This blog post is a bit late, and for that, I must apologize. I actually still work full-time, so I just couldn’t squeeze it in…you know….with all my available free time and all. Just kidding.
Many of you know, and I’ve talked frequently about my “Fake Family”, who really aren’t Fake to me at all. My parents had a group of best friends growing up, who 33 years ago, began a tradition of spending every Memorial Day together. Well that tradition has continued, to now includes 3 generations of fake family. I can honestly say that my “fake cousins” are more than just my best friends. They are my sisters/brothers, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for any one of them. That being said, last week, as noted above, marked our 33rd annual Memorial Day weekend with the Fake Fam. For Derek, Mack and I, however, it meant a whole lot more this year. Just to have a little feeling of “normal” for our little family, meant more than words I could ever type. There were certainly times this past year where I certainly felt like I may not make it to this Memorial Day…and yet…..Not only did I make it, but I honestly felt the best (both physically and mentally), that I’ve felt in a very long time. Turns out, they were all just what I needed! …Well them…..and a few games of flip cup. Obvie.
I am competitive, and I love flip cup. Has anyone ever played survivor cup? Cause its even more awesome. My bald head must have made me more aerodynamic or something, because I was a “one and done” champ this weekend 🙂 Additionally, has anyone ever played the 100% completely inappropriate game of Cards Against Humanity? Seriously, right up my ally with my sense of humor. Just sayin.
*Note to my oncology staff: Please don’t freak out. YES there were like 30 people in one house for a whole weekend, and NO I still don’t have any white blood cells (well that’s actually not entirely true…at chemo on Weds. I had 7!!)…but my Aunt Karen and Uncle Mike very graciously leant Derek, Mack and I their own bedroom, along with private bathroom, which was a HUGE help and comfort to us. They’re pretty awesome. I guess we’ll keep em.
Please see pics below of my “normal” weekend. We joked around a lot about “catching” my cancer….and being sure not to drink out of the same cup as me, etc., and about how my hair is growing back, but literally growing like 3 times as fast in only 2 spots; worked out and felt energetic afterwards… It was fan-friggin-tastic, and I’m so looking forward to my “cousin” Mike’s wedding, where we can all be together again 🙂
And so here we are again–another round of chemo down on Weds. The side effects weren’t too horrible this time, Although I’ve lost about 5 lbs since my last round–in large part due to my UTI and the lack of appetite. I haven’t weighed myself in a week however, and I’m quite certain I gained that back. lol. oh well. I saw Dr. C….normally oncologists don’t come to see you every other week; more like every 4, but I’m “special”, in that pretty much I’m like always in the hospital, so she comes about every other week 🙂 I’ll take it! Anyways here is the good news, that I didn’t realize until she told me……………
WEDS JUNE 12TH AT 10AM…………………………………MY LAST CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(I won’t bore you with the amount of exclamation points I would like to add to this statement).
And again, as per usgh (thats the abbreviated form of “usual”. I had no idea how to even phonetically spell that. I tried my best.), there was a catch. Instead of having my PET scan 3 months after my last chemo, as was the original plan, I will have it again in 2 months time–so August. YAY!…thats what my brain said. But after speaking with Dr. C. more here’s what we came to find out. If the PET in August shows ANYTHING at all (as in anything lights up in the scan), I will immediately have a biopsy to determine whether or not in cancerous. If it is……They will being the process of harvesting my own stem cells for a transplant, and more chemo.
Ok…so initially I thought–and perhaps it was the plan, and maybe it changed? I’m not sure….that if the final PET scan showed the cancer was still there, that they would simply add 4 more chemo treatments (as 16 is the most allowable amount you can have without completely damaging your body). But now the way I understand it is simply, if the cancer isn’t gone by then, it means this chemo didn’t work as well as they had hoped for me. Remember those crappy statistics about if I relapse within one year, then there is a measly 30-40% overall survival rate? Well….I’m not quite sure what this means then. Can I really relapse when I haven’t officially been in remission? Is this just an extension of my previous cancer, or has more grown? Ya…..basically, I simply decided not to ask. Honestly, I don’t think I really want to know the answer.
