Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cupcake Masters

Hey Guys,

Since I'm still housebound, nothing particularly exciting happened today, but James did come by for a visit (finally he didn't have to work ALL DAY!) and we made some master cupcakes for his family  mine. We had originally planned on baking a pie, but obviously you can't split a pie in two (at least not easily) so I made the executive decision to bake cupcakes from scratch - icing and all! We found some awesome cupcake papers with glow-in-the-dark ghosts on them (ideal for finding them in the dark when sneaking into the kitchen for a late-night snack) but for some reason couldn't find Halloween sprinkles ANYWHERE! Maybe because Halloween's only a couple days away...

We used the recipe for white cake from the Joy of Cooking (my favorite go-to cookbook - the copy I have in my apartment is such a mess, full of spills & post-it notes from previous experiments) and the recipe from cream cheese frosting. Yum! They were PERFECT!

Lots of Love,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flu Flu Flu

Hey Guys,

Sorry it's been a couple days! We've been pretty laid up here - Brian ended up HAVING H1N1, so we're both on the lovely Tamiflu. I got a cough and a sore throat a couple of nights ago, but fortunately it's started to go away since being on the prescription.

We've been trying to get out of the house a little bit, especially for Brian's sake, since he was stuck literally in bed for a few days. Yesterday, we ventured out in the rain during the afternoon to Shaw Farm, a pumpkin farm about 20 minutes away from our house. We've been going there since I was a little kid, and I love going to pick out pumpkins! We were basically the only people there - there was another family with a couple really little kids, but we purposely went during the school day so we wouldn't run into many people.

Today we went out to Rouster's, an apple farm nearby that's been around for ages - my mom went there when she was a kid! We bough tons of their special strain of apples, homemade cider, and apple butter. It was fantastic! Apples are my favorite part of fall - especially locally grown delicious ones!

I'm going to be stuck at home a lot this week - my counts dropped yesterday, so I'm especially nervous about getting sick. I'm hoping that some of my friends will be able to stop by the house and visit, especially since I can't go out on Halloween! I'm not sure what I'm going to do - maybe have a bonfire, because I really love s'mores, and I haven't had a fire in a long time! Plus, most of my friends work in the evenings, so a late-night bonfire would be a perfect option.

Tomorrow I'm going to go out and take some pictures of our deck - there was a storm last night and now our deck is covered in multi-colored leaves. It's going to be crazy to clean, but right now it's GORGEOUS! I can't wait to post them!

Lots of Love,

ps there is a moth flying around in my bedroom and it's very annoying. I hope I can catch it soon...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Insomnia (again.... again....)

Hey Guys,

It's 4am here in Cincinnati and I can't sleep. It's about that time in my cycle that the side effects from the steroids start hitting, so I'm a ravenous insomniac. I was thinking about running to the kitchen to grab a snack (maybe that would help?) but I don't want to start night eating!! I'm already eating to the point of stomach aches during the day - I can't imagine how I'd feel if I started eating in the nighttime too... The weird part is that I'm craving a McMuffin. Especially weird because I never, ever eat fast food... (although I did eat half a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese this afternoon...)

I also started getting some vein pain again today - I haven't had any since my last cycle, but I think this is about the time it started up before. Fortunately it only lasts a couple days, but it's such a strange sensation. It feels like my veins are shorter than the rest of my arms or something, and every time I bend my wrists or elbows they're stretching. Although, that makes it sounds a lot more painful than it really is - it's not so bad, I'd compare it to a pulled muscle or something. Irritating, but it's not going to stop me from getting around.

I'm kind of dreading this week a little bit because my counts are expected to drop on Tuesday, so I'm anticipating being stuck at home a lot. My mom and I have plans to go apple-buying at a local apple farm, and I'm really excited about that - plus I want to go see Where the Wild Things Are, so we'll probably do that. Unfortunately, my count usually stay low for a week or so, so I'm probably going to miss Halloween - I'd hoped to be able to get up to Berea or Columbus or something, but I'm hoping maybe Tyler will come down to visit or that James will come over for a fire - I can't even hand out candy if my counts are low! I also feel bad about being home all week because Brian's still pretty sick, and he's stuck in his room all the time so he doesn't "contaminate" the house (so I don't get the flu as well...) I'm hoping he's not getting depressed, and if I can't go to class, that means more time that he has to stay in his room... I hope he feels better soon, because I also want to go see Zombieland with him - no one else in the family wants to see it, so I was hoping we'd get to go some afternoon after he gets home from school.

