random daily thoughts. with some "i just beat cancer" stuff thrown in.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

this morning i got out of bed at seven when the alarm clock went off. i was about to get in the shower and realized my port was infected.


went to my oncologist's office around ten and got poked and prodded for a few minutes, and they prescribed me with an antibiotic and sent me on my merry way. why do they always poke you right where it hurts and ask "does that hurt?"

yes, it hurts. kindly stop that. thank you.

i'm at work now and not feeling like working. i feel like going back to bed and starting again tomorrow.

i'm frustrated about hawaii. it is becoming a different kind of trip for me. i won't be able to lay out in the sun or swim in the ocean or anything. i wanted to try surfing. and now i can't do that, and it pisses me off. cancer really REALLY pisses me off.

my mom made me laugh today when she reminded me of a christmas when i was very little. probably three or four. she had made me a life sized doll that we named "molly"... but she hadn't had time to sew molly's hair on prior to christmas day. my grandpa had just been through radiation and was bald on one side of his head. so she told me molly had had radiation, just like grandpa, and that's why she was bald. and that was perfectly acceptable to me.

perhaps bald should be perfectly acceptable to me now. it's going to have to be in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

if there's one thing i've learned from this so far, it's that finding your pace in life is as important as anything else you can do to improve your health.

a few weeks ago i was working ten or twelve hour days, and working every saturday. stressing out about workload and wondering if i would ever be caught up at work.

a few weeks ago i was worrying about everything from wedding plans to how much my next haircut was going to cost. heh heh. there's some irony for you. don't have to worry about haircuts for a while :)

it's just amazing how this puts everything into perspective.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

reasons why cancer sucks.

chemo makes you feel like crap. brushing your teeth makes you tired. watching tv makes you tired. eating makes you tired. and forget walking from the parking lot to your office. you will feel as if you just ran the boston marathon. you think i'm kidding.

nothing tastes the same anymore.

my mouth hurts like a mother. i'm talking my gums, my tongue, everything. all of it.

i've lost five pounds and my pants are starting to get that saggy ass look to them. this is not okay with me.

i'm grouchy. this bugs me most of all. because i don't want to be a whiner. nothing worse than a whiner. so i will only whine to you, dear diary. that way, no one else will know what a whiner i am.
have i mentioned that i'm going to lose my hair?

january 12- i was driving home from work. i'd had an itch on my neck all day that was driving me crazy. as i reached up to scratch it yet again, i felt a large lump just above my collar bone on the left side. i thought..."hmm. that's funny." i moved my hand to the other side of my neck and there wasn't one there. "hmm... not quite so funny." i cried and got quite panicky as i drove home. i stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom looking at myself. i couldn't *see* the lump. but i could feel it. there was definitely a lump there. i cried at myself in the mirror.

i got on the internet. the internet will assure you that whether you have a lump in your neck or a papercut, you have cancer. probably not the greatest idea.

john was out for the evening, and i called him... his phone was off and he didn't pick up. when he got home later that night, i was already in bed, but not sleeping. i started crying when he walked in the room.

"i have a lump in my neck..." he was perfect. he got into bed and looked at it, hugged me and kissed me, told me it was probably nothing....but i should get it checked out just to be sure.

january 17- so i did. i went to my new pcp. she was very nice, in her 30s, and i liked her alot. when she felt the lump, she got a look of concern on her face and said..."well! there certainly is a lump there!" the questions she was asking me were questions related to hodgkin's disease. see, i'd been doing waaaaay too much internet research and had learned that this lump could be a sign of hodgkin's...especially at my age.

she sent me for more tests. and i started to get the feeling that this was something very serious. i was past panicking. i just knew that i was dealing with something heavy at this point.

the waiting. the waiting for diagnosis has got to be the worst. i felt that the more i knew, the better handle i could have on this thing. the more informed and educated i was, the better i felt. no one wanted to speculate...no one wanted to think worst case scenario. but i did. it made me feel better. because if i know what the worst case scenario is, i can brace myself for it and prepare myself for it and plan what i'm going to do.

january 21- i was sent to see a specialist, a vascular surgeon. dr. dreamboat, as john likes to call him. he was straightforward with me, which i liked. he asked me all the same questions that i'd been answering for a week, and said... "i don't want you to freak out...you will when you hear what i'm about to say, but there is a possibility we could be looking at hodgkin's disease... " he paused and then said "but it's very treatable, and if that's what it is, we'll get you to the right people."

january 24- i had surgery to remove the mass in my neck.

january 25- the diagnosis. nodular sclerosing hodgkin's disease.

and since then, it's been a whirlwind of appointments and blood tests and staging and poking and prodding and the installation of this catheter which is currently driving me up the wall.

today for the first time i realized the gravity of all of this. there are people my same age who do not survive cancer. there are people who have just as much chutzpah as i do who don't make it. no one is guaranteed anything. no one makes it out of life alive anyway, so you may as well kick some ass while you're here.

but i can make you one guarantee. not only am i going to kick cancer's ass so hard that it's sorry it ever messed with me, but i am going to appreciate every single moment i have. that's really what this is all about. appreciating every single moment you have. whether you're making french fries or winning nobel prizes. whether you're raising babies or climbing the corporate ladder, you have to realize what is important. i want to learn this lesson well.

i have already learned so much in the past few weeks, and gained so much perspective that i never would have dreamed possible.

i still can't believe i have cancer, but i'm here to hand out lollipops and ass whoopins. and the lollipops just ran out.

