Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I was shot in the arm today.

And by shot, I mean I was given a shot. Specifically, I was given a virus. Even more specifically, I was shot with the flu virus. Fortunately for me, the virus had been killed. As the flu season looms ominously in the distance, it recently occurred to me that perhaps this year I should get a flu shot. I asked my doctor who resoundingly said, "Yes. Get the shot." I suppose it makes sense: I have few white blood cells to combat any sort of viral infection that may decide to find its way into me. Since there is no prescription available to battle viruses, my best option was to receive the immunization. Now that the virus has been injected into my system, I will be able to create antibodies for it. That way, if I do happen to catch the actual flu virus, I will already have built up a resistance. So awesome. Best case scenario, I just don't catch the virus.

Today was sort of ridiculous, in the way that my days tend to be. I suppose I should preface this by explaining what is currently going on in my life. I noted a few posts ago that I was asked to be interviewed in front of the first-year medical students regarding my perspective on terminal illnesses and such. Okay, exciting, I can do that. But the plot thickens. This story was pitched to The Boston Globe, the main newspaper here in Boston. The story was picked up by the "Higher Education" department, and they decided to expand it beyond my talking to the med students. Basically, there will soon be an in-depth profile of me in The Globe involving interviews, photos, possibly multi-media, and excerpts from my blog. The reporter who is writing the story is going to be shadowing me a bit over the next week-ish to try and get a better sense of who I am and why I am who I am. It is pretty intense, and I wish her luck. The really ironic thing is that while she is profiling me and the photographer is taking pictures of me doing my thang, I am supposed to be coming up with an idea for a photo essay for my photojournalism class. And I have no clue what to do. I kind of want to do my photo essay on the photographer doing a photo essay about me, but I'm not sure if that would work so well.

Anyway. So today, I get to my Hinduism class, and my professor starts by saying, "Before we begin, Caroline, would you like to explain to everyone about the people from The Boston Globe who will be joining us in class next week?" Now, I knew that the reporter was planning on coming to a class at some point, but I hadn't expected her to have worked so fast in getting permission. (Perhaps that is why I wouldn't be a very good journalist...) So, I sort of muttered something about, "I am currently receiving chemo, and I'm talking to the med students in two weeks, and the Globe has decided to profile me, which involves their coming to my classes. So, um, dress nicely on Monday...?" I sounded like an idiot. My professor then said, "And you're writing a blog, as well? Why don't you give us the link." So, okay, I did. Wrote it on the board and everything. (Hello to anyone from class, if you actually copied the link and are visiting my b-log). I sort of doubt they will, just because I know how college students are, and I know that they don't tend to care tremendously about what their peers do in their free time. Regardless. My teacher's announcement was unexpected, and I was quite taken aback. The point is that a reporter and photographer will be joining me in class on Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Although the subject of much of the profile, I have essentially stopped worrying or thinking about how I have changed and how it is affecting my daily life. I don't really see the point anymore. I am who I am, regardless of disease or drugs, and that's cool with me. Finally, briefly: my blood counts have fallen since last week, which was to be expected. Hopefully they will come up again for next Wednesday when I am scheduled for my FINAL chemo treatment. Happy white blood cell thoughts, that is all I ask. Alright, thanks for sticking with me. More updates as life happens, which it inevitably will. Happy Hump Day. Pax.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Let us now all exhale a collective sigh of relief that another post has been written.

I would say that I am not sure why I don't update more frequently, but this week I know exactly why. This week I received my second-to-last chemo treatment. No, it was not my last one, but we are almost there. After nearly eight weeks, my blood cells had finally regrown enough for me to be able to kill them all again. It's rather contradictory: just when I am finally starting to feel healthy and full of blood, I get to go and have lethal drugs injected into my system. I say lethal because they kill cells. I am pretty sure the drugs will not actually kill me. There are, however, no guarantees of this.

Wednesday morning I hopped on a bus, and twenty minutes later, I found myself at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with a lump of dread weighing in my stomach. I was quickly admitted and given a chair. I was then moved to a bed because I needed to have a spinal tap later on in the day. Not only was this my first time getting chemo by myself, now I was in a solitary room. Oh well; it's better than the alternative. After that, my nurse poked a needle into my right arm vein. Unfortunately, this needle wasn't returning any blood, so we had to find another vein. Luckily, I had been saving up my good veins, and there was one on my other arm. Blood was drawn, hydration was given, and then the chemo began. It began with an injection into the IV, which was short and sweet. I was then hooked up to my bag of methotrexate, which was neither short nor sweet. In fact, it went in over three hours, and it was bright yellow. Time dripped away, and I finally found myself with nothing hooked up to me. Then it was the spinal tap's turn. This was to be my seventh spinal tap, a fact I am not necessarily proud of, but it's kind of hardcore. Anyway, so this spinal tap wasn't that bad, hardly any pain. The doctor (nurse? I'm not sure) went right in, drew the fluid, and replaced it with chemo straight away. She was quite speedy. I had to lie flat on my back for thirty minutes, and then I was free to go. So I went.

I went back to my apartment. I took a cab; I had gotten cab vouchers at Dana-Farber. I got back to my apartment, and within fifteen minutes, I was throwing up. I felt kind of bad for my roommate, but not really because I'm not sure he noticed. For about forty-five minutes I tried to vomit out my stomach. And then I ate some chips and slept for an hour. And then I slept twelve more.

That was Wednesday. Today is Sunday. In the meantime, I have been battling a cold, trying to study, and running around probably a bit too much. I feel fine, aside from this beastly cold. My energy isn't quite where it was, but it is pretty darn close. I am fairly sure that this is the best I have handled any chemo since I started. I actually played flag football today. We won. I scored a touchdown. It was awesome. So this is life now, I suppose. Get my drugs, and move on. I don't have time to mope around the apartment feeling ill. I have to get back to business and soon. I am excited for this week; it should be a good week. I hope everyone else has a good week as well. Good luck with life! Oh Also: Shout out to Amy who ran the Chicago Marathon a week ago. She finished, which is more than a lot of people could say last Sunday. She ran with Team in Training, who raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I guess they raised a Ton of money. Thank you Amy!!! Good luck with your recovery. Anyway, that's all. Peace.