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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!

 

Tommy used to work on the docks…..

Union’s been on strike

He’s down on his luck
It’s tough, so tough
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man

She brings home her pay for love
For love

She says, we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
‘Cause it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love
We’ll give it a shot

WHOOAAAAAAAA, We’re halfway there!

Tell me you’re belting that shit to the heavens!! CAH-lassic. And also a good intro to me being halway done with chemo! Yea buddy! Like did the past 9 weeks fly for you? It did for me…..But for reals, let’s put the pedal down and get this shit over with.

Treatment #3 was last Thursday! So, technically i’m past the halfway point but the song is still very relevant in my book. Because I love hair bands. All of them. And no question i’ll beat you in an air guitar competition anytime, any day. Try me.

So 3 down 3 to go. I gotta say, peeps…..i’m kinda kicking ass at life right now. And it feels good! You know….when a person gets diagnosed with cancer and you finally get your game plan together and start rehearsing in your head how the next 6 months of your life is going to play out you get mixed reviews. Oh wait…you  mean planning your entire chemo treatment in your head before you start chemo treatment is not the norm? Well get on my level peeps, cause that’s what I did. Treatment every 3rd Thursday? Sweet! Going back to work the following Monday! This is how I plan on protecting myself from germs, these are our meal options going forward…..blah blah blah. Setting the stage for my idea of a perfect recovery. Because i’m type A and that’s just how I roll. I get these plans in my head and I just start vomiting them out to people….friends, family….basically anyone who will listen. Let me tell you my survival story and i’ve not even started! I’ll be honest I got some side eyes. Like whoa Lindsay, those are lofty goals! Perhaps they are/were but is that the right thing to say to someone who is trying to psych themselves up to fight cancer? Especially if you’re a medical professional, not naming any names but I almost judo chopped Zach’s  PT right in his effing throat when he checked me on my plan. Like STFU, dude! First things first, you’re not an oncologist. Second things second, YOU aren’t going thru treatment and third things third STFU AGAIN!  I’m basically a unicorn. Just ask my husband he will tell you! Exceeding all expectations! Don’t come at me with your negativity or pessimism. I’ll put a boot in your ass.  My hair is growing back at kind of an alarming rate, AND full disclosure I got my period. ON TIME! None of this shit is supposed to happen when you’re on chemo. NONE. And…..now I kinda wanna rub it in his dumb face! But, i’m a lady (sometimes) so i’ll wait. And until then i’ll just stroll on by his office when i’m there…..pop my head in and say hello. Looking all fly and shit with my contour on point and my brows on fleek. I can’t believe I just typed that.

Anyway….this isn’t a PSA on how to speak to a cancer patient. It’s just my ramblings…… But as you can tell thus far treatment is going really well. The Big Kahuna said last week he wouldn’t have even recognized me because I look so good and am recovering so well. And it feels nice to hear that! That my plan is working! Does the treatment suck? Absolutely! But it’s just the steps you have to take to win the mental chess match. Because that’s what this is. It’s ALL mental. And i’m fucking winning! CT Scan is scheduled for next Monday to confirm what I already know……the tumors are shrinking and the cancer is dying a very painful aggressive death. However, the size of the shrinkage (hehehe) will tell Kahuna if I have to have 3 or 5 more treatments. 5 ain’t happening, people! It just ain’t! Until then…..

This is your brain on chemo…..

Hi Friends! Whoa. It’s been just a bit since i’ve posted anything on herrrrrr. How’s about a life update, eh?? I’m due for another whack of chemo next Thursday…..this will be treatment #3 and that means i’m HALFWAY DONE! I’m still feeling pissed off that I’ve got 4 more to go, but everyday the finish line gets a little closer.I was scolded by my oncologist for bringing up drinking even a sip of alcohol. I was like DAAAANG Mang! Chill! I also did not tell him that I had 1 drink at Club Bee’s when I was out with my girl frans. But in my defense….I needed that drink. It was both for me and the safety of those around me. But ok, ok….. no booze. Fine. I can’t wait til i’m done with this mess so I can rage! And by rage I mean drink 2 glasses of Kim Crawford Sav Blanc and be completely shit faced. #cheapdate #holdmyhair #ohwait #idonthaveany #whatever

