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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My mommie and me

My mom came into town this past weekend to go with me to my 4th chemo treatment...which means 2 cycles down! Yes! Die Cancer Cells Die! High fives all around.

The thing that bums me out a little bit is the the fact that my doctor told me a few weeks ago that he thinks after my first 4 initial cycles of chemo, I should have 2 more. Umm, what?? I had just wrapped my head around 4 cycles, plotted it on my calendar and determined that the last one would take place right before Thanksgiving which is perfect because I love the holidays. (Seriously, Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" is on my ipod 24/ just makes me happy). So as you can imagine I was really upset at the idea of more chemo and more nausea and more feeling crappy (and my hair, but more on that later). He said the option is up to me, but the alternative is radiation. Radiation scares me b/c of the possible risk of breast cancer and lung cancer 10 years from now...yes Cancer treatment can begat more Cancer because of the localized treatment...I swear it just makes you wanna scream! So even though chemo sucks it does seem to be the lesser of two evils, so we shall see.

For this treatment it was good to have my mom there and my friend Kamilla's mom Lorna came too (and she brought me plenty of ginger tea and ginger candy!). Things were running a little slow in the chemo infusion suite this time since they were kind of busy with a lot of patients. Thus, my mom and I were a little annoyed because we wanted to get started...well ok, and we were worried about being late to our massage appts that were later that evening. I was tempted to tell one of the nurses, "ok I've done this before, somebody get me an IV stat and lets get this show on the road!" Finally after what felt like forever, the fun began (lol) and we were done in time for our fabulous massages at Exhale Spa. A-MA-ZING. Just what I needed after being in the hospital for 4 hours...actually I've decided I need to hit up a spa after every treatment, you know just to ease my nerves...for medicinal purposes...Daddy are you reading this? :)

After our massages we had a great dinner where I ate too much (I've discovered my chemo loss of appetite only seemed to last one day...kind of a bummer since I have the problem of eating too much on most days) and then we watched the movie Fame. The next day we went to this great shoe event and bought designer shoes for $50 (Mine are purple suede Sergio Rossi pumps and my mom got a pair of Botkier gold pumps--I love New York!) We had dinner with a group of my friends Sat night and enjoyed some good ol' fashioned girl time and of course being fabulous!

It was great to spend time with my mom, although I was a bit nervous trying to make sure that my apartment was clean enough for her standards :) But she was a great house guest, so she's welcome back anytime.

As for how I'm feeling, its up and down. Today was worse than yesterday and I find that if I don't think about it, I feel much better and when I think about it, I instantly feel's weird how the mind works. I'm just happy that September is coming to a close and its almost October, that means I'm one step further to the finish line!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's nothing a little celeb sighting couldnt fix...

Well its a week later and I made it through the 3rd round of chemo feeling pretty good all weekend long. This round was vastly different from the last one and I'm so grateful. Part of the reason I felt so good was that I had my celeb fix as a seatfiller at the MTV Video Music Awards! My roommate Renee works at MTV and she got me into the awards show and I was really excited because I had the chance to sit near Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl, Lady Gaga, Joe and Jermaine Jackson and the ultimate...Ms. Beyonce herself! Seatfillers are those people who fill the seats at award shows to make it look full, they also sit in the seat of a celeb when they get up to perform or win an award.

Here's how being a seatfiller works: you get dressed up really cute because you might be on TV! (however walking to the subway at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon wearing leather leggings does make you feel a little...inappropriate). Then you wait in a really long line to go in a hot room with a bunch of other inappriopriately dressed seatfillers (sequins, heavy eyeliner, tight shirts, everything you could imagine). Finally after you are patted down by security to make sure you're not a crazy stalker, you are ushered into Radio City Music Hall to sit in the front of the theater. The production staff explains the rules: you only move during the commercial breaks and you go where the staff tells you to sit and if you happen to sit next to a celeb, DO NOT talk to them (hmm I thought, I'm sure Beyonce wont mind if I ask her where her wig is from). So I sat with the seatfillers for the 1st part of the show where I almost missed Kanye jumping on stage because I thought it was a joke. During the 1st commercial break I was moved to the middle of the theater where I sat right behind Jermaine Jackson and right in front of all the girls from The Hills. I have no idea what happened during the show at that time because I was simultaneously trying to eavesdrop on Lauren Conrad's conversation behind me and figure out what product Jermaine uses on his hair to make it look so....greasy. And his skin up close? Awful.  But I digress...