Obviously fingers crossed that I’m declared in remission, rather than still have cancer in 2 months time, but I suppose the good news is that my spleen seems to be functioning well enough that they plan to harvest my own stem cells, rather than requiring a donor. Also, I suppose if I’m going to be literally enclosed in a bubble in the hospital for 6 weeks time, I guess I would rather not have TOO much time away from cancer treatment, so that it’s an easier transition. The closer I get to “normal” the harder it will be to interrupt that again. And so, my previous post about a one year bucket list, may have to be amended slightly, depending on the results, but its cool. I still completely plan on knocking all of those things out. Additionally, I’m still happy to have a few months off of chemo! I’ve made a mental note to try my very best not to worry about the results, and simply to enjoy my time off of nausea. More than that, it makes me so sad that Mack–who is INSANE these days by the way–always wants to run and play; wants me to hold him; wants me to play outside in the sun….all things I simply can’t really do yet. I’m sick of hearing him say “Mommy sick; I make mommy sad”. :*( I usually try my best to be a normal mommy, but have to hold down the urge to puke quite often when I end up over-doing it. So…..to even have a month or so to play hard with my little guy is well worth it to me. And if it turns out that I am in remission? Well you all better be ready for a huge party!!!!!!
A friend of mine and Derek’s recently emailed me about a friend of his (did you get all that? geez written down that seems a hell of a lot more complicated than it really is!) who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease as well. I think she was pretty much in shock, and I have emailed her and messaged her a few times, as well as referred her to my blog. I often think that I am “lucky”? Lucky isn’t really the word, but I’m going to use it here anyway….lucky to kind of know what to expect with all of this, after having seen my sister go through this mess twice. Even still, it is simply so scary. Afterall, the whole reason I started this blog is because I found someones’ blog shortly after my diagnosis who had similar symptoms as me, and it made me feel better. People tend to bond over a common enemy, right? So, girlfriend, if you’re reading this, I have a few words of advice status post the initial diagnosis…..please feel free not to listen to any of it, because I’m basically full of shit, but take of it what you will 🙂
1. All of a sudden, everyone you know will give you a story about someone they know with cancer. Just a note here people….I know you’re trying to help, and may not know what to say, but typically, someone recently diagnosed with cancer, doesn’t really want to hear about someone else with cancer. MOREOVER, (and this has happened to me DOZENS of times), don’t say, “Oh XXX had cancer. She died.”. Um, kthanks. That was super inspirational. Now fuck off.
2. Invest in an IPAD, and V neck T shirts (old navy has the best ones for cheap and are extra soft). Random things, but once you have your metaport in, you will need a V-neck so that they can access it. Otherwise they’ll put you in one of those heinous hospital gowns. I mean seriously with those? Someone out there needs to design a better looking option, please. the IPAD was great; easy to use, can bring it everywhere, and it got me through all the hospital stays and chemo treatments.
3. YOLO. ok, I admittedly had to google this word. 😦 I thought it had something to do with frozen yogurt. But for the not so hip, such as myself, it means, “you only live once”. To which I say….BULLSHIT. This is NOT your only life. You will see. Once you beat this cancer bitch, you will begin a brand new life; one where you learn to appreciate things that you didn’t before. One where you look around and realize there is always someone who is worse off than you are. I have yet to officially get to this point, but I know that I will.
As a final note, I had a long conversation with my Aunt Karen last weekend about this very topic, and I felt it was important to share. I have met A LOT of people with cancer over the past 6 months. Cancer is a devastating disease, sometimes leading to a devastating end. But that being said, you have 2 options. You can either let cancer completely define who you are–continuing to keep it at the forefront of every conversation; becoming engrossed in a tangled web of toxic negativity; all of which are completely understandable. I mean, believe me I certainly have had my moments in this category!! …OR….you can look at cancer as a tick mark on a long check list that you simply have to complete before moving on. You can totally “Destiny Child” that shit, and be a survivor, even if you are still enduring the battle. You can stop feeling sorry for yourself, and realize….things could always be worse. And years from now, you can look back and thank God that you were able to view life from a completely different perspective.
Kris & Marty; we continue to pray for you every night. Poor Mack now thinks you are one person when we sing our prayers “KWISNMAWTY”…..but I’m sure the Big Guy upstairs is able to interpret. You both totes got this. I have big plans for all 3 of us running in a race one of these days. Totally do-able, knowing how strong you both are 🙂
Until next time! Whoop!!