Life thus far….. I’m feeling normal-ish. Back to work and exercising on the reg! Which has been keeping me sane. Hubs and I are participating in #30daysofkettlebells programmed by my gal pal, Jen Sinkler. If you don’t know her you should probably look her up. She’s a fellow Leo, Witchy witch, and barbell junkie…..and she’s got a real hot booty, too! Also, if you like kettlebells, sign up for  her 30 day program! It’s bomb. http://www.jensinkler.com

The symptoms this go round have been a tad different than numero uno…..likely due to this Neulasta shot they gave me. This bad chicken causes some real nasty side effects….one being bone pain. And I don’t mean like aches and pains, I mean like it feels like your bones are being blow torched. It’s really weird because this medicine specifically spurs your immune system to create more white blood cells…….and when it was in the R & D phase the majority in the drug trial were having EXTREME bone pain with the exception of a small group of people. So they did a study on them specifically and come to find out these smarties were all on Claritin for allergies…..so as weird as it sounds and allergy pill helps with the bone pain. It doesn’t get rid of it completely. I don’t even want to chance rolling the dice and not taking it. It’s not like a constant pain, but frequently i’ll get these stabbing pains in my left humerus bone, or the 2nd toe on my left foot. Yea, you read that right. I don’t know why… i’m not a damn doctor. Or i’ll get these pains that feel like my ribs are caving in on my lungs….shoots down my back and into my hips. I can be in the middle of a conversation over dinner and one of these mofos comes on and I literally lose my breath. I got one walking down my steps and almost broke my GD hip. It’s the worst, man! The worst!

So let’s talk about chemo brain, shall we? WW III almost happened at my house last night. But before we get to the good stuff let me give you a bit of backstory. Zach and I live on a military base and it’s ran by a real shotty management company who does a piss poor job of taking care of the lawns. They’ll mow/trim/fertilize the front yard but they won’t fertilize the backyards. So our backyard needs a fertilizer and pre-emergent. I pick up some fertilizer and bring it home and Zach and I were talking last night and he says “hey did you fertilize the lawn this morning?” and for those of you who know me, you know that Zach is responsible for the upkeep of the yard, not me. So I was like “ahhh, what are you talking about?” He said “you told me last night you were going to fertilize the lawn before you went to work!” My mornings consist of getting up at the very last second, slapping on some make-up, throwing on a bra, making some breakie and rolling out of the house on the quick. At no point in any conversation did I ever offer to get up early and fertilize the lawn. That’s on the list of things that i’m not responsible for. Like taking out the garbage, but for the past two weeks i’ve had to do that because Zach won’t get out of bed to do it before the garbage people come thru the hood. But i’m not keeping score here! Promise! (but seriously….if he doesn’t start taking out the trash the night before I can’t promise I won’t smother him with a pillow) Anyway, he swears up and down that I said I was going to fertilize the lawn. I did NOT say that. I would never have said it! Ever! That would never be something I would freely agree to do! YOU are the husband! YOU fertilize the damn lawn! And also take out the friggin’ garbage! But part of me is like “whoa. Lindsay, you can totally tell you’re forgetting things. Did you actually offer to do that?” and my brain is like “FUCK NO!” So, chemo brain is real people. And it blows. It’s super irritating because I know that i’m forgetting stuff…..like feeding my dog at night. GASP! Yea, I forgot. And now i’m writing sticky notes to myself with tasks that I can’t forget to do and sticking it to my phone. I’d send myself an email, but i’d probably forget to check it. So the moral of the story is my husband is totally fucking with me, people! And if he’s reading this….which i’m sure he will at some point. HEED THIS WARNING!  70 days til my last infusion….which means probably like 90 something days til i’m clicking on all cylinders for good. So get your pokes in….tell me I said shit when I didn’t….i’m on to you now, sucker! I may not remember this when I get home tonight, but I WILL eventually! I WILL! And fertilize the GD lawn, will ya!

