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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good days and bad days

It's been a rough past few weeks, mainly because I never know how I'm going to feel. The first day of the new chemo I felt great! I left the hospital, went to a bridal store to order bridesmaids dresses, ran a few errands and went to a Leukemia and Lymphoma society workshop. The next few days I felt fine and hestingly told everyone around me that I felt good. Then my throat started to hurt, then my head started to hurt, and then I didn't feel so good. The chemo can cause mouth sores and pain so I took some meds for that and started to feel better just in time for the next session of chemo. Once again I felt great! But 3 days later my stomach started to hurt and I had to miss a day of work. Now I'm on the break portion of the treatment and I have 2 weeks off from chemo which I originally thought I would feel fine during, but I'm so up and down. I would say I feel better right now but not 100% and I know it's the reality of the situation, i.e., chemo makes you sick, but it's still so frustrating. I felt soooo good over the holidays and I just want to go back to that normal feeling, I hate this half-ass, kinda tired, sometimes sick, yucky feeling I'm in--constantly. It's hard and I get upset because I tell myself to push through it, it will be over soon, but it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And then I get a call last night from one of the nurses telling me that my white blood cell count was really low and they need me to take another medicine (I take like 6 every night, I feel like an old lady) and possibly some shots to boost the cells. UGH! He asked me if I was tired and I admit I don't feel my normal energy level but I had just come from the gym for a workout session and I've been taking swimming classes to stay active so I guess I didn't think I was that tired and my counts were so low. Low white blood cells means lack of energy and risk of infection. So now this thought is in my head that I'm a walking case of "infect me!" since my white blood cells were so low. Then I went to a friend's birthday dinner and club outing where I was the only one who couldn't drink (this new chemo doesn't allow for ANY alcohol anymore) and of course when Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied" came on I found myself breathless after dancing. I try to tell myself its mind over matter, but of course I woke up this morning feeling tired and like I had a cold! UGH. Must. Feel. Better. I have to remember I'm not like everyone else with tons of energy and tons of infection-fighting white blood cells and it sucks! I miss feeling good so bad!

I know this is how it will be for the next month and it's tough, but I pray and hope that I'm going through this pain and suffering for a good reason and it will all be worth it when i can finally say I'm cancer-free.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011--My Year!

It's hard to believe that it's finally 2011. This past year has been filled with so many ups and downs, it was an emotional roller coaster. I thought 2009 was bad because that was the year I was diagnosed with cancer, but 2010 took the cake. So I am more than happy to usher 2010 into the past and welcome 2011--which will be the last year I have cancer. I must declare it that this year I WILL be cancer free and rid my body of this disease. It's also the year I'm getting married (6 more months to go!), so it's My Year, a year of new beginnings, a new chapter, a fresh start.

The holidays are always my favorite time of the year and I was in pretty good spirits until I found out that Gemzar, the chemo drug I was taking, was attacking my lungs and landed me in the hospital for 4 days. It was awful. Even more so was the news that I could no longer take this drug since it was toxic to my lungs and I would have to move on to C-MOPP. This regimen is what was used before ABVD (the very first chemo that I had) and it has much more worse side effects than Gemzar. So finding out this news right before Christmas really upset me. Ross and I had planned to go to Charlotte and get a lot of wedding stuff done and now I had this on my mind. But Ross and my parents both emphasized that we would still have a great holiday and we wouldn't let this news stop us. And suprisingly it was one of the best holidays I ever had! I spend a week and a half at home with my family and it was just what I needed, a break from everything going on in New York. I felt such peace being at home again. Ross came into town after Christmas and since its very possible I will lose my hair again with this new treatment, I had frantically emailed my wedding planner Heather last minute to ask if there was any way that my photographer Tara could take our engagement photos while we were in Charlotte. Well God worked miracles in my life this past week because Tara agreed to take the photos even though she was sick with the flu (thank you Tara!!!!) and Heather got permission for us to shoot at this fabulous mansion in the area. These ladies made my day, it was so amazing how everything fell into place. Oh and there was a blizzard that left snow everywhere but I didn't want snow in my pictures (Yes,I can be a total bridezilla) and somehow, enough had melted by the time that we took them that it all worked out. Everything was perfect and I can't wait to see the pictures!! Ross and I literally had appts every day with different wedding vendors, sometimes two a day, but it was good because we got a lot done. And then I was a bridesmaid in my friend Eboni's wedding on New Years Day. So it really was a magical week for me, everything I wanted to accomplish was done and I couldn't ask for a better holiday!

It was bittersweet to say goodbye to my parents and my brother this morning as Ross and I headed back to New York. Tomorrow I start the C-MOPP treatment and I don't know what to expect. Will I be really sick? Will I feel really tired? It just sucks because I feel sooooo good right now, in fact I'm on steroids because of my lungs and I have a lot of energy, so I don't want to lose that. But I also want to move forward and be done with this once and for all. A friend from college who was fighting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma texted me last week and said his PET scan showed that he is cancer free and I am so happy for him and can only imagine how amazing that must feel, especially at the beginning of a new year. And I want that feeling so bad I can taste it! I can literally imagine writing the blog post, calling friends, sending emails, shouting on the rooftops that I'm cancer-free! (I'm smiling as I type this) So it's going to happen, I just need to get through this yucky stuff first. The pic above is of Ross and I toasting the new year, 2011 is Our Year!!