My joy of scoring such a great seat quickly came to an end when this guy who wasn't famous (uh 'scuse me, who are you?) came back to get his seat. So back to the seatfillers section I went. Luckily I snuck to the front of the crowd and was chosen to move to a seat 3 rows from the stage! Ne-Yo was right behind me and J.Lo and Marc Anthony were in the row in front of me. Can we talk about how un-bootylicious J.Lo looked? She was tiny in person which was very disheartening to see because if she looks bigger on TV than how was I going to look?? (because of course, I expected to make it on TV...and believe me I tried). Actually most people with the exception of Alicia Keys who looked normal were much tiner in person. 

My new seat was great because I had an amazing view of the stage and for some reason no-one ever came to get their seat so I stayed there for the whole show! They moved the celebs around when they won different awards and at one point I saw Beyonce's dad sitting in the front row, 2 rows away from me. Beyonce had just performed so I knew she would be coming to sit down soon.  And then it happened, she walked by, said hi to Ne-Yo and sat down in the front row. We sat in the same section, so that means we were practically sitting together...ha!

It was a fun experience.  I didn't get to actually speak to Beyonce but I was looking in People magazine a few days ago and there is a picture of her and Lady Gaga at the VMAs and I swear I see my head right behind Beyonce's weave! I remember when the picture was being taken and I tried to make myself taller to get in it...check it out above. I took a few other pics on my camera phone, they weren't the best but I tried to document it somewhat.  Sadly I didn't see myself on TV but thats ok cuz I was there, looking fabulous of course!

Friday, September 11, 2009


So chemo #3 was today (well technically yesterday seeing how its past 1am now) and it definitely went better than the last one. Yea for chemo #3! I of course had my team with aunt Harriet and my aunt Michelle came with me and we had a good 'ol time in the chemo suite. Ross called me during the treatment and said, "you always have a entourage during chemo" and I'm like, "Of course! I need to make an event of this!" So the "A", "B" and "V" drugs went smoothly. The "D" drug (the one that takes an hour to receive) hurt a little bit at first but my nurse adjusted it and it felt much better so no more pain after that.

My aunt Harriet asked me how I decided to update my blog and I said that the moments that I want to document just come to me and I basically write them in my head before I head to the computer. I didn't think I was going to write today because I didn't really feel like I had much to say, but I was on my way out to dinner with friends tonight, and as I was getting ready, dancing in my room to Michael Jackson's greatest hits CD (RIP MJ, I was supposed to marry you---until I met Ross that is) I realized, "Hey I had chemo today and I feel good, whew-hoo!" so I felt that I need to document this feeling now in case the next few days get a little not-so-whew-hoo.

My mother reminded me to try and think positive thoughts (and drink lots of green tea and eat lots of ginger-thanks Mommie!) as I headed into my 3rd treatment and I admit it was hard at first. I was feeling a little down at the beginning of this week and I think it was the dred of having to go through the experience of feeling sick and gross again (hey, didn't I just do this??) and that's not really a picker upper. But I tried to get a hold of myself by doing things I would normally do if I lived in a Cancer-free world. So it's Fashion Week in NYC and my friend Chandra invited me to a show on Thursday night. Now us being us, we lagged around at Chandra's office too long and missed the show (made it just in time to see people walking away with gift bags--darn!) but it was also Fashion's Night Out, so we hit a few fashion parties afterwards, met some interesting characters, saw Brad and Taylor from The Rachel Zoe Project and had a really good time. Tonight I had dinner with a group of women that my friend Sherry put together, it was a good night of female bonding and yummy BBQ food (yep, the appetite is still intact...Virgil's BBQ hit the spot).

So I feel like I needed to write these moments down, both in my personal journal and on my blog. Times like this prove that that I didn't let Cancer stand in the way of living my life. Times like this show me that I need to look back on them and say yeah, I can do this! I can push thru the hurt, the scaredness, the nausea, the frustration, and the complete, utter and overwhelming fear to just be me. Whew-hoo!

P.S. The pic above is of me posing before my night out, gotta strut it while I can!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Green with envy...