I should probably get back to trying to sleep - I've just turned Law & Order: SVU on - it's the only thing on this early (late?) with the exception of infomercials and (strangely enough) Cable in the Classroom on MTV. Andrew's radio show starts at 5, so if I'm still up then, I know what I'll be doing!

Lots of Love,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Flu Has Hit Our House... *UPDATED!*

Hey Guys,

Well... It's happened! The flu has hit my house... poor Brian was feeling a little sick yesterday, but has barely gotten out of bed today. He woke up with a fever and an achy body, and sounds terrible. My mom has kind of put him in a quarantine in his room and spend the whole day sanitizing the house so I won't pick it up... I feel bad that he's shut-in, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't mind much because he says he's feeling pretty lousy. My dad did take him out to pick out a few DVDs from Blockbuster, so they've been hanging out in his room eating chinese takeout and watching Year One.

My mom and I got out of the house for a little bit today to run some errands - we have a waterfall in our backyard, and she's been wanting a pair of rainboots to make it easier to get in the waterfall and clean out the algae. We ended up at DSW and she found the most adorable pair of rainboots with little chocolates all over them (perfect for my mom - she LOVES chocolate!) We also stopped by Dick's to peruse the clearance racks for a tank top and some tiny track shorts for Brian's Halloween costume (everyone tells him he looks like Michael Cera, so he and a friend are going as Juno and Paulie Bleeker). We found a pair of shorts for him, as well as some ADORABLE knit hats to cover my bald head now that it's getting cold out. I've been on a hunt for the perfect hat, and I can't believe I found them at a sporting goods store of all places! One is a thick turquoise knit and the other is dark grey with big purple polka dots and a puff on the top.

Finally, THIS:

is for sale... Andy Warhol's portrait of Michael Jackson. It's expected to get between $500,000 and $700,000 at auction... anyone want to pitch in? I'm pretty sure it would look amazing in my apartment...

Lots of Love,

Friday, October 23, 2009



I Can't Think of a Good Title...

Hey Guys,

I don't know if I've written about this before, but I STILL haven't lost 100% of my hair... I had a little bit of fuzz left, and it's super annoying! My mom has to shave my head every few weeks, and it's always a little bit of a terrifying experience - I don't know how men shave their heads every day (maybe they use an electric razor?)

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the only person I would ever trust to shave my head is my mom - but even so I get really nervous. We always make sure to use a new razor, and she uses some kind of astringent on my scalp with copious amounts of lotion to make sure that I don't get razor burn afterwards. So far, no major bleeding incidents - just a couple of tiny nicks here and there (nothing that even shows up unless you look really, really close) so I'm pretty impressed with my mom's head-shaving skills. I'm hoping to have her do it again tomorrow, so be on the lookout for some pictures of the process in the next couple of days!

In other news, Planet Cancer just announced that they are officially teaming up with the Lance Armstrong Foundation - even going so far as moving into the same office building as LAF! I think this sounds like GREAT news, because with these two foundations working as one, it'll be even easier to reach Young Adults with cancer that have needs (whether it be financial, medical, general support, etc...). I'm lucky enough to have insurance, access to amazing medical facilities, and a huge network of support, but not everyone has that. It'll be really fantastic to have one GIANT organization to help provide as much as they can (you can go read more about it at the link above).

Also, Holly was awesome enough to send me a link to her friend's science blog, Urban Science, where she recently wrote an article about H1N1. I checked out the article (pt 2 coming soon), and I think you all should as well! Holly's friend is a Doctoral Candidate in Biology, so she definitely knows what she's talking about (not just some random person posting about things they don't really understand). The rest of her blog is really consumer-friendly as well - it's easy to understand AND there are some really pretty pictures!

