Urban Dictionary says…..

While I was going thru treatment Zach and I kinda got the hiking bug since I had to quarantine myself for almost 6 months, but I couldn’t friggin’ stand to spend one more minute on the couch. So we hit up Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and some canyons in Texas on the weekends to get out, get some fresh air, and get the feck out of Clovis. So, a rad ass group of my gal pals from KC decided that we’d all get together for a week in Colorado and go hiking!  Perrrrrrfect! I get outside, I get to see my girlfriends, we get a great Air bnb in Breckenridge complete with our own private hot tub. I mean life is GOOOOD! In the weeks leading up to the trip we started discussing what trails we were going to hike on which days etc etc. I hadn’t been to Colorado in the summertime so I was basically leaving it up to these broads to plan. I was up for ANYTHING. Including a “14 er” that i’ll focus on more later.

So we all arrive in Breckenridge. Naturally our first stop is the Dillon Brewery for some eats and dranks! I haven’t seen these gals in over a year so there were lots of hugs and tears! We arrive at our mountain condo and decide that we should go for a little jaunt to open up our lungs and get used to the altitude.

Here’s our crew for day 1 and 2       ^^^ Me, Heather, Stacie, Jamie, and Lori (My best gal, and maid of honor. She’s the saucy little minx who encouraged me to start this bloggy blog) Rad. Ass. Day hikes! As you can see the weather was perfection, the scenery was perfection, and the company was even better! So as we were planning this trip Stacie kept talking about a 14er. And I have to be totally honest we were all in a FB messenger chat and I wasn’t even really paying attention to what that meant. I was just frickin excited about the trip so I was like “Yaaaas! Let’s do that! Whatever it is, let’s do it.” Famous last words. Honestly, when I heard the term “14er” I thought she was talking about miles. Which was NO Problemo, Man! Like, i’m totes down! I gots me a new fancy style camelpack, i’ll bring snacks….it’ll be fine! Basically it’s like a picnic in the trees! I’m totally prepared. Until I figured out a 14er isn’t miles. It’s altitude. Like 14,000 feet UP! We hit up Natural Grocers the night before and we start chatting it up with this real crunchy cashier who tells us that we should start “As early as possible” for said hike because “The mountains get angry in the afternoon” HA! Ok, fella…… pump the brakes. I don’t need your negativity. So we sorta take his advice. Wake up as the ass crack of dawn and head to the trailhead. The Quandary Peak trailhead to be exact. Now…. let me hit you with a little knowledge. The Urban Dictionary says the definition of Quandary is: A State of Perplexity. I don’t know who came up with the name of this specific trail, but they hit it on the head. Get it? Hit it the trail on the head? Funny? Yes? No? Ok, whatever…. We are on the trail at 7am. Here we are at the start. All smiles and dumb faces…..not even having a clue what the day is going to bring us..

Quandary 7

If you think you’re seeing double, you are. Heather is a triplet and it just so happens that her sister lives in Colorado Springs so she was able to join us for the madness! As the hike starts out, we are still in the trees but it’s rocky as hell. We walk for a good 90 minutes until we break out of the treeline into what (in my opinion) looked like friggin mars!

It was windy and cold as shit! There was no place to pee so I had to basically just suck it up and pee off the side of the trail twice in front of god and everyone else on the mountain. The smiles that Lori have on our face in that photo got wiped off REAL quick! The mountain got angry. Outside of kicking cancers ass, is definitely the most grueling thing i’ve ever put myself through. As we all reached closer and closer to the top we would have to psych each other up and say “OK! 10 more steps and we’ll take a break!” “We can do this!” I don’t know if I was in some temporary state of psychosis, but I would laugh hysterically one minute, and then the next minute I would just bust out crying. I kept thinking to myself “Lindsay, WTF are you doing?!?! You are like 8 weeks out from chemotherapy and you’re trying to traverse this mountain! IDIOT!” And once I was done crying I would let out like these crazy primal screams just to get all my feels out of my system. It was insane. I’m not a super religious person….i’d say i’m more spiritual than anything else. And this hike was as close to a spiritual awakening as i’ve ever had. Voluntarily allowing myself to suffer was almost cleansing in a way. You’re with your best friends, on the side of a fucking mountain with NOTHING around you….except suffering. You realize that you… YES YOU are an incredibly small cog in a REALLY REALLY big wheel. The universe doesn’t owe you shit. And it can wipe you out in the snap of a finger! I was thinking about all of these things while I was giving the universe a big middle finger for taking a swing at me, but missing!

So when you do a big ass hike like this it’s pretty standard to take a congratulatory photo at the top documenting the madness. But on this day, I didn’t make it to the top. The peak of this monster is at 14,265 feet and I climbed up to 14,065 and I shit you not some may be reading this thinking “Oh my gawd you couldn’t have climbed 200 more feet” and to that comment I answer no. Not only no, but HELL NO. Not on that day. My friend Jamie and I were the last 2 in our caravan and we were WAY behind the pack. Truth be told with all the switchbacks on that last 200 feet it probably would have taken me another 45 minutes…..and I was spent. I should also mention that I was out of water and we were up above the cloud line and I could see lightning in the clouds….which later turned into a freak snow storm that we got stuck in. Not cool. So Jamie and I talked it over for about 20 seconds and both agreed to get TF out of Dodge! It took us 6 hours to get up that bad boy, but only 2 to get down….we were CRUISING baby! I should also mention that I fell asleep in the parking lot of the trailhead while we were waiting for the rest of the gals to descend. I was POOOOOPED!