Friday, February 11, 2005


tuesday had a catheter placed in my chest that will allow me to get chemo and get blood work done without having to get an IV every single time. it has already paid for itself. turns out my veins are near-impossible to find. i learned that after a very unpleasant experience with a nurse named niko. bad niko, bad. if i had a tumor, i would name it niko and curse at it every day.

i was surprised to find how much more painful this surgery was then the last... but i'm doing better now, the pain is almost completely gone. basically they go in laparoscopically through an incision in the upper chest and come out right above yer boob! (actually it's my boob, but i'm trying to make you feel included.) fun stuff! there are two tubes that come out the exit site and that's where they shoot me up with all the druuuugs.

i started having some chest pain and trouble breathing and ended up spending most of yesterday evening in the ER, where they found nothing and sent me home with more drugs. just what i needed! more drugs! a girl can never have too many drugs! :)

today was my first chemo. one down and eleven to go. when they say it's like a hangover in a bag, they aren't kidding. supposedly tomorrow is when it gets really fun! looking forward to that. my pee was pink today. that was very exciting for me.

my mom drove me to chemo and john picked me up. and can i just say... my mom rocks. it's amazing how cool she is and i'm more and more thankful for her and my dad every day. they are the most fun parents any girl could ever ask for and every day it is a treat to be their daughter.

john has been incredible. he makes me cry (in a good way) on an almost daily basis with his generosity and thoughtfulness... whether it's waking up every three hours to make sure i have all the medication i need or bringing me popsicles in bed... he is awesome. i couldn't ask for anything more.

i haven't had a bad hair day since learning i have cancer and will lose all my hair. how ironic. i've also heard that some people that lose all their body hair still have to shave their legs. what is up with that? i mean, come on! I HAVE CANCER, can't you throw me a friggin bone?

all in all i'm doing well... i figure the worse i feel, the better i'm getting, so bring it on! and screw cancer.

Monday, February 07, 2005

even though i'm opposed to the idea of wearing a wig... i think it would be really lovely if i started sporting an afro. i could walk around with a hairpick in it and fluff it occasionally. that would be hot, no?

i would like to share with you a list that my fiance whipped up for me after i sent him a smart ass email:

>1. Yes = Yes, but get me a frickin' popsicle while you're up.
>2. No = You're a moron, and I have cancer.
>3. Maybe = What the hell are you asking me for? I have CANCER!
>4. We need = Get me some better cookies because a girl in my condition can't sustain herself on those crappy merengue turds.
>5. I am sorry = You should really feel like an ass for arguing w/ a girl w/ cancer.
>6. We need to talk = We need to talk about your fartillitos and how it affects my treatment protocol.
>7. Sure, go ahead = Why do I care? I'm taking EPO to boost my red blood cells and I'll be able to kick your skinny ass in a month or so.
>8. Do what you want = Do what you want, but bring me another flippin' popsicle or don't bother coming back.
>9. I am not upset = It's not you, it's the cancer that makes me throw-up.
>10. You're certainly attentive tonight = You're blocking the TV, can you do something w/ that?

i took the tapes off my incision on saturday, and i have a perfect straight scar above my collar bone. it looks like i was involved in a knife fight.



tomorrow i have another surgery. this is my life now. surgery and doctor's appointments and thinking about things that never would have crossed my mind before.


this morning as i was driving to work i thought about how tired i am. just fatigued... a sort of unwell, tired feeling that seems pretty constant. and then i thought how lucky i am to have john and to have a mom and dad that support me and make me feel loved, and even through all this, i have a support system. that's comforting.

i'm going to have soup for breakfast. because i can, that's why. and i may take myself out to lunch today. because i can. the little things in life. soup and a good sandwich. a phone call to my mom. laying in bed with john, laughing and making fun of eachother. the dogs. isabel. an orange popsicle. it's all so special.

Friday, February 04, 2005

the funny thing is that now cancer is all i can think about. twenty four hours a day. and it never really leaves my consciousness. in the back of my mind, everything has the shadow of cancer on it. the good stuff, the bad stuff... everything.

my neck is a bit sore today. still swollen... and i'm wondering if it's ever going to go back to normal.

this is all so... surreal. almost like it's happening to someone else. it will get more real next week, i'm sure. tuesday i have a catheter put in my chest so they can give the chemo to me without having to poke me with a needle every time. the idea sucks, but i'm sure i'll be glad once i have it it. the prospect of losing my hair scares me. i don't relish the idea of being bald.