I've been feeling kind of crappy lately - lots of nausea and heartburn (as well as a few unmentionable issues you all probably don't want to hear about!) and my taste buds are still all wonky. I'm hoping that will go away in a few days, because I'm expecting to be out of class all next week and my mom and I want to go to Rouster's (an apple farm) and I want to be able to taste all the apples and the homemade cider (this is why fall is so amazing - I love apples!). I've also been having this really strange thing happening in my feet - my muscles will tense up compulsively and it wakes me up at night, so I haven't been sleeping too well. It's kind of like a Charley Horse but in my feet... I used to get them very occasionally before the chemo, and my dad gets them sometimes, but now I get them ALL the time! I've been wearing heels more lately, so I don't know if it's the heels or the chemo that's making them really bad. I talked to Dr. Adams, and she advised that I eat more potassium - I can't eat bananas with my Procarbazine, but I've been trying to load up on spinach and broccoli. So far, no change, but I'm betting it takes more than a couple of days for the vitamins to start working their magic...

Finally, I want to post a little bit of a shout-out to some of the other writers of cancer blogs (especially the ones I've been following). It seems like everyone I discovered when I first got diagnosed is successfully finishing treatment now, soon, or has recently finished, and I want to congratulate all of the great success, especially to Chris (who had his last treatment today) and Jennie, who just celebrated a month post-treatment. Congrats, guys!

Lots of Love,

ps check this out :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vaccinations (and rants about not wearing masks)

Hey Guys,

It's flu season again (well, I guess it's been flu season for a bit now, but it just seems like everyone's recently started to get sick) Knock on wood, I'm feeling pretty good - and I'm planning on keeping that way at least for another month so I can FINISH!

Anyway, I know a lot of people are really on the fence about vaccinations, etc. Almost every doctor will tell you that vaccinating your kids is perfectly safe (actually safer than NOT) and (I'm pretty sure - correct me if I'm wrong) kids legally have to be vaccinated before they can attend school in the US (excepting religious or "spiritual" beliefs). I know that some celebrities (I'm looking at you, Jenny McCarthy) are on this no-vaccinations kick, saying that vaccinations cause autism, etc. I get so mad every time I hear about this, because it seems like just because you (as a parent) would rather listen to a celebrity than a doctor, your kid could get REALLY sick and make other kids REALLY sick (babies too small to be vaccinated, etc...)

You might be wondering what all this has to do with me... I read this article on Slate Magazine today, and I never really thought about how unvaccinated kids could affect me directly. However, now that I'm a patient at a Children's Hospital, I'm wondering how many unvaccinated kids I come in contact with that could be spreading things to allllll the many immunocompromised patients at CHMC. It makes me so mad...

Another thing that makes me SO mad is coughing kids in hospitals NOT wearing masks. The new procedure at Outpatient where I get my bloodwork (and I'm assuming at Children's Main as well) is that if you come in even looking vaguely sick, you have to wear a mask. This is because so many kids come in with low immune systems that hospital staff doesn't want flu (or anything else) spreading and making the really sick kids even sicker. However, some parents don't seem to follow these rules... When I was coming home from my treatment Monday, I was stuck behind a kid and his mom - the mom was holding a mask and the kid was coughing all over his hands and running them up and down the walls... Another woman in front of us commented (pretty loudly) "This is a Hospital. That kid should be wearing a mask..." The mom didn't even flinch or acknowledge the comment. One of my nurses at Outpatient put it best: she told me that she has parents come in all the time who don't want to force their kid to wear a mask (because, let's face it, the masks suck) so she tells them "Your kid might get the flu and have a tummy ache and miss a couple days of school, but someone else's kid might be on chemo, and that kid on chemo can get the flu and die. Put the mask on your kid, because we don't want any dead ones." It sounds a little harsh, but sometimes that's the only way to get through to people. A lot of times parents just don't realize that not every kid they come in contact with is as healthy as their own.

For everyone's sake this flu season, GET THE H1N1 vaccine! Get the Seasonal vaccine! Help us sick kids have a better chance of NOT getting the flu!!!!

Lots of Love,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sick Sick Sick

Hey Guys,

I had my 10th(!!!!!) treatment yesterday - only TWO more (man, I can practically taste freedom). However, I've been feeling a lot more sick than usual... Sunday, I was super nauseous all day (which is unusual, because I don't generally get sick from my first treatment, and it had been almost a week since chemo...). Monday, I woke up STILL sick and was feeling pretty nauseous all through chemo (which only lasted about 2 hrs - thank God!) and came home realllllly nervous I was going to throw up in the car (I made it - whew!)