Since December 29, 2016 (the day of my diagnosis) i’ve had my head down and have been in over drive. I had one goal and basically ignored all of the emotions that come along with a cancer diagnosis because I wouldn’t allow it to deter me from my goal. But I left some heavy shit on the (almost) peak of Quandary mountain. Even in the weeks after my last treatment I don’t think it really sank  in what I did. It feels premature to say “I beat cancer” because there is no cure for what I have. There is no cure for cancer. I left all the sadness, and anger up there. I brought home peace and stillness. And most importantly I brought home an experience that I shared with an amazing…..I mean FRICKIN amazing group of women that i’ll cherish for the rest of my days!

 

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So what now?

It’s been a while, peeps! Sorry about my lack of attentiveness to the blog! So maybe you’re all wondering what’s going on with me now…..or maybe not! But i’ll give you an update anyway! I am 13 weeks out from my last chemo and 8 weeks out from my official “remission” appt. I don’t know which date you’re supposed to celebrate so i’ll just celebrate them both. Kind of like celebrating all 31 days in August since that’s the month when my parents birthed a super human.

How am I feeling you ask? Welp, i’m feeling pretty alright all things considered! At my last appointment with the Kahuna I asked a bunch of questions like “When will the feeling in my fingers come back?” “Will I ever have a normal period again?” Because my periods finally stopped after round #7 and there was absolutely NO signs of Aunt Flow at that time. “When will my legs stop feeling like they are at a delay?” And his response? I’m sure you can all guess if you’ve been following along. “Everyone is different!” He said that some day….may 6 months from now, maybe longer i’ll just wake up and the symptoms will be gone, and to basically stop being such an asshole and enjoy life. Noted. And you know what? He was right. The guy really knows his shit!

Aunt Flow has returned a few times! Although she did sniper me 9 days early this week, but the bitch is back! And I realized just last week that I can feel my finger tips! Holy Shit I can feel my fingers! Some of you might think that’s not a huge deal, but it IS! I can hold onto stuff now! Like my phone in the mornings when I need to check social media instantly and not drop it on my face and fracture my nose! AMAZING! The delay in my legs is coming back! I still notice it when I get tired, but it’s manageable!

Some of you might be thinking what’s next? What am I going to do with my new found freedom from chemo?? Well, i’m still on lock down with the Cancer Center. I have to go monthly for Felicia Volderport to be flushed, and every 3 months for bloodwork, and echo cardiogram and a CT Scan. My next scan is November 9th and i’ll get my results November 16th. I can hear the countdown ticking away in my head. Scan-xiety is real, friends. It’s real and alive in my brain hole. And i’ve been writing like 78 blogs in my head and i’m finally getting around to putting them in print. But to answer your question….I’ve been doing all the things. Saying no to nothing. Yes, to a 14er. (even though I had no idea what that was until 24 hours before – stay tuned) Yes, to 10k. (even though I dislike running. Like the most ever) Yes, to SUPER expensive Chris Stapleton tickets in Nashville with our best friends. Yes to it all. Wasting no time enjoying life.

So stay tuned! There is so much saying yes coming your way!

Pick a spot on the map! Let’s go!

I’ve been writing this post in my head for a few days…..so I figured it was finally time to get it out there! Let’s start with an update, shall we? I had bloodwork, port flush, echocardiogram, and CT scan done on Aug 17 and went back for my results last Thursday. And we got good news! It appears that the little nubbins that are hanging out in my belly are scar tissue and the cancer is GONE GIRL! My white blood cells have bounced back to the low end of the normal range, and my heart function is still kind of ehh, but getting better! However, Felicia Volderport is a bit of a different story. It seems she may have created a sort of film on the back side of the entry point, OR perhaps she grew a blood clot…..either way the bitch won’t return any blood. She’ll accept all the saline and blood thinners she can handle, but she’s not giving up the good stuff. As of right now Kahuna isn’t too alarmed. I’ll go back to the cancer center once a month for a good flushin’ and they’ll try to draw blood from it each time. IF I relapse (knock on wood) then they’ll have some decisions to make. 1. Perform a dye study to see if it’s a clot or film, or maybe she was jarred out of place. or 2. Take her out and put in her step sister (yet to be named) on the other side. You see…..when they put ports in they do an ultrasound on the vessels in your chest to see which ones are the best looking and big enough. In my case, the right side was the right side. Once they place a port that site can NEVER be used again. They gotta go to the other side or put in a PICC line in your arm….which can never get wet and it generally a huge pain in the ass.  Hence the reason why Kahuna wants to keep Felicia around for a few years so people can do a double take when they see me in a tank top. HOTNESS!

You know it’s pretty funny…..and irritating at the amount of people who think that because i’m done with chemo that i’m ALL BETTER! Oh! I thought you were done with treatment! OH! I can’t believe you have to continue to go back so often! These people…..some are great friends of mine! And my first instinct is to hulk smash them because they are so naive. They don’t get it. You think i’m done with this? You think I can just put this all behind me in a snap? Idiots! But then reality hulk smashes me and makes me realize how lucky they are! They are ignorant to this nasty disease. And not ignorant in a bad way…..they just don’t know. They don’t realize that this isn’t something that’s over for me, or for Zach, or for my parents…… it’s something that’s hanging over our head like that shitty little cloud in the Charlie Brown cartoon. We celebrate every day, but know that tomorrow could be a completely different story. This ain’t over!

