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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Engagement Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of the day Ross and I got engaged! Hard to believe I've been rocking this ring for that long, although my finger does feel naked without it! It's a date that I had to remind him of earlier this week (he assured me it wasn't so much about the date for him, he was just focused on the fact that I said yes, lol). When I think back to that day, it feels like so long ago because so much has happened in my life since then. If anyone had told me what I would be up against over the next year, I don't think I could have ever believed them. The day we were engaged was a joyous one not only for us, but for both of our families that got to witness the event. I had just started chemo but was feeling great and showed no signs of sickness yet, so it was sort of the calm before the storm.

In a few weeks Ross and I will travel back to Martha's Vineyard for Labor Day weekend and it will be the first time we are on the island since our engagement. I'm so excited to go because this has been an exhausting summer and I'm due for a vacation! I definitely need a break from New York. Lately as my physical health has been improving, my emotional psyche has become a little erratic. The dark cloud over my head is my upcoming PET scan in September that transplant patients typically have 90 days after transplant. It's just scary because I've never had an "all clean" PET scan, I've had "good progress" ones, but never that complete sign off that all the cancer is gone. And this is it.

It's a lot to process, especially considering that I thought I would have that "all clean" PET scan back in February, only to be sadly mistaken. So I'm feeling anxious. It's the same anxiety I experienced back in May before I went to the hospital, because I was so scared of what would happen. It was hard but I got through it and I know I can get through this as well. I received a much more aggressive treatment this time around and my doctors are all very positive. I just wish there was something I could do to insure that I'm ok, but all I can do is wait. I think for the next year this will be a common feeling (you're typically scanned every 3 months) and I think each time the inevitable scan comes up on the calendar, the feelings will come back. But I hope it will get easier as time goes, easier to believe that I am healthy and the cancer is gone and will never come back. Because really, that's the only option.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Roses and Thorns

The Obamas do it each night, the Kardashians used to do it over dinner, and I'm sure a lot of families have played this game. The "roses and thorns" game is when you describe a good thing that happened that day (rose) and a low moment or tough problem that happened (thorn). It's a game I didn't even realize I was playing with myself each day, except it should have been called "thorns and thorns" as I was always listing everything that was something negative. But a few days ago I realized that I needed to add the roses in there, as I am (and always have) been grateful for the good things in my life. Yeah it sucked that I had to stay in the hospital for a few days, but the rose is that everything turned out fine. I'm really stressed out about the growth of the hair on my head, but the rose is that my eyebrows came back beautifully and I actually had enough hair to get them professionally done on Friday. I'm scared out of my mind for the future, but the rose is that I'm alive today and getting better each day. I could go on and on about the roses in my life, but somehow its so much easier to think about the thorns.

I realized that I hadn't been thankful enough for the happy moments in my life and I needed to really thank God for the blessings that he's given me throughout this experience. So I went back to church today for the first time in a while (I had been once since I was released from the hospital) and fittingly enough the sermon was about turning to God during the good times AND the bad times in your life. It's so easy to dismiss the good times, but as soon as something bad happens, you fall to your knees and ask God why. I know I've been guilty of that so many times and each time I lament over something negative in my life, I'm trying to remember all the positives. So much of my treatment couldn't have been possible without my job, my family, my faith and there have been so many blessings along the way.

So the pastor at my church urged the congregation to stop being a pessimist and thank God for simply waking you up each day, because when you think about that, that's pretty huge. It's a lesson I think I'll need to continually remind myself.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lock Down...again

Well it felt like "lock down" AKA jail, but I suppose in the end it wasn't that bad. Last Friday I was admitted to the hospital kicking and screaming. My doctors knew something was in my lungs but they weren't sure what it was, either pneumonia or an infection or just a reaction to all the chemo drugs. Therefore they wanted to do a lung biopsy and keep me in the hospital to treat me with steroids and antibiotics. Once I learned I would go back to the very same floor that I left just 52 days ago, I became very upset. I've noticed that I have extreme anxiety about being "stuck" anywhere for long periods of time and being unable to leave...since I left the hospital, I can't shake that feeling. And as silly as it sounds, the most random things stress me out...with all the media coverage of Lindsey Lohan going to real jail for 2 weeks, newscasters constantly showed pictures of the cell she would be confined to for 23 hours of the day, only able to leave for 1 hour. And of course this brought me back to my days at the hospital (even though obviously I was treated better than a prisoner) and I would freak out, just by watching a little E! News. Crazy.

So you can imagine I was not happy about being admitted. The doctors explained to me that it was for my best interest, but I still made a big fuss. When I made it up to the transplant floor, the head nurse gave me a big hug and said, "I heard you didn't want to come back and see us and you were crying!", I was like, "I would have been thrilled to see you anywhere but offense!". Everyone was really nice and assured me that I wouldn't be there long. In fact, they didn't have to do too much since I wasn't hooked up to an IV and just given meds via pills. Of course this infuriated me even more, because I figured that I could take the pills from the luxury of my own couch which--as I told numerous nurses and doctors--was only 20 blocks away from the hospital. But of course, theres a method to the madness and as much as I DID NOT want to be there, I know they were just being safe. I had my lung biopsy and was released on Sunday, just in time to head to Target with Ross for some home decor shopping. Thankfully, the meds did their job and I felt much better, I could walk around like a normal person with out huffing and puffing with every step. It turns out that I didn't have any infection or pneumonia, so they concluded my shortness of breath was caused by a reaction to the chemo drugs. So the steroids should clean that up in a few weeks.

In retrospect (which is of course is always easier), I'm glad I had the tests and they could treat me, but at the time I was terrified to stay in the hospital. And of course, now all I can focus on is the fact that this particular steroid can make you gain weight if you're on it a long time...great! I've been told I won't be on it that long but me being me, its on my mind. After everything I've been through physically, the last thing I want to think about it is my weight, but I'm still that girl. But hopefully it wont be a problem for me. Next up, rescheduling my mtg with my wedding planner so we can get the ball rolling...I've been having dreams lately where its the day of the wedding and I haven't done anything, so I think it's time for me to focus on it!