Friday, August 23, 2013

Chemo Star

I had an appointment with my oncologist today (best oncologist ever-- Dr. Gregory Litton) and he said I'm a chemo star. Woo hoo! Apparently I am doing amazingly well because I've been through 7 rounds of the hardest chemo around and have only been to the ICU once. Who knew this is what amazing feels like? Ha ha.

I was particularly scared to start chemo this most recent time because although it's the easiest on my immune system, it's also my most nausea-inducing chemo. Last time I got it, it was baaaad. I mean, throwing up many times a day for many days. This time (and no this is not a commercial) I got the Zofran patch. Amazing! No throw ups! I still felt nauseated and slept a lot, but I was up and doing things much sooner than previously. Plus, Michael has been between semesters so we have been partying. Partying married-people style. We've played mini-golf, croquet, bocce ball, bowled, eaten out, played video games, cooked, and spent time with friends. Heaven.

Oh and we've gone shopping. This is from awhile ago, but check out the picture of me at the bottom of the page at Walmart when my immune system was down. I would have been embarrassed if Michael hadn't been right there with me. Something about having a hot husband that still likes you even when you look like this gives you confidence.

Alright, time for a funny cancer story. Hopefully it's as funny to you as it was to me. Michael and I were at the outlets shopping and I didn't have any makeup or my wig on. To me, it was incredibly obvious that I have cancer. Michael says it wasn't, but come on, what do you think when you see a pale, bald woman? Anyway we were checking out and the cashier asked, "Would you like to donate a dollar to help in the fight against cancer?" She looked up timidly. Michael and I laughed and said no. I followed it up by saying, "We hate people with cancer." The poor cashier clearly didn't know how to respond and Michael hurriedly tried to explain that I was only joking. Oh boy. Maybe it's just me, but it seemed funny to ask an obvious cancer patient to donate towards cancer. Not bad or offensive or anything, just funny.

Annnd another selfie because when I actually take the time to put my wig on, it needs to be documented.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Month of Crystal

That's what Michael calls the month of July. We have our anniversary on July 9 and my birthday on July 26, so he ends up working really extra hard to make me happy. From all the celebrating to chemo going great (well, you know, chemo is chemo), it really was my month. And I actually have pictures to document it all!
Our anniversary was celebrated in the hospital this month since I was there getting high-dose methotrexate, but it really was great. Okay, admittedly methotrexate does crazy things to my memory, but from what I do remember, it was excellent. We got pizza from the cafeteria, opened presents, and just enjoyed each other's company.

And not to brag, but I am horrible at drawing and I spent forever on this sign for Michael that I hung up in my hospital room and I am quite proud. (For those of you who don't know, Michael is big into video games.)


After getting chemo (this round it was ifosfamide and etoposide), I felt pretty sick for a few days and then felt better, as is typical with these drugs. However, I continued to feel extremely tired. Not like sleepy tired, but my body was tired. I could barely walk more than a few steps without getting out of breath and needing to sit down. This is also pretty typical, but it lasted a little longer than usual. I went to get a routine after-chemo blood test and unfortunately all of my counts were in the pits. Pretty much everything that could be low, was extremely low. My white blood cells were at 0.3 and my neutrophils were at 0 (same numbers as when I was admitted to the ICU). My red blood cells, platelets, hematocrit, hemoglobin, potassium, and magnesium were all very low as well. That's why I was continuing to feel so tired.

Two days later (the day before my birthday), my counts had not really improved, so I was admitted to the hospital just for the day to get 2 units of blood and platelets. As soon as my platelets were done, they took my temperature and it was slowly climbing. I went home and continued to take my temperature obsessively about every 5 minutes. I started to cry as my temperature quickly rose to 100.6. I was scared, and folks the ICU is not a fun place to be. I called the cancer center and my oncologist told me that it is not uncommon for transfusions to cause a low fever. He told me to take some Tylenol and go to the hospital if it rose past 101 degrees. Well, that Dr. Litton knows what he's talking about. My fever came right down and stayed down and I got to attend my awesome birthday party the next day. It is incredible that despite having no immune system, I did not get sick and I had tons of energy to enjoy spending time with so many friends and family.

Oh, and Michael is the best. He got me my 2 favorite video games and some new clothes for my birthday. The first video game he was too excited to give me so he had me open it a few days early.

Now, in belated celebration of our 2-year anniversary, I will close with some pictures of Michael and I. Michael has been my very best friend and greatest support for the last 6 years now and it has been wonderful. Here are just a few pictures beginning with our first date in 2007, and ending with this year.