So, speaking of Zach…… I don’t do a good enough job of talking about my dude on my blog. It’s ALL ME ME ME! But it’s my blog so whateves. I feel like i’m finally in a head space now where I can talk about all the other bullshit that’s going on with us OTHER THAN CANCER!

Back Story: About 2 years ago Zach was having some vision issues in his left eye. He went in for a very routine eye exam which was the beginning of the other shit storm we’re in now. He was diagnosed with a macular adema – which essentially is a build up of fluid in his macula which sits right behind his retina. When you take a look at a normal eye, the veins that are coming from the middle of the eye are fairly straight, but because there was so much fluid build-up in Zach’s eye his veins looked like a half eaten bowl of spaghetti. (delicious) Typically this disease happens to 1. people over 60 2. people with diabetes 3. older people who are overweight and with high blood pressure. Now, for those of you who know Zach, you know he’s got a prop bod…..a little on the husky side, but he’s SUPER active…..avid cyclist, weightlifter, etc etc. He’s NONE of those things. Basically he’s a unicorn. The course of treatment for this is eye drops daily, and every 4-8 weeks he has to go in for an injection……IN HIS EYE BALL! It’s horrific. TOTALLY horrific, but he is a champion. So, fast forward to last fall…….. The Air Force decides to push with a process called a “med board” which is essentially the AF trying to decide if Zach is “fit” to remain active duty. Which is completely ridiculous because he can do his job just fine….he’s even deployed with this condition. But…..the Air Force (in this case) sucks. It sucks real hard. The process of the medboard has taken just about as long as it’s taken me to get done with cancer treatment…..and earlier this month they gave us their final answer. They want to “Medically Separate” Zach from the Air Force (after 14 years of service) with NO benefits, and NO retirement. They’ll offer a severance package but after that we are on our own. We have appealed their decision and next week Zach will travel to San Antonio for his formal hearing to sort of plead his case. When we were in the thick of cancer treatments we were both shitting our pants because losing medical benefits in the middle of chemo would have been less that ideal. When he told the folks pushing this process that I had just been diagnosed with cancer their response was “Your wife has cancer, you do not.” These people are straight gangster. They don’t give 2 shits about how bad Zach wants to complete his career in the Air Force…..they don’t give 2 shits about all of the awards and letters of recommendations he’s received. This is all he’s ever known. There is no standard to this process. We know people who have lost limbs, gotten cancer, on and friggin’ on and the Air Force has retained them. But because Zach has to have routine eye injections he’s not “deployable”. It’s horse shit. And I do realize that this sort of thing happens in the “real” world all the time…..people get laid off, lose insurance, etc…..but our situation has left Zach’s doctors, squadron leadership, and on up the ladder scratching their heads. This isn’t necessary and they’ve all recommended that he return to total active duty. However, the attorney they’ve assigned to us hasn’t painted a pretty picture for us. Our chances are pretty slim of them returning him to duty.

So, in the next few weeks we’ll have some big decisions to make if they do move forward with separating him. What’s next? Where do we want to live? I mean we can go ANYWHERE! Zach has to make the transition to civilian life, and we’ll both have to find new careers. Which means new insurance, new oncologist, new set of issues due now to my “pre-existing” condition. But, we are keeping our eye on the prize. Getting out of here. It’s incredibly exciting, but also terrifying at the same time. We thought we’d have a little more time……a little more reassurance that a relapse isn’t in our future. But Kahuna gave me some solid advice last week. “Go live your life as normal as possible. Try not to wake up everyday and worry” he said. Because I had questions about “how long do I wait to do this…..” “or do this…..” and really there are no right answers because cancer and chemotherapy is all a big science experiment. And as my Dad likes to say, i’m just a small number in the cog of “BIG DATA”. There are no right answers because they haven’t been treating this for long enough to know…..and there is no cure. YET! So, we are going forward and trying to live as normal and un-scared as possible. I really feel like this is the universes way of pushing us to something different. It’s giving us what we asked for, which was to GTFO out of this place. The circumstances are shitty….let’s be honest. The financial aspect alone of not knowing if I can get insurance coverage and IF I relapse, how are we going to pay for it is weighing heavy on us both, but I just have to keep reminding myself that this happens to people ALL. THE. TIME.

There will absolutely be no love lost when we leave this place…..hopefully sooner rather than later. We live in a SUPER small town and on an even smaller air base and it’s just not my style. And although Zach is pretty heartbroken about not finishing his career in the Air Force, I could not be happier about putting this place in our rear view.

 

Not my favorite sandwich…..

Well hey, friends! I’ve been meaning to put my post-chemo feels out for the world to view, but have kind of had a bit of trouble getting them out of my brain. So, 19 days since my very last treatment and life is getting back to normal. I mean I think it’s getting back to normal? I don’t really know what that feels like anymore. Physically….emotionally….mentally. It’s been 8 months since this all started. Which is freaking crazy to me because it still stings just as much as it did the day I got the initial call. It’s weird. I never thought it was going to end when I was in the trenches, but now I look back and think “Holy. Shit. I did that. ALL OF THAT” But I still feel kind of blank. I got all the typical responses when I wrapped up treatment. Congrats! You’re such a warrior! You kicked it’s ass! Which don’t get me wrong I absolutely appreciate, but I haven’t let my brain come down from overdrive. I feel like i’m still in the mode of being blank…… still just putting one foot in front of the other and getting through the day. And maybe that’s because on the outside I look fine….minus the hair. I don’t know if people are just being nice by saying “Oh! But you don’t look sick!” but they don’t know what it’s like on the inside. My fingers and toes are still numb and tingly, my legs are still on a delay from the rest of my body. If I sit for too long I have to kind of take a second before I stand up otherwise I lose my balance because my legs just don’t respond as quick. I still have a wicked case of chemo brain. I forget so much shit! Like when I paid my credit card bill twice and freaked out because I had $23 in my checking account. I set-up an automatic payment and then forgot that I set-up an auto payment and scheduled another. My life is full of calendar reminders and sticky notes. I’m starting to move more…..I don’t dare say workout more because i’m just trying to get my body moving, but my lungs. Holy. Shit. My lungs…..and my heart. I can feel the struggle in my chest when I exercise. So yea….i’m done with chemo now. And people think Oh! She’s done with treatment so everything must be back to normal for her! And they go about their merry way. But on my inside my body is still saying FUCK YOU! And I don’t say much about how i’m feeling…..because I feel like i’ve been bitching for months! I mean I get sick of complaining about it so everyone around me probably stopped listening months ago. I have no outlet…..cause I don’t want to deal with it. And I don’t particularly want to burden anyone else with my bullshit either.

