Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Day, Another Round of Chemo...

Hey Guys,

Well... I'm almost halfway done... today was, all in all, one of the best treatment days I've had (in no small part to my awesome visitors)

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but Children's offers free therapeutic massages to all their patients. I got my first one last week, and now I'm officially on the massage therapist's schedule, which means that every time I come in for a treatment, she's notified, and I get to have a massage! (woohoo!)

As you can see in the picture above, it's not like a regular massage - I lay in my hospital bed (fully clothed) and she works VERY gently so that nothing gets too sore. She asks what I want to have her focus on (usually my neck and shoulders - too much computer time!) and then she always gives me a little bit of a head and ear massage.

After the massage, my nurse came back in to access my port, and I made a terrible mistake. Usually I lay so that my back is to the nurse while she accesses me, but today she stood on the other side so that I was facing her. This was not a good plan. As I've mentioned before, I get numbing cream to put on my port before I get to the hospital so I won't feel it when they access me. Today was no different - except that it was the first time that I actually SAW the needle they use. It looks kind of like a plug - except instead of prongs for the electrical socket, there's a 3/4" long needle in it's place. 3/4" may not sound particularly big, but it is when it's a needle about to be stuck in your side! So, due to this unfortunate turn of events, I tensed up a lot before she put the needle in, and even though the skin was numb, it was the first time it's ever hurt to be accessed. I'm pretty sure that had something to do with me watching.

After this though, everything went really smoothly. I had some fantastic guests! William came around 11am, armed with the perfect selection of DVDs... among them were Angels in America, Arrested Development (one of my favorite TV shows), The Emperor's New Groove (thank you, Disney), and A Mighty Wind... we watched the second part of Angels in America (William commented a couple of nights ago when I told him to bring it "Are you sure you want to watch a miniseries about AIDS while you're getting chemo?" I responded with "Well... at least I don't have AIDS...") and later watched a little bit of A Mighty Wind... just to cheer the place up a little after an hour of depression.

Thanks, William, for being such a fantastic visitor and staying for almost my ENTIRE treatment - and being hilarious company the whole time! We managed to take a few pictures at one point - notice how much more tan he is than I am... (I guess that's what happens when he works at a pool and I work in a tiny office with no windows...)

Also, he was pretty tired all afternoon (apparently last night was a little crazy) and opted to "take a nap" while my mom was taking pictures... complete with a cuddly bear (courtesy of Sarah!)

Sarah Sullivan also came to visit - she works at Children's, and we met her a few years ago when she first started working there. I love seeing and talking to Sarah, especially now, because she's not much older than I am, and had Hodgkin's when she was my age. It's really wonderful to have someone who went through almost the exact same thing so close by to talk with! It's also especially encouraging because she's pregnant and due on October 11 - that really gives me hope that the treatments won't damage my fertility (which is something I was a little worried about before I talked to Sarah). She stopped by for about an hour, and brought me an adorable stuffed bear (which is awesome, since I hadn't been wanting to bring my "special friends" to the hospital for fear of leaving them behind - yes, I have "special friends" at the age of 22...) as well as a stress ball. I'm pretty sure that will come in handy - I get stressed a LOT and I've been having some pain in my right arm that relaxes when I squeeze a fist... the ball was helping me relax it a lot in my bed.
(me & Sarah... she looks a lot better than I do!)

I also have some good (I hope) news in regards to my tremors and tingling! I talked to the OTHER Sarah (my fellow) and she told me that people my age generally feel those side effects worse than others, and wrote me a prescription for something called Neurontin, which is a pill I take three times a day, everyday (boo to more pills) throughout my treatment. It's sort of like a painkiller, but won't make me groggy and I have to take it all the time for it to work. She says it usually works really well (and my mom's friend Sue agrees), so I'm hoping when I come up to Cleveland in a couple of weeks, I won't be so shaky and weird.

Finally, I wanted to thank Claire at A Little Piece of Me for sending me this fantastic sketch - we've been communicating through a blogger network, and exchanging stories - she offered to send me a sketch, and I told her about a joke I have with some of my friends about having the crappiest superpower ever... I think it's pretty funny!

Lots of Love,


  1. haha cute sketch. I had a benign spinal ependymoma. Freakishly rare stuff. haha I took lyrica for my nerve pain and nerve issues it helped me a lot. I've heard good things about nuerotin though. Cute pics :) Yeah I'm sure that's why it hurt more. I hear tensing before shots makes them hurt a lot more. Hope you keep doing so well. :)

    -KittyKat Kaitlyn (from PC) :P

  2. thanks, kaitlyn! it was great to find you on PC... usually i have no problems with IVs or bloodwork - but then again, usually i don't look! i don't like them to count either, i always tell them to just go for it!

    if the neurontin doesn't work, i'll definitely ask my doctor about the lyrica. thanks for the advice! i hope things are going better with your mom!