When I got home, my mom made some really delicious baked chicken with some pasta with mushrooms & spinach (sooo good for my poor tummy) and I spent the rest of the evening on the couch with TWO cat nurses. They don't particularly make it any better (actually they make it a lot hotter!) but they're sweet and the purring is comforting...

This morning, I was definitely still sick - I was disappointed because last cycle I had felt fine this Tuesday. I ended up not making it to my Song Lit class (which sucks because I love my professor!) but I did make it to my piano lesson. I enjoy my piano lessons a whole lot - my teacher is either a grad student or a doctoral candidate who's only a few years older than I am. She's really understanding and fun to talk to, so it makes me want to practice more than usual! I have another lesson Thursday (a makeup), and I'm hoping I'll be able to make it to my lesson on Tuesday even if my counts are low (I'm thinking it will be OK since it's a one-on-one situation...)

I'm going to go lay down some more now - I went out for dinner and now my stomach is turning! I'm crossing my fingers that I'll make it to the end of my treatment without ever throwing up, but yesterday's treatment isn't making it easy!

Also, my veins are kind of burning from the doxorubycin... it's making my chest feel really tight, which is NOT helping with the nausea. My whole chest just has this terrible feeling in it (like there's something wrong with my veins - I'm assuming that's just residual chemo still hanging around) and that's part of the reason I'm feeling so nauseous... UGH!

Lots of Love,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Weekend Fun!

Hey Guys,

Sorry it's been a couple days, but I've had a crazy busy weekend! This Friday was BW's Fall Break, so Gene & Katie came down for a visit (Gene is auditioning at CCM for grad school, and Katie just wanted to tag along for the visit!)

Friday night, I got a group together to go visit Hofbrauhaus in Newport, Ky (there are only three in the world - Newport, Pittsburgh, and Munich). Katie, Gene, my family, William, James, and James' parents all went out for beers (them) and delicious German food (all of us). Hofbrauhaus is SO much fun - I wish that I hadn't been tired, because there was tons of dancing on tables, live polka music (seriously!), cougars, and GIANT (liter-sized) in-house brewed beer that apparently is delicious.

Me & James (& James on beer #1)

Gene & Katie

My Mom & James' Mom

Me & William

William & a rose that my dad bought me :-)

My DELICIOUS dinner - JaegerSchnitzel, veggies, and a potato pancake. The JaegerSchnitzel is pounded, breaded, and fried pork with a musrhoom & bacon sauce (LOTS of pork!) and the potato pancake is DELICIOUS with applesauce... I was kind of nervous that it was going to be super-bacony, but really I couldn't tell at all. It was SO good and SO filling. Mmmm!


Me, Katie, & Gene

James telling secrets (& beer #3)

James (& beer #4)

On Saturday, we took a jaunt down to CCM, where I took Gene & Katie on a tour of CCM until there was some kind of security issue and alarms started going off. We headed out of the building at that point and went down to Ludlow, where Gene & Katie experienced their first tastes of Skyline Chili & Graeter's ice cream.

5-way (spaghetti, chili, beans, onion, cheese)

Katie with her Graeter's


Graeter's reppin' the support for Children's

Gene had to head out early Saturday evening because he has a church gig Sunday mornings up in Cleveland, so he had to get back up Saturday night to wake up for that. Katie & I headed out to do some shopping (I'm proud to say that I didn't buy anything!) and get some Tex-Mex for dinner. We'd had some big plans for a night out on the town on Saturday night, and we totally did! (I can't believe I forgot to take pictures!)

We dressed up and went to Below Zero on 12th & Sycamore for Human Rights/Equality night to hear our friend Erin play piano and sing. Unfortunately, we were running late and only caught the last couple songs of her set, but you should go check her out - she's AMAZING!

After that, we stopped by a bar/restaurant called Nada - it's right next to the big theater downtown, so it's pretty fancy & there were tons of people there. One of the bartenders is actually a guy in one of my classes (who I didn't recognize at first, and I felt SO bad about it!). Katie & I kept being hit on by this really creepy pair of OLDER men (think 60+), one of which was super drunk and kept wanting to kiss me for good luck (since I'm bald). After several emphatic rebuttals, he asked me if I would kiss him if he readjusted his dentures. The bartenders quickly intervened after that...