So, we continue on. One day at a time. Thankfully the Kahuna gave me 6 weeks off until I go back for more pokes, and scans. And hopefully 6 weeks is long enough to know if this little spot in my belly is in fact scar tissue…..or, on the flip side 6 weeks is a sufficient amount of time for it to grow if it’s cancer and from there we start Plan B. So any sense of normalcy for me will have to wait….until when I don’t know. Maybe never. If there is one thing i’ve learned about life with cancer is that there is no rule book. There is no statue of limitations on feeling the anxiety and fear that this shit might come back. I’ll use a quote from my very first (and favorite) boss, Kurt. He said to me multiple times “Lindsay, sometimes you just have to eat a shit sandwich and like it!” I just embrace the suck and know that each day it will get better! August 1

Ohhhh Emmm Geeeee Yous Guys! I’m Done!

220 days since I got the call about the tumors. 197 days since I got the diagnosis. 147 days since I started chemo. And it’s done. I’m still in disbelief. I’m obviously still kind of in my prednisone haze so I don’t have anything witty to say. But wow. I’ve had a lot of Best Day Evers……. I mean I celebrate my parents best day ever on August 7th when I celebrate my birthday. You’re welcome, rents! The day I got hitched to my side piece was pretty rad, too! But HOLY COW! Last chemo day…..that kinda tops the cake! My Mom was there….Grandpa, Cancer Babes, our besties/neighbors (just missing my Dad, but he was too busy drinking beer in Germany -_-). I’m almost certain we annoyed the shit out of everyone who was still getting infusion because we were SO loud, but no regrets. Not one. Not one letter. It was a spectacular. And now we wait……for 6 weeks until I have a follow-up CT Scan. Kahuna says he’d rather do a CT Scan instead of a PET scan because PET’s cause a lot of false positives (they’ll pick up on ANY sort of inflammation in your body and flag it as the bad stuff) so, his plan is to give me a CT scan next month and if the little itty bitty spot (scar tissue) that that’s still hanging out in my abdomen is the same size/location then I’ll be in the “R” word. I’m kinda even hesitant to type it because I don’t want to jinx it or jump the gun. But if i’m in the “R” word then i’ll have CT scans every 90 days for the next 730. Yea….730 days, or 2 years. OH! And my main B, Felicia VolderPORT gets to stay put for that long as well. SUPER!

So, now i’m kind of processing…. processing what my new normal is. Letting my body heal up recover from all this bulllllshit i’ve put it thru the last few months. And of course trying to get my thoughts together on how i’m going to move forward and manage the Scan-xiety that everyone talks about. Which i’ll blog about of course….it’s in progress I promise! But until then i’ll leave you with some photos of my day! Enjoy!

 

Leaving it up to the big guns? Nah….no thanks.

Howdy y’all! Well I had this whole surprise planned out for you guys this week, but of course when you have cancer NOTHING goes according to plan. Back story: A week ago this past Friday I got a call from the infusion center scheduling a “routine follow-up CT scan” on Wednesday last week (the day before what was to be my 7th infusion). I called the radiology center on Monday to ask what type of prep I needed for the scan and of course they didn’t have me on the schedule. Ugh. So, I called the cancer center and spoke to Chat (Kahuna’s nurse) and she got it all squared away. While I was on the phone with her I wanted to confirm that I wasn’t completely crazy and Kahuna did tell me during infusion #6 that he would NOT schedule a CT scan until after all 8 rounds were complete. She confirmed that I indeed was not a lunatic, but due to a large decrease in my heart function (ejection fraction) Kahuna wanted to schedule a CT scan to see how my last tumor was doing because there was a good chance that if it was gone, I may be done with chemo. Record scratch. What? Did you just say NO MORE CHEMO?? I almost peed myself. The seconds ticked by ever so slowly on Monday, and Tuesday……Wednesday morning we were off to Lubbock to get my cat scanned. Followed by a date night……we saw Wonder Woman at the Alamo Drafthouse which kinda bored me! Not gonna lie! I almost fell asleep! Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Fast forward to Thursday morning……Zach and I do everything the same as we normally do. Coffee and a bagel sammich at Einsein Bros. and we park in our same parking spot at the infusion center. NOTHING out of the ordinary. We were playing it cool, but on the inside we were both about to burst at the idea of FINALLY being done with chemo! They shuffle us back to the exam room…..I don’t get my port accessed so i’m automatically giddy….could it be? Could I be done? OMG they didn’t access my port. I AM DONE! We hang in the exam room and I can hear Kahuna, Sheree, and Chat in the hallways talking about each patient. I have my hand cupped over my ear to try and listen closer. Then they finally come into my room. Hand shakes, and hugs like normal…..because I do love these people. And then Kahuha drops the hammer. Yes, your EF did drop significantly, but there is still a 1 cm x 1 cm spot where your cancer started. Same size, same location as your CT scan that was done after #3. I’m trying to hold back my scream. This. Cannot. Be. Happening. After my 3rd round of chemo every one of my tumors was gone, with the exception of this little bastard hanging out near my aorta. This thing needs to vacate the premises STAT. And then Kahuna says that there is a chance….not a good chance, just a chance that the spot could be scar tissue because it’s stable, and it’s in the same place. I asked 2 questions after that and shut my mouth because there were tears already welling up in my eyes. 1. Am I having chemo today? Yes. FML 2. Do you think it’s scar tissue? I don’t know. But we will go forward with 7 & 8 and then we will leave it up to god. Errr…what? FML again. Leave it up to god? Like isn’t that kind of a cliche thing to say when you don’t have an answer to something?  Especially when it comes to people who are sick and you can’t help? Welp, leave it up to the big guns upstairs. Ahhh how bout no. That’s really not gonna work for me. I can honestly say that since I got diagnosed and knew that this shit was treatable, I haven’t been scared. I’ve been pissed. My mortality hasn’t even been on my brain. It’s one step in front of the other to get this shit over with. This cancer has a really high survival rate, and i’ve never allowed myself to consider that I might be a statistic. Until last Thursday.