 

-Author Unknown

The second treatment has come and gone. No reaction his time – luckily. Just got pumped up with a  shit load more steroids! Whoop Whoop! When any chemo patient arrives at the infusion center they receive the same forms to fill out each time. And in my opinion the questions are horse shit. You’re there to get tortured. Let’s be honest, that’s what i’m voluntarily doing myself. I’m getting fucking tortured with each treatment. Yea Yea Yea I know there is no other option. But yes…..please have the balls to ask me how i’m “mentally doing today”! “Do you feel down? Angry? Depressed? Anxious? My Momma taught me NEVER to lie (or you get dish soap – which side note has also made me the WORST liar on planet earth. Honest to god, the worst. She’ll tell you to this day!) so I answered those mofo’s honestly. Yea, i’m anxious, angry, annoyed! YES to all! So this gal named Emma comes into my room before I meet with the big Kahuna. And in this very sweet, but also very high pitched EXTREMELY annoying voice introduces herself……she’s on my “mental health” team. “Now I see here you’ve answered some questions on your check-in forms and I just wanted to see what you’re doing to manage your stress. How are you feeling?” The internal rage begins to brew. Is this chick for real? What planet are you from, sister? How do you THINK I feel? Happy to be here? I’m not trying to off myself of course, and i’m sure she was concerned for my safety, but really…..she should have been concerned with hers! I’m a loose cannon! So I answered honestly. “I’m fucking pissed. Am I anxious? Yea…who wouldn’t be?” She said some bullshit about how I need to start meditating…..let me tell you. I can’t even concentrate on watching Scandal right now so meditating is out of the question. That’s how distracted my brain is. Let’s talk about meditation when this crap is in remission shall we? Now get out of my room. Well, bye girl! (<—-Ode to my gal Jen Sinkler for that one)

So my Dad and I are on our way back to the infusion center yesterday for a shot of Neulasta because my white blood counts are basically non-existent and this helps spur the production. And I ask him “Be honest….how rude was I to that gal?” And he says “Perhaps rude isn’t the right word…..but you definitely were quite clear on how annoyed you were with her questions.” Friends, I am not normally this way. Shit comes out of my mouth and I don’t even realize it. I’m not happy. I’m SO extremely mad about this. And what’s even more irritating is I can’t harness it. I can’t go to the gym and get rid of the stress…..because gripping a barbell has become increasingly difficult and my stamina is shit. I can walk! Perhaps I need to start shopping for a purple leisure suit so I can start mall walking around my neighborhood? Maybe with some hands weights… I don’t know! It’s a strange experience when you feel like your body, and spirit are rebelling against you. When I look in the mirror i’m starting to see a little bit less of my old self each time. I don’t recognize this person.

Perhaps I was a bit more optimistic my first treatment. Or maybe optimistic isn’t the correct word. Curious maybe? Anxious to get started? To see how I respond to the poison? This time there was no curiosity. This time I felt like I was standing in the middle of some train tracks staring down a locomotive. This time there was only rage. Rage because I now know the process. Rage because I know just how shitty i’m going to feel. Rage because i’m back on that fucking hamster wheel. Rage because I didn’t think the chemo would kick in so quickly. Rage because for those few short days  before treatment that I do feel decent and the only thing I want is to do is spend time with my friends, but I have to toss out the disclaimer of “if you’ve been sick or been around someone who is sick, we can’t hang! See you sometime this summer!” Or for just one tiny second  I’d like a time out to go on a date night with my husband without feeling so self conscious or embarrassed by the way I look. Maybe stay up past 8:30pm for some heavy petting, I don’t know! No hair, gaunt, wincing in pain, circles under your eyes so dark it looks like you’ve broken your nose. I miss feeling good about myself. But I suppose this is all part of the cycle, right? This is where i’m supposed to write some really uplifting comment about embracing the moment and learning from the experience. Well. Fuck. That.

There are no words that can properly describe how crushing this is. You don’t know unless you’ve gone through it. I feel like i’m losing a bit of control every day that goes by. The only thing i’m able to concentrate on right now is knowing that in 5 weeks (which seems like an eternity) i’ll get my first scan…….I’m imaging the Big Kahuna saying “you’re in initial remission – only 3 more to go” I mean he’ll say that, but I won’t actually know it because his accent is so thick I typically have to immediately ask his fellow what he exactly said because I can’t understand him. But what if he doesn’t? What if there is still disease detected and i’m staring at 5 more treatments? Like, can I do that? I’m not posing that question to anyone….I will do it. I’m the type of person who enjoys kicking life in the dick on the reg, but seriously. It’s completely thought consuming. I’m digging. I’m clawing. I’m trying to hang on to every little bit of light I can. But the rabbit hole is real fucking deep, friends. And it’s only continuing to get deeper.