Monday, December 17, 2012

Lap Time

So, one of the hardest long term side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant is extreme fatigue. Most days I struggle to get the simplest of chores done, like laundry or taking a shower. I get tired just standing and brushing my teeth. So when the opportunity to procrastinate comes up, I usually jump at it. Which leads me to Lap Time.

When you have a cat, Lap Time presents itself as one of those golden opportunities to procrastinate. It's is our duty as cat owners to honor Lap Time. Lap Time is a sacred occasion when your kitty blesses you with purrs and cuddles. I would equate Lap Time with being knighted by the Queen. Lap Time is a holy time. We change out plans for Lap Time.

This happens almost everyday:

Honor the Lap Time.

(And get someone else to get groceries.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It's my cancer-versary! Exactly one year ago today I was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Last year, I was so sure I would not live to see my twenty-sixth birthday, and here I am looking forward to my twenty-seventh.

To celebrate this milestone, I'm looking back on all the things I've learned (good and not so good) in the past year.

1. Receiving TREATMENT for cancer often sucks worse than merely HAVING cancer.

I swear, chemotherapy was created to kill you and your cells faster than cancer. It's liking sending in a dragon to chase off the ogre terrorizing the villagers.

2. Prednisone (a.k.a ROIDS) are The Worst Ever.

Only those who have had to take prednisone truly understands just how much Prednisone sucks. And we can safely add (2a. perhaps) Roid-rage is a very real thing.

3. Walking keeps you regular.

More often than not, a good walk is more effective than a hefty laxative.

4. Nurses are luminous archangels sent from Heaven to scare away evil chemo minions. Seriously.

To this day, I never had a single nurse anywhere that wasn't completely devoted to my care. Plus, they always have all the happy medicine.

5. No matter how many times I try to explain it to my friends and family, I will never know how a stem cell transplant works. To this day, it doesn't seem like it should be possible at all.

It's an immune system transplant. It makes as much sense to me as a brain transplant - it shouldn't work, but it does! (Check out my posts on my transplant here.)

6. Sadly, the excuse "But I have cancer" stops working eventually.

I've had to relearn how to cook and clean up after myself. Sigh...

Now it's like:

7. There is a difference between HAVING menopausal symptoms and actually GOING THROUGH menopause.

Either way, you still get hot flashes.

8. I will likely get secondary cancer (cancer that comes from cancer treatment, like radiation) in my lifetime.

Totally lame.

9. Time is a fickle thing.

One year can simultaneously feel like twenty years and one month.

10. You can be twenty-five twice.

Cancer stole my twenty-fifth year, so I'm going to redo twenty-five years. It's also easier number to remember than... 26? I forget...

11. Chemo brain is very real.  

It doesn't go away as fast as some chemo symptoms. I can't even count the times I've gotten up to go to the bathroom, and ended up in the living room only to realize three hours later that I really really have to pee.

12. Cancer would have broken me if I hadn't reached out to people going through the same thing.

I love all my friends I met through the LLS website and forums.

13. Gluing googly eyes to everything is always hilarious.

14. Toilet paper ain't got nothin on wet wipes.

I don't think I'll ever go back to two-ply...
15. "Neutropenia" is not a color, it is a condition.

I've learned a whole new vocabulary after a year of cancer treatment, and most of it involves numbers.

16. Getting into remission was only the beginning of my cancer journey. 

Cancer will follow me for the rest of my life, in the form of pills, doctors appointments, lifelong effects of chemo and radiation, and the fear of recurrence.

17. My parents are awesome and are superheroes.

18. Yoga is the best for recovery and helps you cope with chemo side effects.

But damn is it hard.

19. A cat purring on your face is the best medicine.   

Damn, I love my kitty.

Here's to many more cancer-versaries and twenty-fifth birthdays!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Flash of Hotness

As a result of my chemotherapy, full body radiation, and bone marrow transplant, I am now going through menopause.

Hot flashes are not, as I had thought, flashes of hotness, like this:

But more like this:

Monday, October 15, 2012


One of the medications I'm on is called CYCLOSPORINE. (I always imagine this prescription in all caps. It just has one of those names that screams at you each time you read it.) It's an immunosuppressant (probably my favorite word - so fun to spell!), and I'll be on it for the better part of a year. These pills are huge. When I first got them from the pharmacy I literally thought they were suppositories (another fun word to spell).

Among the many side affects (which include hand tremors - I have that one, yay) is hair growth. Yay! No more baldness, right? Well, not quite. Of course, when going through cancer treatment, there's always a downside to everything. Cancer is all about extremes.

Here's how it went the first few weeks on cyclosporine:

I used to be as bald as a fetus. Now I am one hairy mo fo.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ready for the World

I'm back at home and my hospital leash is longer. My doctors have set me loose back in the wild. I am less a patient and more of a person, woohoo! Some of my medications make my hands shake, but I don't think it affects me much:

I'm lookin' good.