So, away we went with infusion #7…..we did everything the same. Sat in the same spot, requested my same nurse and got on with our day. The drug that has messed with my heart function just so happens to be the same stuff that that turns me into a velociraptor for 48 hours after infusion so Kahuna will leave that out of my cocktail for 7 & 8. That’s also the strongest chemo drug in my regimen which drastically jacks with my white blood cells so he did give me the option to refuse my Neulasta injection which I  jumped on like a hobo on a ham sandwich. So hallelujah no crushing bone pain anymore! No falling down the stairs when they sniper me. No waking up in the middle of the night feeling like my friggin’ ribs are crushing my lungs!

Kahuna does keep things close to the vest…..I couldn’t get a good read on him when I asked his opinion on whether or not the spot was scar tissue. However, I have done a lot of research on my own (shocker) and it’s pretty normal to have scar tissue in your lymph nodes, lungs, etc. And because my spot hasn’t changed size or location after 5 rounds of chemo i’m trying to set my mind at ease that it’s scar tissue. But I don’t know. The plan now is to have infusion #8 on July 13th and i’ll have a PET scan after that. I WISH Kahuna would have scheduled a PET scan instead of a CT because of how specific the test is, but such is life.

So away we go! One more round til I get some firm answers. It very well could be that my cancer has been gone since #3 and i’ve just been getting chemotherapy and it has nothing to attack! SOOO comforting! The plan is still to ring the bell off the damn wall and wait patiently until my PET scan all while keeping all my fingers, toes, legs, and arm crossed at all times until I get the results. 17 days! I know I’ve done a shit-tastic job of keeping you guys updated, but honestly the more treatments I get the less my brain works….and i’m damn tired. But we’re almost to the finish line! Hopefully!

Just call me Cinderella!

I had every intention of publishing this post yesterday for National Cancer Survivors Day, but hubs and I got sucked into binge watching the latest season of House of Cards. Are you guys as obsessed with that show as I am? UGH! We binged watched it and now i’m quickly spiraling into a deep depression because I have to wait until next year for another season. Spoiler Alert! I fist pumped BIG TIME at the ending when Claire was like “MY TURN!” Friggin’ GOOSEBUMPS! One nation UNDERWOOD! Claire Underwood! Ya heard! SO GOOD!

Anyway I had treatment #6 last Thursday – nothing earth shattering to report this round. Although I did have a period! Which was SUPER exciting! It’s so funny to look at my text messages with my parents about my chemo updates. It’s nothing but period and poop chatter. If you’d like to completely smash any personal boundaries with your parents then just do what I did….get cancer. There is no topic that is off the discussion table. You’re welcome Mom and Dad!

So it’s been a pretty shitty few weeks since my last treatment. If you’re all following along like I KNOW you are then you know that the Big Kahuna added 2 more treatments to finish off my chemo. When he broke the news to me last time I was mid-infusion and was basically a zombie so I of course start balling like an idiot. And I THOUGHT he said it would reduce my chances of a relapse to have 2 more rounds. Well, Sheree his PA hit me with a bit of knowledge last week. There is NO change in my probability of relapse if I have 6 or 8 rounds of treatment. She said that normally their patients with my type of NHL are older and don’t tolerate the treatment as well as I have so they stopped at 6. No such luck for this girl. My chances are still holding strong at 30% and the most common occurrences happen in the first 12 months. FUCKING SWEET! So i’ll get whacked with 2 more and have no reassurance that it’ll reduce my chances….he’s confident the tumors are gone NOW so i’ll have 2 more just for good fun! I do go back to the cancer center on Wednesday to have my heart checked to ensure that the chemo isn’t jacking with my heart function TOO much. Those results will be the only thing stopping me from having my extra 2.

