Thursday, December 29, 2011

NEW Page on ALL

Check out the new page I made that describes ALL and basic info about leukemia.

Disclaimer: this is not WedMD nor am I a doctor. This page is just to help me better understand just what the hell happened to me.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maternal Instinct

So beat today. Here's a comic I drew a few days ago. Enjoy!

My chemo would make a great parent:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chemo - Week 3

Alright! It's Pac Man time again!

Tonight at midnight I get my third dose of chemo-cocktail. Ooh! Look who showed up!

Go team chemo! Kill those cancers!

Music courtesy of my good friend Brigida!

10 Minutes

A lot can happen in 10 minutes when you're stuck in a hospital bed:

One day at a time often becomes one minute at a time.

Monday, December 26, 2011


So, Santa does visit the oncology unit during Christmas. And he appears in the form of awesome nurses and doctors.

Yesterday started out depressing. I was pretty sure I'd be that sick kid in the window of the Children's Hospital that Macaulay Culkin sees on his way to prepare a house of horrors for Joe Pesci and Daniel Stem. You know the part. It's everything I've been thinking about since I found out I'd be in the hospital during Christmas. If you don't know what part I'm talking about, you haven't watched Home Alone or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York nearly enough. I will allow you to take a moment to watch it and then get back to me.

These are my two all-time favorite movies in the world. Like fine wines, they only get better and more hilarious the more you times you drink.

So, anyway, great movies all around. But just avoid the third one, which I shall not speak of here.

Back to Christmas festivities in the oncology unit. I had written my wish list, and had expected to receive only a few of the things I'd wanted. (No pooh yet.) But the one that I wasn't expecting to receive was number 4. To be able to taste water and for my mouth not to taste like ash. Solution?

It. Is. Awesome. It's my new favorite thing. All these 25 years I was working so hard to produce my OWN saliva, when they had this stuff all ready to do the job for me. All those tedious years chewing over-cooked, dry turkey. All those times when a loogey fell short and lay shamefully upon my collar. All those meals I could have slide down nicely down my throat on a slip-n-slide of fake salivation! 

Here's how I think it works:

Or something like that. 

Anyway, the day was turning out to be fantastic. My parents came by with delicious brunch and dinner:

Then my sister and her boyfriend came over:

And then to complete the crew my best buddy in the world arrived and stayed the whole day!

It is sufficient to say that I was a very happy unicorn:

Oh, and this guy showed up. He was cool, but didn't say much: 

He just kind of stared...

Anyway, we commenced games of Apples to Apples - one round of which I won. (In your face, chemo brain!) And then another of my wishes came true! I was able to taste the delicious food my mom had brought from home! (Thanks to "Mouth Kote". Now there's a coat - for your MOUTH!)

All in all, I laughed so hard I got a headache, got exhausted a little less quicker than usual when I went to brush my teeth that night, and had (most of) all my favorite people around me. It was a very un-depressing time in the oncology unit, so a pretty good day. 

Here's to a New Years that's just as good or even better! 


Pink Christmas

So, a nurse came in the other day with this pretty pink Christmas tree. (Fake, of course. Oh, and I added the sunglasses and mustache to complete the ensemble.)

Here's the story that went along with it. I may be butchering it and leaving out key parts, but let's just blame that on chemo brain.

There was a man - an older man, in his 60s - who was diagnosed with ALL (same thing as me) around this time of year. He was stuck in the hospital through the holidays, but kept up his spirits with family and was a really cheerful guy.

(Okay, at this point, I was all, "Awesome! This is a story about a Christmas miracle! How up-lifting!" Yeah, not quite... Well, just wait.)

So the guy went through chemo, went into remission and went home.

("Alright! That's... wait, what?")

But a few years later, he relapsed. The cancer returned, and had to go back to the hospital for more chemo.

("Oh... I thought this story was supposed to make me feel better...")

The cancer went away, but, yet again, it came back. And it kept coming back. And round after round of chemo, it kept coming back...


Until finally he got to an age where he had to decide whether he wanted to spend the rest of his life going through chemo in and out of hospital, or to be maintained until the cancer eventually killed him.

("Uh... please go away... You do know that I have cancer, right?")

So, the man decided that he had lived a full life and wanted to spent what little time he had left with his family and friends. He would go in for transfusions to keep his blood levels up, but other than that they would maintain him and keep him comfortable until he died.

("So, where's the happy part...")

Then something started happening....


Every time he would go to the clinic to get his blood levels checked, the results would come back normal. He was perfectly fine every time he went in. No transfusions needed.

("Okay, took a while, but I'm interested...")

The doctors were stumped. They said, "Well, let's do a bone marrow biopsy just to see what's going on in there." So they did and they found that his cancer was completely gone. Not a trace. It was a miracle. The doctors had no idea how it had happened, but this guy - after so many years of chemo and treatment - was finally cancer-free.