Finally, we went to Arnold's (the oldest bar in Cincinnati) to meet up with Kelvin (who I worked with this summer) and Mike (a guy I went to elementary/driving school with and had run into the previous night at Hofbrauhaus). We stayed there for a bit, then Katie & I headed home because she had to leave this morning to get back to to Berea for homework, etc.

I'm so glad that they came down to visit - I always love showing people around Cincinnati and taking them out to my favorite places. Thanks for visiting, guys!!!

Lots of Love,

ps everyone should listen to this button!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tired of Being Bald

Hey Guys,

So I've reached the point where I'm tired of being bald!!! I'm HOPING that by the time I take my trip for New Year's that I'll have a little bit of fuzz growing back in (that gives me about a month and a half after my last treatment) and by the time I go back to school, I'm hoping that I'll have enough to get a little styling done.

What I'm really looking forward to is having enough hair to do this:

I really love Audrey Tautou (so disappointed Coco Avant Chanel isn't playing anywhere in the Cincinnati or Cleveland areas...) and we have similarly textured hair, so I'd really like to keep it short cropped and curly for at least awhile. I think she looks so chic, and despite the fact that I'm betting it takes a decent amount of product to keep it from being super frizzy, it's GOT to be easier to take care of than the mid-back length hair I had before I cut it off.

I know, I know... it's still a little early, but a girl can plan, right?

Lots of Love,

Monday, October 12, 2009

1 more down, 3 to go...

Hey Guys,

I'm SO CLOSE to being done! Only three more treatments left!!!!

Today went really smoothly - my nurse, Anne, is the same one I had last time, and she's fantastic! Everything got started within about a half hour of our arrival (amazing) and she was so prompt at changing my fluids and my meds so that I hardly had ANY wait time - actually, I'm pretty sure that I didn't have any time where I was just sitting around waiting for her. The only time we really had to wait was when my last bag of fluids was finished and we had to wait for a different nurse because Anne had to sit in another patient's room for the first half hour of something. If the kids have bad reactions to a drug (like my little brother - his throat closed up after he started one of his chemo drugs) or if they're taking something particularly dangerous, the nurse needs to stay with them for a a bit to make sure nothing awful happens.

I slept most of the day, which was unusual for me - generally I stay awake and talk with everyone a lot, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open today! I was feeling a little nauseous in the hospital - the flushes that they put through my port after chemo makes my mouth taste like rubbing alcohol which always makes me feel like I'm going to throw up. So far, so good, though! I'm definitely going to bed early tonight - I'm exhausted after a busy weekend and then going out with James and his work buddies last night. That was probably a bad idea, but I never get to see James and his friends from the Playhouse are a lot of fun!

I also ran into a fellow "adult" patient on the hem/onc floor at Children's today. We didn't talk - he was in a wheelchair with a mask on and I was getting weighed - but we exchanged those little "what's up" nods. It's strange to see another big person amongst the sea of little bald kids (which can be really, really depressing - especially since Brian was one of those little bald kids at one point...)

I got an email yesterday from a girl (young woman?) named Tiffany - she lives pretty close to me in another suburb of Cincinnati (Fairfield, for you all in the area). She had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma six years ago, and was treated at a local hospital. Now she's involved with the local Leukemia Lymphoma Society chapter, and gave me some really cool information. She told me they're trying to start up a Young Adult group, which I'm really excited about! Lots of other cities have big YA support communities, but Cincinnati really doesn't. Hopefully that will take off and be something I can get involved with, especially when I move back to Cinci after I graduate in May.

She also told me about the First Connection program, which is a one-on-one support network for survivors to council/help newly diagnosed patients. From what I can tell, the pairs are matched up by age, sex, and diagnosis, which sounds really cool. There's a training session on October 24, so I'm really hoping that I can attend and help someone out (or even be paired with someone to council me!) I'm also in contact with a woman at Children's Hospital about their Children's Champions program, which is something similar, plus much more. I'd love to be able to volunteer at hospital events and even be on a committee to be a patient (or family) consultant. I'll obviously be gone for a few months in the spring, but it's most likely that I'll be back in Cincinnati for at least a while, so I'm hoping I can get more involved with things when I have some more time, and get started on them now!

To all of my fellow Cancer-Havers (I hate saying 'patient' because it makes me feel sickly), do you guys participate in any programs like those? If so, what kinds of experiences have you had? I'd love to hear!