I've shared with some of my friends about my struggle with jealousy as I continue on my journey to be Cancer-free. Jealous of what? Everyone and everything. After I first got diagnosed I found myself becoming jealous of random strangers walking down the streets, my friends and family, and even actors on TV shows. I was convinced that everyone else's life was so easy...even if they were dealing with an issue at work, a problem with a boyfriend or a conflict somewhere else in their lives, they still didn't have to worry about Cancer so those things seemed so trivial to me. They could just bop along in life, healthy and carefree. "That used to be be me!", I think sometimes when I see a group of girls shopping on a sunny afternoon and just enjoying life. It's hard but I have to remind myself that to an outsider, I AM that girl who's strutting down the street without a care in the world...I don't look sick so someone dealing with their own serious issues could think that my life is so easy. So I'm trying to keep it all in perspective because I don't know what the next person is dealing with. It really stinks that right now my life is filled with chemo and needles and nausea, but its also filled with love and friends and wedding planning, so I do have plenty to be happy about.

I'm also happy that I'm feeling pretty good now. My nausea slowed down by Thursday and I've been feeling like the same ol' me the past few days. I do have this funky thing where the meds are irritating the veins in my "chemo arm" and it kinda hurts on and off throughout the day. But I'll take pain in the arm over nausea any day!

Labor day weekend was just what I needed after a nausea-filled week. Ross came to visit and we spent the weekend hanging with friends and talking about the future so it was so nice to have that time with him. I miss him already but I feel better looking at pics of us like the one above of us showing off our beach bodies at the Vineyard (sexy aren't we? ha!) to remember the fun times we have together. Next up, chemo #3...gotta keep the eye on the prize!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh, that's right I do have Cancer

I think I was hit with the reality stick this past weekend. Up until this point I've been feeling pretty good, snapping my fingers, smiling, two-steppin' and all that jazz to the tune of Cancer. "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" by Puff Daddy and Mase (yes, circa 1997) was my theme song. Then my body said, "uh wait Missy you do have Cancer and you will feel bad some days." I had my 2nd treatment of chemo on Friday and it hit me a little harder than I had hoped. My parents were in town and I think it was really hard for them to actually see me in the hospital, let alone on the oncology floor receiving poisonous drugs in my veins. I can only imagine how it must feel to have a child go through something as scary as Cancer and I wanted to show them that I was ok, I can do this and be fine. And I really was at first. My aunt Ethelyn and my roommate Tiffany also joined me and we laughed, joked and of course had a few photo opps (see above). My mother and I even did a little wedding planning on the side--passed hors d'oeuvres vs. hors d'oeuvres stations, so many choices! I was so busy running my mouth that I didn't realize the nurse had already given me the first 3 drugs, she had to show me the empty bottles to prove it to me. But the 4th drug took a little longer than expected, there was some pain as it flowed into my system so the nurse had to keep adjusting it and I kept thinking, "wait, I'm not supposed to feel pain! I didn't sign up for this" There was a part of me that thought I would be the "straight A" cancer know, the one that got through this whole ordeal with no pain or discomfort...ha! But the reality is that pain and discomfort kind of go hand in hand with the chemo, so it is what it is.

On Friday night I felt fine. Then Sat I went to my best friend's house for a BBQ and ate much more than I should have, still no nausea though! My cockiness was shut down on Sunday when everything hit me. The nausea feels a little like the morning after drinking too many cocktails...not that I ever have personally experienced that :)...but it never goes away no matter what you do. Then my mouth and ears started to hurt...the chemo attacks all the fast acting cells in your body and your mouth contains many of these, hence the hurting. I have this weird feeling in my mouth that I can only describe as "spicy" and I am NOT a fan of spiciness (I have a very bland palate) so this isnt fun for me. So on Sunday I kept it low-key, I hung out with my Mommie and Daddy (yes I'm 26 years old and I still call my parents that...I tried to stop in high school but to no avail, they're even listed in my phone under those names) and I admit I didnt want them to leave the next day because at a time like this you really just want your Mommie and Daddy right? But I sucked it up and tried to go about my normal routine because I think thats the one thing that will bring me through this whole ordeal...normalness. I need to feel like I haven't succumbed to this disease and I didnt let it get the best of me. Monday was bad, Tuesday was better and today I'm maybe at 85%.

I think one thing that has helped me get through this process is the love and support I have received from so many people. On Monday night when I was feeling especially sorry for myself (pity party for one please!) I got about 4 cards in the mail and it was so good to know that people were out there praying for me and wishing me the best. What I have to keep in mind is that it could always be worse. I've read of people literally disabled by the side effects of chemo and unable to go to work, walk down the street or do anything. I do know that I am lucky and reality is I don't have a choice so I have to do my best to get through it. So I've decided I need a new theme song, hmm...something by Beyonce perhaps?