You know it’s a weird feeling…. to be super pissed off about my situation, but super thankful at the very same time. I’m going to beat this shit, but I just want to be done! I’m not good at feeling bad! But I know I have a super talented medical team behind me and i’m 100% confident in their decisions, but SHIIIIIIT this is getting old! I kinda feel like the Kahuna has thrown down the gauntlet in a way. Like “Hey….you’re almost doing too well. So let me just add a little more torture to the program to see how you do.” And i’m not one to back down from a challenge! Unless it’s skydiving, bungee jumping, being within a 50 meter radius of a snake or swimming with sharks. Those are all gonna be a no from me. But 2 extra rounds of chemo? Ohhh you done did it now, sucka! Bring. It.

So, now I can officially say that I have 38 days remaining until I am DONE with chemo. No more surprises! I only have remission on my mind. I’ve been reading this book that was given to me by some great girlfriends from back in KC and it’s called “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F***”. It’s kind of nice to have a reminder once in a while after losing your self-identity to cancer……Cancer is exhausting. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. You try and maintain as much normalcy as you can, but here’s the facts. When I was initially diagnosed it was of course fresh in everyone’s mind and everyone around us was in the loop. But the nasty truth is people forget. Zach and I talk frequently about the incredibly small group of people who have stuck by our sides for the last 7 months. And it’s gotten smaller and smaller since we’ve been on this journey. And to no fault of our friends (Seriously, i’m not calling anyone out here) but the cold hard truth is we’ve had to isolate ourselves. I have to really pick and choose things that I can do today depending on how it will make me feel tomorrow. We always have to think days in advance. We’ve stopped getting invited to stuff with our friends because likely they’ll know our answer will be a “Nope, that’s quarantine week” or “Ehh.. Gotta see how Lindsay feels” And even if we do attend shindigs with our friends my chariot turns into a pumpkin about 8pm anyway so I can’t hang on the fun bus for long. So reading this book has been the snap back to reality that I needed to know that I’m still in there. WE ARE STILL IN THERE! And that once i’m done with this bullshit Zach and I can both get back to our normal selves. And we’ll be able to reflect back on the last 7 months and know that NONE of this shit has been in vain. We’ve done something extraordinary!

Punxsutawney Phil

Well, if you’re all keeping up with my shenanigans you know that last Thursday was treatment #5! To say that I was excited going into this round could be the understatement of the century. 3 weeks until I was to be done with chemo! 21 days until I can travel! And start growing my hair back, and have a friggin’ life again! But in most things i’ve found with having cancer there are always set backs. Most come because of the side effects the harsh treatment has on patients. Dehydration, exhaustion, infection, etc etc. But not me. As I blogged before my parents birthed a X-men. A mutant if you will! Someone who looks cancer and chemo in the face and says fuck off. (knock on wood) There has been no dehydration, no infection, and i’ve powered thru the most severe exhaustion. But set backs happen nonetheless. And mine happened because I have tolerated the treatment so well. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Do you wanna know what happened? Well, let me set the stage for you. The normal treatment protocol for NHL patients is 6 rounds (8 being the very max) of some of the nastiest chemo around coupled maybe with a few rounds of radiation if necessary. But because of where my tumors are i’m not a candidate for radiation- go figure. So after I had my mid-chemo scan and The Kahuna tells me i’m progressing like a champion! His PA sets the expectation that i’ll have to have 6 rounds and then i’ll BE DONE! She (his PA) gives me the all clear to actually take a weekend trip with the Hubs! I set my sights on June 1st and we’re rolling! Until all that momentum came to a screeching hault last Thursday. I’m all whacked out on my pre-meds which seem to be hitting me harder and harder every time. So i’m crying because they make me feel like shit and impaired. I HATE the feeling of being impaired or not in control of my own person. And the Kahuna comes in at literally the most inopportune time and tells me that because i’m doing SO WELL he’d like to just power through all 8 treatments. Skreeech. Um….say what? Correct me if i’m wrong but I thought I just heard you say you want me to do all 8 rounds of chemo? And more tears start flowing. This can’t be happening. He proceeds to tell me (and this is still a bit hazy for me) that since I am tolerating the chemo and haven’t had any set backs that powering through all 8 will decrease my chances of a relapse. How much of a decrease I don’t really know. It’s on my list of things to ask him next time. But everything is contingent on my echo cardiogram and CT scan which will be done after my 6th round. This chemo is particularly nasty and causes thickening of the heart walls and jacks with your lung function so these tests are all precautionary to make sure the chemo isn’t doing serious damage. YET! But, my pre-chemo echo showed I had a perfectly healthy heart so i’m doubting there will be any big issues. He said not to freak out or get anxious until I see the results, but i’m basically looking at 2 more rounds….6 more weeks, 42 more days until i’m done. Yes, I do realize that in the grand scheme of things 42 days isn’t a long time…..and if it means that I can be cured from this bullshit then i’ll gladly do it! But this is annoying! The hair loss! The prednisone pudge! The exhaustion i’m experiencing is CAH-RAZY! I literally took 4 naps yesterday and went to bed at 9 and slept until 6:30am. I can’t just go hop on the fun bus for some Sunday shenanigans. I have to second guess every. single. thing. I do. Every. single. move. I. make. I can’t be outside for too long because I run the risk of getting a super nasty sunburn…..y’all think I was pale before! You should see my gams now! Eat this! No, don’t eat that. Look at how much sugar it has in it! How much water have you drank today? I have to juggle deciding whether or not to workout some nights or make dinner because I don’t have the energy to do both. If I do too much of something today how is it going to make me feel tomorrow? I’ve blown through more hand sanitizer than most people use in a year. If i’m at the grocery store picking up piddily things and I hear a person coughing I immediately turn around and sprint in the opposite direction. I can’t be around most of my friends because they have kiddos. And we all know kiddos are petri dishes of germs and I can’t run the risk of getting sick! Being isolated is exhausting! And it’s exhausting for my husband, too! WE had a life before all this happened. He had hobbies. I had hobbies. We did our own thing. And we had our things we did together. Now I need him all the time. Even if it’s just sitting on the couch while I pass out with the dog. I need him there. I don’t want to be by myself. It’s difficult to see my transition from  a super independent person to someone who relies on her partner for EVERYTHING. And I know that’s what you’re supposed to do as a spouse. I get all that. In sickness and in health, right? He brings me Chipotle, and Dairy Queen (occasionally), and still pinches my saggy ass and tells me i’m pretty even though I have no more eye lashes and my head looks like a kiwi. He’s checking all the boxes. But my pride is still sometimes getting in the way. I’m the fixer. I’m not supposed to NEED anything! It sucks!

