. The last time I went through this module, I was in-patient. (That's when my kidneys decided it would be super cool to stop working. Good times.) But either way, I am not complaining. So that's my good news, which always makes for a good day. Plus, tomorrow's Friday, and I get to sleep in. Awesome. Peace.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The pros and cons of being bald.

Con: Your head gets really hot, and, yes, I'll admit it, sweaty, when it's hot outside.
Pro: Your head is super easy to wipe down when it gets all sweaty.

Con: No sun-bleached locks.
Pro: No shampooing and conditioning.

Con: Your head gets really shiny when it is hot. sweaty. clean. cold. bored. tired. morning.
Pro: You can wear a hat.

Con: If you have never been bald before, you have a higher risk of sunburn on the top of your head.
Pro: Once your hair grows back, no one will be able to see the freckles and sunspots.

Con: Self-image is temporarily affected.
Pro: When being treated like dirt at a store or on the road, a swift removal of hat or scarf and an angry face serve to make everyone feel guilty and apologetic. Throw in a hacking cough and you're golden.

I think my hair might be starting to grow back. It might also be wishful thinking on my part. I guess I miss my hair; I certainly think about it a lot. But really, I wouldn't mind being bald for a little bit if there wasn't such a stigma attached to it. And yes, in the Midwest, in suburban Chicago, there is a stigma. At a barbeque I went to a while ago, a girl there was talking about her friend who got "a boy haircut." And trust me, the way she said it, her friend had made the worst decision in terms of her personal appearance. I think that if I was in a big city like New York, California, or maybe even downtown Chicago, it wouldn't be such a big deal. But out here in the suburbs, we don't tolerate that kind of crazy behavior. Shaving your head. My goodness, what is the world coming to. So my hair is coming back, although for now I'm still a rebel with or without a cause. Enjoy your tomorrows. Pax.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

So, I should probably clarify.

Just so no one thinks I'm sitting all alone in my bedroom, moping, and feeling sorry for myself. Friday was sort of the culmination of two months worth of unfortunate events for me. Friday itself I spent in an outpatient clinic receiving blood. I then came home to find an e-mail from my doctor telling me that my platelets were still too low to safely begin chemo, and she told me I would have to wait another week to be tested again. Hence, my final round of chemo was pushed back a week, and I lost it a little bit.

I am in a really weird emotional spot right now. I have been consistently in and out of the hospital for the past two months, and I realize now that I had set my expectations way too rigidly in terms of returning to school. For the past seven months, I have learned to live (mostly) day to day. The idea of going back to Boston helped keep me sane, and as my return was further solidified, I became fixated on returning on a certain date. And then when I learned my date had to be extended, I didn't know what to do, really. It's hard when something you look forward to so much is suddenly altered. But you'd think I would have learned by now that you can't put too much trust in the future when the present is so uncertain.

My doctor explained to me in another e-mail that my most recent infection really took a toll on my cells' ability to regenerate, platelets included. Obviously I am disappointed, still. But my despair of Friday has receded quite a bit. One of the main reasons for this, other than that I've had some time to let it sink in, is that over the past few days I have heard from some of my very good friends, as well as from people who don't know me too well. They reminded me that a better world exists outside of this dastardly cancer-infused one, and I absolutely have a place in it. Regardless of when I actually, finally, fly away from Chicago, I will definitely do so in the near future. And then the good times begin in earnest. The next six or seven or eight weeks are still going to be hell for me. You can not fathom how much I want, how much I need this chemotherapy to be finished. But I guess the most important thing I can do, and if anyone wants to help, please do, is to think happy white blood cell thoughts. And just accept that this will end when it ends. Thank you So much to everyone who is helping me get through this. I wouldn't be able to without you. Peace.