Hey friends! Well, no new update on treatment, but I am checking all sorts of stuff off my pre-chemo checklist. Echocardiogram, dental exam, PET scan etc etc. Good news though! I have a mild case of Mitral Valve prolapse which was diagnosed right after college. It’s a condition where my mitral valve closes too far, and it can leak…..basically a leaky valve. Some people have to have valve replacements but since mine isn’t serious, I just have to have full cardiac work ups every 10 years. AND per my very chatty Ultrasound tech my prolapse has not gotten any worse since college! WOO HOO! (i’m actually not supposed to tell anyone that he told me my heart was in perfect condition so mums the word) So this means my heart is healthy enough for sex AND chemo. Hallelujah! Just kidding! I mean not really….. Ok, that was a bad viagra joke. I hope to god my parents don’t read this blog. I had my dental check up this past Tuesday and my teeth are in tip top shape. Apparently you cannot have your teeth cleaned while on chemo because you run the risk of getting nasty mouth sores. Mmmm….thanks, I’ll pass on those. Teeth are 100% which I knew. I REALLY love the feeling of super squeaky clean teeth. Is that weird? Whose with me? Anyone? No one? Ehhh…..ok. I’ll have a PET scan next Friday (1/27) to see if the cancer has spread to any other lymph nodes or organs, and then i’ll be ready for my initial oncology appt on the 31st.
Anyway, back to the reasoning for this blog post. It’s kind of strange how cancer connects people. One of my greatest life long friends, Lindsay sent me a youtube video made by a friend of her husbands documenting his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. (If you’re feeling froggy you should jump and watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMp4js7CoIg&t=2641s ) So Lindsay’s husband told him (Brandon) about me, they exchanged our phone numbers and the rest is history. I can’t explain the feeling I had when I got off the phone with Brandon. First of all I felt like i’ve known the guy my entire life. Like I wanted to ask him if we just became best friends, and wanted to go do karate in the basement. We’re connected now. I felt encouraged, and pissed, but most of all READY all at the same time. From there Brandon introduced me to his cancer friend, Naomi. She and I are the exact same age. No kids. Health nuts. We’re connected now, too! THEN to top things off on Tuesday I went to my first cancer support group here locally. I met 3 women from all different walks of life, all different ages, ALL in remission. One of the gals found out she had stage 4 colon cancer when she was 17 weeks pregnant and her husband was deployed overseas. One gal found out she had stage 3 colon cancer and she had a 5 month old at home. And the other had a super aggressive form of breast cancer that reacts to estrogen in her body so she had to have all her breast tissue removed, and a radical hysterectomy. It was like the most morbid show and tell I’ve ever been to. But these are my people now. They let me feel their ports in their chest. Showed me photos of their surgeries and hair loss. Told me about the disgusting smell at the infusion room at the cancer center i’ll be treated at. They told me what to expect during my treatments…..for instance the cancer center will actually MAKE my chemo when I arrive. The cocktail is dependent on my blood work, weight, etc. It’s not just some bag of stuff that’s been hanging out in a fridge for weeks. FASCINATING! And the connections continue! I’m taking advantage of every free support program out there. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society offers a free “cancer connection buddy” and I got the chance to speak with a gal named Anna who was diagnosed at 31 with the exact same type of cancer I have. She was a busy working Mom at the time of her diagnosis and she didn’t let cancer slow her down. Her biggest piece of advice was to keep as much normalcy in your life as possible. This shitty diagnosis doesn’t put my life on hold. The people i’ve met have already had a profound impact on my life. They are people i’m sure i’ll be connected with for years to come. They are people who understand me in a way no person without cancer ever will. I can’t wait to be in remission and pay it forward. 18 days until we get this show on the road!