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Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Home!!!

Que Daughtery's 'I'm Going Home" song because I have finally made it back home after weeks of being in the hospital and it feels so good. I'm so happy to be reunited with my bed and my shower and my apartment. Each day I begged the nurses and docs to tell me when I could one could make me any promises, but I knew today would be the day.

The hospital is supposed to be peaceful, but they don't let you get a lot of rest since they are consistently waking you up to take your vitals and blood pressure. Plus they are dosing you with various meds throughout the day. So I never felt like I really rested there. I'm not gonna lie, it was hard...the hardest thing that I've ever had to deal with, but I'm so thrilled to say that its over.

I was so fortunate to have my family and friends come visit me and send cards to let me know they were thinking about me. It meant so much to me to be supported throughout this somewhat lonely process.

Of course there will be lots of checkups over the next few months and I'm definitely not up to par yet...there will be a long road of recovery for me but I'm just looking forward to the future!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Waiting Game

I'm trying to stay calm but its hard. Basically now I'm in a waiting game of when I can go home. My blood counts dropped to where my friends and family have to wear masks when they visit so that's a good sign, because once they go down they can come back up. But I want to go home so badly. I feel ok...not great because there is some vomiting involved and nausea, but overall I don't feel like complete s**t which is a huge step up from how I felt after the ICE chemo (sorry mom and dad, that's the only way to describe it).

I've been told that usually people's counts go back up after 10 days after transplant, I'm on day 4 so I'm trying not to freak out. I ask every nurse and doctor on their opinion and take the opinion that gets me out sooner. I've heard it could be as early as 7 days from one nurse, so I'm hoping that will be my case, but I know that its unlikely. This is the hard part and I knew it would be but you don't get it until you're actually here and you can't go home. My parents are here everyday and Ross comes when he can in between going to his new job. I've been able to have some visitors so that makes the time go by, but its still hard. The doctors want to make sure my blood counts are high enough that I don't get an infection when I leave. I get this, I really do, but it doesn't make it any easier. I'm praying to God to give me the strength to get through this, for this is the hardest thing I've ever been through. So I can't wait to look back on this and feel with joy that I got through it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Last day of chemo...EVER!!!

Today I had the "M" in the BEAM chemo that I've been receiving over the last 5 still blows my mind that I had chemo for 6 days straight. As much as it stinks to be in the hospital for that long, I do think that being here has helped me feel better throughout the chemo process because I'm constantly hydrated and given meds whenever I need them. If I was at home I would have to keep reminding myself to drink Gatorade and water and I'm sure I would be much sicker. That being said, I still wish I was at home (lol) but trying the find the silver lining in this whole experience.

Tomorrow is my "day of rest" where I have no treatments so that's exciting and then the next day is my stem cell transplant. Basically I sit while the stem cells are dripped into my body via an IV. Then they go do their thing...replenish me, recover me, heal me. It's a waiting game after that, because my blood counts are so low that the stem cells will gradually increase them. They need to reach a certain level before I can leave. I'm praying that I recover fast and I feel like I have youth and health (other than the cancer I'm very healthy...the nurses are always impressed about my blood pressure) on my side. I know good things take time but I hope this good thing has a fast forward button on it.

So we shall see.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finding something good in today

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day. ~Author Unknown

My wedding planner Heather sent me this quote this morning and it rings so true. I am finally in the hospital for my transplant after months and months of stressing out about it, it is here. Now it's definitely not fun, but I tried to bring things with me that would make the experience a little better. I'm in a private room with my radio, ipod, computer, tons of books, aromatherapy diffusers and blankets made especially for me (thanks Aunt Claire and Mrs. Cooks!). And of course Ross and my mom are here with me. My dad and perhaps my little brother Garrett are coming next week.

So what's bad about today? I'm hooked up to an IV with chemo dripping into my body as I type. I'm stuck in the hospital for at least 3 weeks and this is only Day 2.

But what's good? I don't feel sick (yet...check back with me in a few days), I put on my makeup, a cute outfit and currently I am sitting in a chair up and alert instead of lying in the bed.

Plus today is my wedding day! Well, kinda. One year from today Ross and I will be getting married--June 4, 2011. It's hard to believe that it's only a year away, especially when I'm stuck in this hospital. But going through this now will make that day even more special and I can't wait for it to get here.

I know that I won't continue to feel as good as I feel now, but I hope that even on my worst days I can find one little tiny morsel of goodness. Thanks Heather for the inspiration!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Counting down the days...

This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend and I was determined to make the best of it, as I will be admitted to the hospital this Thursday for my stem cell transplant. It’s not an easy pill to swallow because I don’t know how bad I will feel, how long I will be there and how I will survive being in the hospital for weeks on end. I was told I could be there anywhere from 3-4 weeks which is a lonngggg time. I’ve never been anywhere for that long…no vacation, no work trip, nothing. I feel like I’m headed for a jail sentence (which honestly at times I would prefer), because I simply cant imagine what it will be like to not feel the sun on my face or the wind in my hair for that long. Plus hospitals stink! I’m a fanatical weather checker…I tune in to the Today show each morning to find out what the weather will be, what outfit I should wear depending on the temp and if I should use an umbrella. I even double check on my phone to make sure that it syncs up with Al’s forecast. And for 3 weeks the weather outside won’t even matter. I found myself looking at the weekend forecast this morning and I had to remind myself it wouldn’t matter because I would be stuck inside the hospital…I could wear a bikini or a snowsuit and it wouldn’t matter.

It’s really hard to comprehend that this is actually happening to me. Although I had a great weekend…saw Sex and the City 2, hung out in the Hamptons at a pool party, spent time in Central Park with friends…in the back of my mind I knew this would all end very soon. I tried to memorize the trees, the grass, my apartment, my block, anything that will stick with me over these next few weeks. Many times this weekend I found myself consumed with emotion at the drop of a hat at the thought of what’s ahead of me. Ross has done his best to comfort me and my parents have already made arrangements to come back to NYC, but the bottom line is that no one will know the pain, fatigue, and worry that I feel except for me when I am lying in that hospital bed. It’s a scary, scary thing and I can’t say how anyone would prepare for it. I found myself dealing with a lot of anxiety these past couple of weeks and have had trouble sleeping at night because I would wake up in tears at the thought of everything. I’ve known since February that this procedure would happen and one would think that would give me time to process it, but as the days get closer the harder it gets.

I haven’t had a chemo treatment in a month and I feel like I’ve been on vacation. Vacation because I’ve been able to go to work everyday, cook dinner with my fiancĂ©, do a little wedding planning, go out with friends and even have the occasional glass of wine…I’ve felt so normal! And its funny how the mind forgets. I can almost recall the horrible feeling that the ICE chemo gave me but it also feels like it happened so long ago. So I think that makes this hard because I’m set to start another form of chemo called BEAM on Thursday and I’m so tired of feeling sick, I could scream.

The silver lining is, in retrospect things never seem as bad. I didn’t think I could get through the last ICE treatment, but I did. So I know I’ll get through this and I know when I look back, I’ll be amazed at my strength and what my body can handle. And I know I’ll be jumping for joy that this hell is over and I can be healthy again. I just wish I had a time machine that got me to that place a little sooner…