Tag Archives: Texas Oncology

“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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The Beginning

3 Jan

Howdy friends! We’re three days into January and seemingly life goes on. Worst apocalypse ever, right?

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Anyway, it’s 2013 and time for a fresh beginning. However, 2012 managed to bring much of its baggage into the new year. Seeing as this is my first post, let me catch you all up.

Long story short. My name is Keely. I’m Austin grown and still reside here in a house on a lane with my faithful canine companion, Loki, and two felines, Bali and Kitten. I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in public relations a little more than a year ago. As with most college kids, I worked in the service industry through school serving tables and bartending. Recently graduated and feeling just as lost as confused as ever, I tried to start the next chapter in my life. In this case, it was job surfing on Linked in, Access UT and Craigslist while simultaneously helping out with some of the public relations efforts at the lounge where I bartended most nights of the week. Pretty standard story, the young adult trying to establish her place in the world and start existing as a real-life grown up.

Well life, as it tends to do, slapped me in the face out of nowhere this past month. My mom went in to see a specialist for lower back pain (the same doctor I saw nearly four years ago for my injury) and her scans revealed a mass that Dr. Yaniv suspected may be lymphoma. Of course, this happened over the Thanksgiving holiday and things moved slowly. More scans were taken, the list of doctors grew, and within a couple of weeks we were at The Texas Oncology Center. A biopsy was scheduled at Seton and everything seemed surprisingly easy. They’d go in with a scope and take tissue and the pathology would hopefully reveal if this was lymphoma or not. If we were lucky that’s all it would take, but on the off chance the pathology came back inconclusive, they’d (excuse the graphicness) cut her open and dig deeper. The scope didn’t work. In fact, all of the tissue came back inconclusive with the freeze scans. They put everything back in its place, closed her up, and sent her into a week-long hellacious visit at the hospital filled with uncontrolled pain, annoying nurses, bad hospital food and long nights. On day six, the pathology finally came back and confirmed my mom had an indolent Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. CancerOff to the oncology center to formulate and execute a plan to stop this cancer in its tracks. Chemo was an absolute, but Abha (my mom) wanted to wait until after the Christmas holidays to start. So the end of 2012 was spent at appointments and scans and doctors visits to prepare for her fight against the disease. The new year came and went and on Wednesday, January 2nd, Abha started her chemotherapy treatment. It went well and she didn’t have a bad reaction to the drugs (thank god, because this asshole cancer hasn’t cut her much slack yet) and as of today, she is done with this round of chemo as well as her scans. Remember how I said she hasn’t gotten much slack yet? Well, although she started chemo, we found out yesterday that it may be further along than originally believed and require a more aggressive treatment. For now, we know it is stage four and she has a tumor near her spine that will require localized radiation to shrink. Tomorrow, she will start radiation and we will find out her prognosis. Sometimes, I feel like holding my breath until then.. but then I remind myself to exhale.

I quit my job temporarily to help take care of my mom and the house and pets while my dad (Mark) works full time during the week. Things feel incredibly chaotic and ever-changing but the next week or two should bring some normalcy back into our family’s lives. In an attempt to create some kind of structure amongst the chaos, Abha and I have decided to embark on a journey and start a project. Six months of Pinspiration. Every day, we will find something on Pinterest, whether it’s a recipe, a cleaning tip, craft instructions, decorating idea, shopping hint or the like, and we will do it. Together. or as a family when my dad isn’t working. I’ll blog about it here, and I’ll create a board on my personal Pinterest account dedicated to our recreation of our Pinspirations. The kick-off starts tomorrow. Links and Updates to follow!

Oh yeah. Fuck Cancer.

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