Lots of Love,

Guess Who's Back

Hey Guys,

I'm back from my jaunt in Cleveland, and it was really, really fantastic to see everyone! I spent most of the weekend with Tyler & Katie, with a little bit of time having some delicious brunch in Oberlin (of course! where else am I going to eat brunch?!?) and got to see Matt & Marina, which is always a good time...

My mom says Winnie cried a lot while I was gone - I'm worried about what's going to happen when I leave her here for spring semester (so she doesn't have to be alone in my apartment all day...). I also brought home all of my winter clothes, which is nice (because I haven't worn them in months) but also sucks because I hate winter! Fall is beautiful, but I'm NOT a fan of cold weather at all... At least I'll be in Cincinnati for part of it, which is good because it doesn't get nearly as cold as Cleveland (even though they're only 4 hours apart)

Anyway, I go in again tomorrow for another treatment (always lots of fun). Only four left, though! I can't wait to be done - it seems so close now!

I should probably go to bed now, since I have to get up so early! But I'm watching Knocked Up on E!, so I'll probably be up for a little bit longer...

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who's sent me emails in the past few weeks - it's really great to hear peoples' stories and get to know you all. Thanks so much!

Lots of Love,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Last-Minute Echo/PFT

Hey Guys,

At the beginning of the week, Debbie called me and told me that Dr. Adams wanted another set of tests done before my next cycle - An EKG/Echo (for my heart) and a Pulmonary Function Test (for my lungs). Well, you all know how much I LOVE the PFT (not very much...)

If you've never had one before, basically you're in this little room (remember the picture I posted last time? It looks like a phone booth!) and it's vacuum sealed shut, and you have to do all this weird breathing stuff through at tube. That's measured by a computer, which is checking different things about how well you can breathe. The worst is when you have to blow out for an extremely long period of time. I always feel like I'm going to pass out and/or wet my pants. Neither of which I really want to happen.

Anyway, the good news is that my heart and my lungs are still normal, which is fantastic! It doesn't look like the chemo is affecting my lung capacity/function or my heart walls, which can be a problem. I wasn't really too worried, though, because the amount of chemo I'm getting isn't really too high...

Also, Kaylin from Cancer Is Hilarious had her six-month scans today... Go wish her luck with the results!

Lots of Love,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Weekend!

Hey Guys,

I wanted to let everyone up in Cleveland know that I'll be in Berea this weekend! I'll be up Friday in time for dinner, and I'll probably be in town through Sunday afternoon. Tyler will most likely be up with me for Friday night! Let me know when you're free and I'll visit you!

Also some good news - I got MORE bloodwork done today, and I'm finally out of the woods with that! I'm back up to relatively normal - 1,200! Woohoo!

There's nothing to exciting to report today - although I think today was the coolest day we've had in a long time! I'm not too thrilled about it - I'm not much of a winter person! I like it to be cold and snow around Christmas time, but I'd be more than happy if it stayed warm all the way through Thanksgiving!

I went on a long walk tonight with my mom - I haven't done ANY kind of exercise in so long, I can't believe how out of shape I'm getting! My legs are already sore just from walking a few miles. I can't wait to get back to my pilates classes in the spring. It's probably going to kill me though! I'll have to keep going on walks so I can start slowly getting back into shape - and maybe riding my bike since I brought it home from my apartment...

Finally, I've been reading about this book all over the place! I might see if I can find a copy of the library, since my taste buds change for a couple of weeks each cycle. It'll be interesting to see if the recipes really work!

Lots of Love,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Professors are Cool

Hey Guys,

So today was my second day back to school after my week-long involuntary hiatus, and I really like my German Song Lit class A LOT. The professor is so knowledgeable, and it goes really fast because we never really take a break from note-taking, and there are musical examples interspersed. I feel like I've learned a lot, and I've only actually made it to two classes so far!

My professor is so nice about me being out of class. He's hooked me up with another kid in the class who he knows is a good student and takes good notes, so I always have someone to go to if I've missed class and need some notes. I'm especially thankful for that because there's SO much information and I don't want to be relying on someone who might not write down everything I need to know!

