Tag Archives: chemo

“All Adventurous Women Do…”

31 Jan

Have HPV? Alright, that might be a bit of an overstatement Hannah Horvath. But live life, take chances? That seems more reasonable. I spent my weekend in the wonderful world of GIRLS, laughing and crying right alongside Hannah and the other GIRLS, drinking wine with friends to face life’s hardships and snuggling with my wonderful pets to feel that unconditional love we all crave (except Marnie of course).

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So GIRLS – I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve heard about or seen this show because it is a testament to my life right now, and all of the other 20-something-year-olds trying to figure out what the fuck to do next. I find my life unsurprisingly paralleling Hannah’s – an only child, post-graduate yet to begin a career, trying to get comfortable in her own skin, forming new relationships, closing doors and opening others. I love it! On the occasional evening that I’m feeling down about where my life is at, I crawl into bed, queue up an episode of GIRLS and let Hannah Horvath’s awkwardness overshadow my own and laugh all my insecurities away.

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That being said, I am actually very content with where my life is at right now. Despite the roller coaster that is Cancer, things seem to be moving in a more positive direction. I’m on a new health kick that involves improving my diet, cutting back on booze, getting out for a run a few times a week and a new obsession with BSY Power Yoga.

And even Cancer seems to be cutting us some slack now. We are coming up on the weekend and with it the end of radiation and chemotherapy. After weeks of treatments and appointments I am very pleased to report that her doctors consider Abha to be a “star patient” and are very happy with her progress. In fact, I am coming to you courtesy of the Infusion Room at Texas Oncology Center. We are on day two of Abha’s second Chemotherapy treatment and everything is going smoothly. I’ve been told so many tales of nausea, fever, vomiting and general horror concerning Chemo treatments that I was quite nervous about how Abha would react. We were surprised (quite pleasantly) that she tolerated the drugs with hardly any side effects, save for extreme fatigue. Even better, today is a short treatment so we should get to head home by early afternoon.

So here’s an interesting factoid I didn’t know before we started the fight against Cancer – every treatment is different for every patient. I know this sounds very “Duh!” but ignorance is bliss, right? Don’t judge me for lack of common sense, but I just assumed that all chemotherapy involved the same drugs, but with different dosage, frequency of treatment, etc. However, I have come to find that the drugs themselves also vary from person to person, and I had kind of an “A ha!” moment. So after the recent introduction to cancer and subsequent bumpy road, it feels good for everyone in the family (Abha especially) to get even a small break.

Although this will probably just sound like medical jargon (it still does to me too) but in case anyone is wondering what drugs Abha receives for her chemo treatments, on the first day she receives both Rituximab and Bendamustine (this combo treatment takes anywhere from 6 – 7 hours) and on the second day, she receives just Bendamustine (usually takes between 2 – 3 hours). To break it down – the Rituximab is used to treat diseases characterized by excessive, overactive or dysfunctional B-cells (see lymphomas) and the Bendamustine is an alkylating agent used to treat indolent-B-cell-non-Hodgkins lymphoma (thus the type of cancer Abha has). Anyway – this chemotherapy flew by and we’re heading home by noon. So to wrap it up, I’ll leave you with Abha, always the best sport about everything – chillin’ in the infusion room.

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Seeping in…

5 Jan

Hello friends! Dropping in to post an update. It’s Saturday afternoon and my fingers fly furiously as I type away, while everything else lay still and the house rests quietly. I am coming to you from the couch in the main house (my parent’s place). Mark is in the man-cave reading a book or polishing a gun or buying shit on Amazon or doing whatever. Abha is out cold in the bedroom, surrounded by sleeping dogs and a snoring Siamese. It never ceases to warm my heart when I see animals concerned for their ailing masters. This morning we all went to Abha’s radiation appointment. It seems that the treatments take it out of her, so we loaded her up on her daily medications (or “dailies” as she has lovingly nicknamed them) and set her up in bed for what we hope is a long and restful nap.

That being said, I have some time to update my blog. And you guys. I’m starting to understand there is no normalcy when it comes to dealing with Cancer. Just as it consumes your body, it consumes your entire life. You need to go to work? Sorry, you have to go to six hours of chemo today and three hours tomorrow. There will be 20 rounds of radiation, but you only know when your next two will be. You will need to go back in for new scans sometime next week. It’s hectic and busy and feels never-ending. I feel wrong for saying the word “lucky” but I guess we were lucky that my mom wasn’t working at the time we discovered her illness. However, the rest of us were. So, my dad is going back to work on Monday and I’ll be taking over as caretaker and house mouse since I’m a recently retired bartender. This weekend will be spent organizing medications, creating charts, practicing procedures and preparing for my take-over.

Thus far, everything has been seeping into my brain so slowly… and a lot of the time it still feels unreal. I have a feeling Monday is going to be like a kick to the chest by a mule. I am struggling to fully grasp what’s happening here and still haven’t decided how exactly to process this news and how to cope with it. Do I research it to death and scare the shit out of myself? Do I remain ignorant beyond my immediate requirements to be a caregiver? Do I prepare for the worst? Do I refuse to consider the worst? I have yet to even entertain the idea that she may not survive this and I think it is the best way to deal with this disease. I have to believe, our family has to believe, that she will beat this and come out on the other side stronger and better. Positivity breeds positive things. Being part of this cancer thing first hand, I realize there is no room for negativity. It is hopeless energy. Wasted and lost. This is not to say I want to parade around with balloons hooting and hollering – I definitely let myself feel sad and feel the hurt of this disease, but I don’t want to let that sadness overcome and spread beyond me and seep into others.

One thought I keep going back to when I need to giggle or laugh is my mom’s stylish new tattoo. If you know my mom, you know she absolutely despises tattoos and all things related. She can’t stand any of my tattoos and totally disproves of me getting any more. So, when I heard she had to get little x’s permanently tattooed on her back to line her up during radiation, I literally laughed and laughed. Its little things like this that you have to enjoy when you’re dealing with a shitstorm like cancer.

Ok – enough of the introspective, sullen ramblings. Abha is awake and feeling better! Good vibes! This sunny Saturday calls for our first Pinspiration project. We’ve decided to start off with training wheels, and go for something simple like baking. I’ll leave you with Bill, chewing on a piece of the fence – little darling that he is.

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