I know what you must be thinking…..this isn’t a huge deal. 6 more weeks of treatment for a bit more peace of mind that I won’t have a relapse. Lindsay, you’d be an idiot to refuse that. Yes, I know. And i’m not going to refuse it. But what you don’t understand is it’s difficult to mentally get your shit together when you FINALLY allowed yourself to get on cruise control. The finish line was in sight and I was SO close! I was still in fight mode, but it was wearing off day by day. I was FINALLY starting to visualize my life without cancer. I was even starting to plan my outfit for my last chemo treatment! But…..like most things in life there are always set backs. And it’s all about how you react to the setbacks I suppose. I had my meltdowns and now i’m putting my big girl pants back on to finish the job.

So, I didn’t see my shadow. I still have 6 more weeks of winter. So what. Shadows, like cameras, always seem to add a few lbs. I don’t need that shit anyway! pic

You guys! I’m sorry. Again. I feel like i’m starting this blog the exact same way as I did my previous. Apologizing! I’ve done a rotten job of keeping my fan club updated with my shenanigans. Yes the tumors are shrinking, but the treatments are now starting to take more of a toll on me. I’m pretty much zombified after chemo for at least a week or so. I initially thought after the first couple treatments that I could just BREEZE through, but I know now what everyone was talking about. The chemo builds up in your body and it’s whooping my ass! But…. the finish line is close. 24 days to be exact.

I’m starring down the barrel of treatment #5 this Thursday. As much as i’m dreading the 9-10 days after i’m SO excited! I’m also very excited for my trip to Whataburger afterwards. Not that i’ll remember how delicious it is because i’m all jacked up, but i’m excited for it nonetheless. Looking back at when I was first diagnosed I really never thought I’d get to this point! It’s very surreal! I’ve made plans to take a few post-chemo trips already AND most importantly i’ve gotta talk to the Big Kahuna this week about how soon after chemo I can arrange to get Botox! My forehead is busted as hell!

So….goings on since #4. Lemme tell ya. I had the opportunity to speak at my local Relay for Life Survivors dinner. I have spoke in public since college and let me tell you…..I was rusty. I looked back at the video and cringed because I said Ummm about 37 times. UGH! I hate that! But in my defense I was trying to not lose my shit in front of a bunch of strangers. Do you remember the gals I blogged about A LONG time ago? The gals that are in my cancer support group? Colon and breast cancer survivors? Well….we’ve all become very fast friends. Funny how cancer can do that. I think we’re very lucky in that way. Anywho, Riley was the coordinator of the dinner and Rebecca and I were the speakers. (See the pics below) – these two gals have been my life savers through this entire thing. It’s weird to think that I had to get the big “C” to meet these amazing women because we would have most likely not crossed paths if I didn’t. I wanna put them both in my pocket and carry them around all the time! I just love them SO MUCH!

And….what else? My hair….let’s talk about it. I think the normal M.O. for a lymphoma patient is to say “what hair?” But not me. Nope. Not my hair follicles. They’ve given the big “EFF YOU” to chemo. They’ve basically said “We Do What We Want!” And have decided to grow. It’s bizarre. I have bed head now! I mean I certainly don’t have Beyonce curls yet, but we are making progress. Perhaps by my birthday i’ll be able to toss the beanies! I took a little side by side pic from April 18th which was 2 days before my 4th treatment. It’s SO weird! I was prepared for the side effects of course…..the extreme fatigue, bone pain, nausea…blah blah blah. But what I was dreading the most was the hair loss, supposed finger nail loss or darkening of the nail bed, losing my brows and lashes, temporary menopause…on and on. But besides the hair loss of course none of that other crap has happened! My Oncologist and nurses think i’m some sort of freakish fem-bot. Which i’ll totally take that title because it’s certainly better than the alternative! AMIRIGHT?!?!? But i’d like to think it’s a testament to how healthy I was before I started treatment. I had the opportunity to really get my shit together before I started treatment….even really before I knew I was sick. Tightened up the diet and stopped the booze. Not that I was drinking a ton, but I cut it out completely. I really think that put me ahead of the game when I started chemo. So….if anyone reading this blog and is about to start chemo OR just got diagnosed HOLLA AT YOU GIRL! I’ll tell you everything I did to whip my ass into gear.

Ok i’m now at the rambling stage. I need to cut this off. I’ll leave you with a few photos including the side by side of my dome. Good grief i’m so pretty. Downhill stretch peeps! I’ll let ya know how #5 goes, and most importantly when I can get my botox! Byeeeeeee!

 

 

 

 

You better werk!