I had my first piano lesson today as well. I was kind of nervous because I haven't had a piano lesson in almost two years (or really even played piano much more than plunking out melodies to learn music). It wasn't so bad - I'm REALLY rusty, but as the lesson went on, things started getting a lot better.

I've had a lot of congestion the past few days, so I called Debbie this morning because I was worried about getting a cold or flu and not being able to go visit Cleveland this weekend (or worse: not being able to get chemo on Monday). She assured me that since I don't have a cough or fever, it's probably just allergies... I'm hoping that's the case, and I'm a little less sniffly than I was this morning, so we'll see what happens! I'm going to try a different allergy medicine and see if that helps!

I'm also going in on Thursday to have another Pulmonary Function Test (remember - the one where it looks like I was sitting in a phone booth? haha) and an EKG/Echo before my next treatment. I hate the PFT because it's so time-consuming and all the extreme breathing always makes me feel like I'm going to either burst out laughing or wet my pants! The EKG/Echo only takes about 15 minutes, but it involves the ultrasound gel, so it's a huge mess...

Finally, Winnie has been helping me with this post by sitting on my lap and occasionally batting at the screen when the mouse moves too much. She's growing up to be a pretty well-behaved cat (unlike the maniac she was as a kitten!)

siamese on computer @ papergownsupermodel

Lots of Love,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back to School (Again...)

Hey Guys,

Celebration! I got to go to class today! Unfortunately, though, my counts were still a little low this morning (around 350), so in order to go to class, I had to wear this lovely mask. In case you were wondering, yes, it's from Children's, and yes, those ARE flying band-aids printed on it. It matched my outfit SO well...

Anyway, it was really good to be able to get out of the house and back to school. Basically things seemed like they had been pretty uneventful when I was gone, and I had kept up with my reading, so I wasn't confused. I had a French quiz to make up, but I took it while the professor went over the graded quizzes with the class.

I felt a little foggy all day, but I'm pretty sure that's because I got up at 7am so I could make sure to be at the clinic by 8 (when they open) to get my blood work done to see how low my counts were.

I also got to meet up with my friend Andrew for a little bit - it was nice to see him because we haven't gotten together in over a month because our schedules have been kind of conflicting. Hopefully we'll be able to get together again sometime soon, because I miss all of my friends!

Time to go do homework! (is it bad that I'm actually getting excited about that??)

Lots of Love,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekend Fun!

Hey Guys,

Well, it ended up being a pretty good weekend, despite the fact that I'm not really allowed to leave.

Yesterday I pretty much just hung out around the house, and finally motivated myself to finish the last couple of essays I had to read for my Thesis research. I still have to type all of the notes onto my computer, though... that's going to take awhile...

Last night Arielle came over with some chips & a bottle of wine and we spent the evening watching movies featuring the one and only Johnny Depp - Chocolat and Secret Window - two VERY different movies! When we were in middle school and high school, we used to have groups of girls over all the time and have Johnny Depp nights. We'd rent as many of his movies as we thought we could watch in a night and then stay up as late as we could eating nachos and gossiping. Unfortunately, Arielle and I (and Megan, but she was out of town) are the only ones still in Cincinnati, so it ended up just being just the two of us. We made the nachos, and my mom brought us some DELICIOUS special-edition Hot Chocolate flavored ice cream. SO GOOD!

This morning, my mom made an AMAZING brunch - quiche, goetta (a sausage-like breakfast meat, for those of you not from the Cincinnati area), coffee cake - and my grandparents came over. My mom got out her good china and made Kona coffee (my dad ordered it straight from Hawaii for her) and mimosas, and my grandma brought some berry trifle that was so sweet it was like dessert. It was super fancy, and we ended up eating and eating for about two hours, and still had enough food left over for the next few weeks! We're going to be having delicious breakfasts for a long time now...

I'm going in tomorrow EARLY to get more blood work done, and I'm crossing my fingers so hard that my counts will be high enough to go to class. Not only am I starting to be bored out of my mind, I'm also really worried about missing so many lectures - especially orchestration, because I know absolutely NOTHING about what I'm doing in that class. Even with reading the book, I'm still confused - some things you can only learn by demonstration. It's kind of like math in that way... yikes.

Anyway, they just redid a house at the end of our street that's been empty for... I don't even know how long! There's an open house going on right now, so of course my mom and I are going to check it out...

Lots of Love,