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,


  1. Lauren I've been thinking for a while now about volunteering at my local hospital when I'm done with this. Not even sure if they have an onc. ward, but I'll be looking into it when I'm done. After all that's been done for me I really want to give back.

    My schedule now is 1 (ONE) to go! Friday, Oct. 23rd is the day. So ready to be done with the chemo!

  2. Woo hoo!! That's so awesome that you're almost done! You've had quite the journey so far, and I'm hoping for good news when this is over :) I still love reading all of your entries. It's inspiring that you seem to be able to keep such a good attitude about this all and that you really want to turn this into a positive experience that will benefit others.

    By the way, you may have said this before but with stuffing biochemistry into my head this semester, I may have forgotte--how is it that you are 22 (right?) but being treated at Children's? Why not University?

  3. Good luck!
    (and thanks for the comment!!)

  4. i live in the DC area, just found your blog and would say that I have participated in a few support groups, I'm getting involved with a THYCA one now and YA one, as for helping out or giving back I try when the opportunity arises. Usually its people who have family members who experience thyroid cancer or suspected diagnoses of the same - and I am there to have them pass on my number or email and answer any question they have. It's something that I experienced when I was newly diagnosed - and it helped me but I feel like I'm definitely more informed than the person who called me!