("Aw, that's nice!")

Yup, he ended up living another two and a half years, eventually dying of pneumonia -


But not cancer.

("Heh, heh, that's nice... I guess...")

And every year since, his family has been donating 12 Christmas trees to patients stuck in the hospital during the holidays.

And it is nice. I've never had a pink Christmas, but I think it might be a nice new tradition.

At least I can glean this from that story: I will not let cancer beat me.

I'll probably just get hit by a bus - a NON-Cancer bus! And that's just fine with me!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wishes for Santa

So, what ever you celebrate, you'll probably be getting some kind of gift or gifts this year. Heck, you're probably unwrapping them as I write this. And good on ya. I love unwrapping presents. It makes me feel strong and powerful to strip pretty flesh from boxes and strew it around my like shrapnel at a caveman dinner. It's very satisfying.

And the gifts! Oh, it's the iPhone 4S I've been wanting! And no way! The next installment of that wizard movie! My epic collection is complete. Oh, and look, there are seven more with my name on it. Woohoo! I've gotten everything I've asked for on the list I covertly taped to my parents' and friends' bathroom mirrors!

Ok, that last bit was a fib. I haven't written out a wish list in almost a decade. If I want something for Christmas I buy it myself and put a friend's name on the tag just to save all that trouble. Nowadays the perfect gift is going out for a beer and eating free food at the rents. I don't have the patience to wait all year to buy though snazzy new electronics. I buy them when I want them.

But this year - for obvious reasons - is a very different year. I did end up writing a wish list for Santa, but I wasn't going to at first. I was compelled though after watching countless commercial after commercial about buying the hottest new car, the smelliest new cologne, the sexiest new clothes, and the most efficient new smart phone that can win the National and International Spelling Bees (with only numbers!).

Sitting in the hospital - the oncology unit more specifically - is probably the most depressing, heartbreaking place to be during the holidays. If you know a more depressing place, please let me know and we'll exchange stories. I'm always up for a laugh. Seriously.

So, sitting here, I realized that I didn't want any of that crap they were pushing on TV or any of the material things that I thought I would ever need or even have now. Here's my list for Santa this year: (Keep in mind that I'm 25, not 80 - though that's debatable at the moment...)

1. To take a decent crap.

2. To feel hungry and to be able to sate that hunger just enough.

3. To be able to taste my Christmas dinner.

4. To take a drink of water and not have it taste like ash.

5. To be able to walk up a half a flight of stairs.

6. To be able to stand while brushing my teeth, and not getting winded afterward.

7. To be home for Christmas.

8. To be with my family and friends.

9. To be petted.

10. To not have leukemia.

If your wish list for Santa was anything like this, come on down to the oncology unit and we'll hang. Or, you might already be in an oncology unit, so I'm with you in spirit.

But here's the thing: if you asked for anything other than these things this year, I'm thinking you're in pretty good shape. So here's my gift to you, world. If you're feeling crappy about your gifts or disappointed about something in your life - a girl dumped you, you stubbed your toe, your GPS made you take the long route to K-Mart - just have another read. Check out what I asked Santa for this year, think about what things you were looking forward to this years, and maybe you'll find your day going just a little better.

Disclaimer: This post was not meant to sound bitter or snide (ok, maybe it did. I'm in the freaking hospital with cancer on freaking Christmas. Come on.). What I hope is that people can read this and see that there's much more than toys and electronics and knick knacks for Christmas. It doesn't apply to Christmas, but to every day. Seriously, use me.

If ever you have a day where you're like, "Wow, this sucks." I give you full permission to add, "But not nearly as much as having cancer on Christmas."

So, actually, I think I'll add one more to my wish list:

11. To make one stranger feel just a little happier, even if just for a moment.

I hope I can do that for you today and any day. A little happiness goes a long way.

(Although, a decent pooh would also be good.)


Saturday, December 24, 2011


The makeup of my typical breakfast has certainly changed since I've started chemo. I was never really a foodie, but I'm starting to feel like a walking pharmacy.



Friday, December 23, 2011


So, yesterday was a bad day. I felt utterly betrayed by my body. Less than two weeks ago I was completely "normal", with normal genes. Yesterday, however, I learned this was not the case. According to my doctors, I have abnormal genes.

But I'm not genetically abnormal in a cool way, like this guy:

It's more like this this guy:

My super power is cancer.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I think I'm in the wrong room...

I spent a week at another hospital before being transferred to start my chemo treatment. On the wall on the room there was this sign that identified my needs, my nurses and any special consideration regarding me. It wasn't until the second day there that I realized I may have been in the wrong room:

They changed it when they realized I was, in fact, NOT an 80 year old.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chemo is hard on the heart

I'm pretty sure this is what happened during my chemo treatment last night:

It was not pleasant.