Oh hey! Hi there! Remember me? I’ve left you guys hanging and i’m sorry! But i’m BACK! Let me catch you up with things thus far! Treatment #4 – DONE. Donezo. Adios. See you never.  I had my mid-chemo CT scan 2 weeks ago and was about to flippin’ burst so I called my Nurse 2 days after to ask for the results. She loves me and also knows i’ll annoy the shit out of her if she doesn’t give me answers so she told me the neck tumors were GONE but she couldn’t give me much more information until I came in for my next infusion. Ehhh… fine. I’ll wait. Last Thursday was infusion day and I got some GREAT news! For starters it was National High Five Day – i’ll touch more on this in a bit. And it’s also the day I got confirmation that the chemo is WORKING! Neck tumors = GONE Chest tumors = Gone and the tumors in my belly have shrunk like a Rick Moranis movie. So 2 more treatments until i’m DONE! Back to the high five….. Sheree who is my Oncologists PA was the first to give me the good news and then shuffled me back to the infusion center and told me that The Kahuna would come back and see me once he had some free time. Apparently i’m doing SO well the mofo can’t even stop by my exam room. Oh ok….I got you, old man. They’ve already started loading me up with my pre-meds and he comes back to my chair. He’s always got this disheveled look on his face when he comes back there….and ALWAYS ALWAYS says to me “Oh my god you look so good I don’t even recognize you!” And then asked if Zach was related to me. Really? He clearly doesn’t recognize any of his patients or their family members. He goes over my CT scan report and says how pleased he is with my response to the chemo…blah blah blah and I say “YES! That’s such great news!” and I raise my hand up for a high five! And he looks at me like what the hell is your hand up for? And I said “HIGH FIVE!” And he still doesn’t get it. But i’m not a quitter so I grab his hand and say “YEAAA!!!” and kinda do a weird first pump thing with his hand in mine. So. Awkward. And now i’m sure he thinks i’m a total freak. But as my Dad says “i’m trying to care, but nothing is happening.”

So, speaking of my Dad or Lex Luther, or Dah Fahjah he was having beers and nachos last night and he, Zach, and I were texting back and forth about how it’s SO nice that he’s in Florida and how it’s SO shitty that we are in Clovis. Sends us a photo of the ocean and I cussed him and then Zach asked him how he can type emoji’s on his Jitterbug. Freaking Hilarious. And then a bit later I get a text from my Dad with a number I don’t recognize and he sends another photo of the ocean. And the number I don’t know says “who is this?” I thought he was just jacking with me because he was out to eat with his neighbor so I thought perhaps the neighbor was the anonymous person on the thread. And I respond with “Who dis be” and the anonymous person is still asking who is this…..my Dad who is probably a few brewskis in at this point says something that I can’t remember at the moment because #chemobrain but he sends another photo of the ocean. And I send a photo of myself without my hat on…..stringy ass comb over hair FRONT and CENTER chowing down on a chocolate chip cookie. And the anonymous person seriously sends a text and is like “i dunno who you are, but you got the wrong number.” And I send a text directly to my Dad like WTF man! Who is this person! And he’s like “It’s Zach!” And I respond to the ACTUAL thread that myself, my Dad and Zach were on and said “NO. THIS is Zach.” The moral of the story is this: My Dad has real fat phone fingers when he’s been drankin. And I also sent a very un-flattering photo of myself to some stranger who told me my cookie looked delicious. They didn’t mention anything about my hair or lack thereof so I consider this a win.

WHO reading this blog is a lady and has cancer? Show of hands! Because I have some chemo tips and tricks for YOU! I should preface this by saying that I am NO means a beauty blogger. No one is paying me for these endorsements, but if they wanted to i’d certainly take their money. When I started this whole journey I knew right away that I was going to own the no hair thing. I’m not a girly girl. At all. I absolutely despise washing my hair so I certainly wasn’t going to wake up extra early to put a wig on. Yea, I have cancer. I’ll rock a hat and call it a day. But one thing that I would NOT compromise on was the loss of my eyebrows and lashes. The hair was one thing, but I can wear a beanie and look like a super cool hipster. But the second my lashes and brows started falling out is where i’d have to draw the line. They are thinning, but I gotta say they are holding on for dear life! And i’m pretty pleased about it! But I do have some suggestions for you if you’re looking for some products that won’t break yo’ bank account and still keep you looking normal-ish. Also, even if you don’t have the big “C” these products are still legit and should totally be in your makeup bag.

First things first. Dem Eyebrows. It was suggested to me by one of my Real Housewives of Clovis, Emily Burns that I give Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and Pomade a try. Ladies, do yourself a favor and buy these products right now. You can thank me later. This stuff is AMAZING! Shop for it here: http://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/brows/fillers/

I wear the Taupe in both products. And while you’re at it go ahead and buy the eyebrow brush “7B” to apply the pomade. Game. Changer.

Now let’s talk lashes. You don’t have to hit up Sephora or Ulta to have this bad chicken in your arsenal. Although the link is from Ulta you can buy this at any drug store! http://www.ulta.com/professional-super-thick-lash-mascara?productId=xlsImpprod10291028

 

So I thought i’d post a pic of myself and my fabulous brows. Now i’ll warn you. A little goes a LONG way with that pomade. I’ve had to check myself several times because I get a little heavy handed and the brows come out looking a little too perfect like Rupaul. Let’s face it. That B**** has the most perfect brows ever. Like my stylist back in KC always said to me “They are sisters, not twins!” Truer words have never been spoken!