Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cancer changes everything- - so I am learning. It changes you as a person, your relationships, your daily activities, your goals...life in general. Although change is hard, some of the changes are for the better. While I have changed, there are some things that will always remain the same. I am still the type-A and determined girl I have always been. While still head-strong, cancer has forced me to slow down and focus on the here and now. I have learned not to look to far ahead because it can be overwhelming. For now, I look to the end of consolidation and take every day one step @ a time.  

Today was the first day of the Spring 2013 semester. In my typical fashion I Skyped into one of my classes as I am not allowed to attend. I will continue to do school from home for the semester and I will walk in graduation this coming May. Although I see the light at the end of the tunnel it’s bittersweet. For the past 4 years or so, I’ve sat side by side with Kelly in class. Today I was at home- - there was no small talk during class, no sharing our dread as we listened to them go over the syllabus, and no laughing at our inside jokes. Although I am thrilled to be completing the semester via modern technology, I want to be sitting in the front row with Kelly (yes we are nerds). Although things have changed, many have not. We still do our routine study sessions with a whiteboard and all; it just takes place in another location- my living room. Although I am not there with her every Tuesday, she knows I will be by her side on graduation day in May. A small sacrifice for a big reward.
In addition to my APRN education, I’m getting insurance 101. I have to say, that is more stressful than my regular courses. While dealing with the insurance company can be stressful, I have my parents and Chris here to remind me not to worry about the small details.
While I continue to take it one step @ a time, there are little bumps along the way to make you realize that things do change. While there are changes, it is all about taking them in stride.

Till next time…KMS

Friday, January 18, 2013

Just when I was getting used to having no hair, my wigs arrived! Yes, that is wigs – I have two. I told Chris he can choose wife#1 or wife#2. One is extremely similar to my hair (curly) and the other is straight with some curl. I was honestly surprised by both J The person I got my wigs from is out of New Haven. He is a lymphoma survivor and it is his way of giving back. He is truly a special person. He was recommended by the boutique in Smilow, since they do not sell wigs. I contacted him during induction and he came to my room to meet with me. I then met with him at the salon and I was able to look through the book and pick out color. He then went into the city and purchased the wigs. He is definitely good at what he does. So, today I got both my wigs cut and styled. I had my two sidekicks (Kelly and Katie) there to approve. So now I have three options (1. bald, 2. curly or 3. straight), who would have ever thought I would have so many styles to choose from!

Till next time…KMS

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today I had a meeting with the radiation oncologist. The meeting went well and I am scheduled to start radiation treatments next week, which means we are already going into week 4. The weeks are flying by! In addition to the meeting, I was fit for my mask. The purpose of the mask is to make sure they are directing the radiation in the correct spot. This was quite an experience. I would first like to begin by saying if you are claustrophobic this is not for you. The long and short of the fitting is lying on a CT scan table and having this gel-like material placed over your face to make the mold. When they place the material over your face you are pinned to the table so that you don’t move and mess up the mold. They then perform the CT scan to make the markings. The doctor then reads the scan and the official markings are made. While it is a 15 minute procedure, it feels like an eternity. I had no concept of time underneath the mask, so minutes turned into hours. At one point I made a signal to the tech asking how long for the doctor to read the scan and she said 5 minutes. Well the 5 minutes felt like an hour. While I am not claustrophobic, I didn’t enjoy having the gel like material molded to my face. Overall, it was an experience that is hard to explain. Now that my mask is made, the actual radiation is about 5 minutes, so I’m told.

Till next time…KMS

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 1 of consolidation:

Today I began consolidation. I will be getting treatment for the next 4 days in a row. So I will be a familiar face at Smilow this week! I am feeling good and my labs were good today. I was actually able to get a pedicure (with my APRNs approval of course) at the day spa J It was very exciting and relaxing, definitely a treat! And I got to have a salad tonight! I might as well take advantage of it while my labs are good J It was a BIG day for me today.
One thing cancer teaches you is don’t take the little things for granted. For example, I used to eat salad every day. I haven’t had a salad for well over a month because of my labs. I sometimes watch Chris eat salad and I get so jealous. I almost want to drool as he is eating it. Just a simple salad and I crave it! I will never take eating salad for granted again because I now know what it is like to not be able to have it. Just like getting a pedicure. I used to be able to go whenever I want. Now I have to go when my labs are good. All the little things in life are big to me now. So lesson of the day: Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize that they were big things.  (I actually have this quote on my tv along with many others thanks to Chris. You are not allowed to have a bad day in our house J)

Till next time…KMS

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yesterday we had the meeting to find out which risk group I would be placed in and which medications I will be receiving for the next phase of treatment (called consolidation). I was placed in the lowest risk group that I could potentially have been placed in, given that I have 0% blasts! Overall the meeting went well and I am actually starting treatment bright and early tomorrow morning. I now have a schedule for the next 78 days. I will continue to take it one step @ a time, but now have a new goal of day 78. Although it feels like forever and a day away I know time will go quickly. Look, it’s already 2013! This is going to be a good year J

Till next time…KMS