Saturday, June 18, 2005

Haircut

I got my hair cut yesterday. This was my first "real" haircut since all of this began. I also got my eyebrows waxed. This may be too much information for you, but it's a milestone. Things are finally getting so hairy that the hair needs to be controlled. YEAH!

Now, all of the hair on my head is exactly 1 inch long. He had to cut a lot, but now things are under control and my hair will grow out evenly.

My plan is to get it cut again before Christmas.

I'm finding that I'm leaving a lot of this cancer stuff behind me. Besides my dietary efforts (at least 9 servings of fruits or vegetables per day), I'm not reading about cancer or thinking about it at all. Instead, I mostly focus on working out, losing weight, and just reconditioning and strengthening my body.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wowza

I went to school for first time yesterday. I have never felt so self conscious in my life! I got lots of hugs and attention which was nice but sort of weird at the same time. I decided after about 10 minutes that there was NO WAY I was going to the kids' graduation next week. I know I will also receive lots of attention from parents. I want to see them because they've been supportive, but all of that hullabaloo will be bad because (1) I don't want to take attention from the kids and (2) I feel so self-conscious about my appearance that I would be quite miserable. So, I will go to school on Monday to see the kids, and that's the end of the school year for me!

I was quickly ushered to the back corner of the library so the kids wouldn't see me. If they did, it would be too much craziness. (They are 6th graders, after all aka prone to craziness ANYWAY) I met with my team about next week's 6th grade graduation ceremony. Then, I worked a bit in my room and caught up with many co-workers. THEN, I had dinner with one of my friends and her new baby. I didn't get home until 11:08pm!

And, wowza, was I tired this morning. I feel like I've been hit with a truck. I still feel pretty good but am continually amazed that people work while being treated for HD. I feel like I need to recover from one easy day that didn't even include teaching. Whew!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Emancipation

It's out, baby!

The details (I copied some of this from a posting I put on the webmagic forum):

Last week, when I registered on the phone with the hospital, they said I was going to get twilight sedation again, but when I got there, the doctor said he was only planning on using lidocaine. The idea was a little creepy, but in the end was no big deal and much quicker.

So, they put me in a gown, roll me to the room, drape me so I can't see what's going on, cover me with lots of freezing alcohol (they "cracked" the container holding the alcohol to make it cold -- awesome!), and give me a big shot of lidocaine (a little stick and some burning, but no big deal). Then, he starts the incision. I felt some cutting at first (more uncomfortable than painful -- it felt like needle sticks), so he gave me a bit more lidocaine. I felt some pulling and pressure, and then it was over. I had given birth to a bloody, clear plastic port -- ironically 9 months tomorrow TO THE DAY that it was put in! Congratulations! He closed the incision (he only cut where the port stuck out, not by the incision in my neck), put sterile crazy glue all over it (yep, that's the truth), and then it was over. The best part was touching my neck and not feeling the catheter anymore.

The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes? The sutures took much longer than the port removal. I tried and tried to keep my port (apparently it's illegal being a biohazard and all...) and got the doctor to agree to give it to me, but the nurse in the room was a real "rule follower" and said that it was illegal for me to take it. I tried to plead charmingly saying it was my cancer trophy and that I had worked hard for it, but I was summarily overruled. I hate to admit it, but I was really annoyed. The only blight on the experience.

All in all a great day. No sedation hangover and no more artificial parts in this body! I would NEVER have done chemo without the port, but I'm happy to be...emancipated. Once the sutures heal, I'll really feel done with the whole thing. Getting the port out was the final nail in HD's coffin -- much more final than the last chemo.

I have to wait a couple of days before I can work out again. In the meantime, is it time to forget all of this and move on? Do I even continue this blog? What to do, what to do...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Am I forgetting...

what's important?

When I first started looking around for Hodgkin's websites and the like, I found one message board. I was so excited...until I started reading. I was annoyed by the people because they were content to complain, and about the wrong things! There was this extensive discussion about weight gain and how depressed all of these people were that they couldn't lose the weight they had gained while on chemo. So here I am, sick, alone, up in the wee hours reading people complain about something as silly as weight gain! Weren't they happy to be cured? Weren't they relishing the good feelings, good health and ENERGY they got after finishing chemo? Didn't they remember?!?!? I was so irritated and angry.

Forward to today, many months after I first came across the offensive cyber discussion. Since then, I have gained nearly 20 pounds from my friend Prednisone. My husband and I are going to California for 3 weeks at the beginning of July, and I am obsessed with the idea that I haven't weighed this much since college. I am so frustrated because I have been working out diligently. I also feel badly about my hair. I was soooooooooooo lucky not to go completely bald, but I still feel depressed when I see all of this short hair going every which way in the mirror. I will have to cut it before we go to California even though all I want it to do is grow, grow, grow!

I can't believe I am upset about such vain, stupid things. Have I learned nothing? Maybe this is a sign I'm "forgetting" about chemo? I have to get over it. I am in remission. I am feeling stronger every day. I got the best health care in the world. What the fuck is my problem?

Get over it!!!! Bad, sniveling me!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Port appointment

How could I forget?!?!?!

I'm getting my port out ON MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!!

I loved having it for chemo (I felt AWFUL for those patients who just got stuck and stuck and stuck in the chemo room as nurses looked for good veins...), but getting it removed symbolizes true emancipation from treatment.

I will finally have my body back! Maybe I'll actually remember what sex is like! (Goodness, I'm a Catholic, I can't believe I wrote that...)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Wait, I have muscles?!?

I have started walking and/or going to the gym everyday. It is a most wonderful feeling as I remember lying on the couch for weeks and weeks dreaming of physical activity. I live in a hilly neighborhood and try to pick the routes that will take me up as many hills as possible. Oh mama! It hurts like a mofo. I have that sore feeling you get from working out too hard. I LOVE that feeling! Amazingly, I am getting very sore from some very slow walking! Oh well, I know my stamina and conditioning will improve one of these days.

I joined Curves today. It's a gym for women. Actually, it's not really a traditional gym, but one circuit that you go through twice for a total of 30 minutes. Going to Curves actually reminds me a bit of chemo because I am the youngest person in there by like 30 years! :-) Of course, I'm not working now and go in the middle of the day, so it makes sense that it's me and the retirees.

Went to oncologist for my PET follow up appointment. We discussed the good news, and he answered some of my questions about fertility, vitamins, going to the dentist, etc. I was practically elated when we left the office because I've really started to believe that I may have kicked this thing. (Incidentally, I got physically nervous just from writing that down!) For the last half of chemo I became nearly obsessed with the idea of recurrence. Now, I think about it very little. Is it denial? Or, is it the way I should be thinking now?

I went to the pulmanologist on Monday. My PFTs were below average which is quite confusing because my lungs feel totally normal. I distinctly remember what Bleo toxicity felt like, and I don't feel any of those symptoms. We're thinking the low numbers are a result of either or both anemia and allergies. Plus, they chart the PFTs against an average -- you know, woman of certain height, weight, etc. -- hopefully my current, "bloated" state threw the averages off.

There have been some interesting threads on the Hodgkin's board I read. I've been doing a lot of thinking about heroes, empathy and "it all happened for a reason." I'll write more when I figure it out. I know you're waiting with baited breath.

Speaking of, does anyone know how to check to see how many people read or check blogs? I saw that Blogger currently does not have a counter for blog templates, but I'd be curious to check it out...