Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Free at Last

I woke up this morning and I was in my own bed with my own pillows in my own room. It's so good to be home. Of the last 44 days, I was in the hospital 38 of those. I tried to make the whole thing look easy, but I know it didn't. I tried hard to breeze through it just for the sake of not worrying about it, but honestly I can't tell you what it's like to know that I don't have to go back. This whole chemo-tour thing is finally over, the high dose treatments are done, and now I can take the rest of the 11 months at home. It sounds cheesy, but this last month in the hospital has totally changed me- it has made me think about so many things that I took for granted before all of this. We forget so easily the little things that we can do everyday until they're taken away. Today's big deal was just being able to walk outside and go get the mail. I couldn't do that for a month- couldn't just get up and go outside if I wanted to. And when I walked through my house today, it dawned on my how much sunlight there was in every room. You miss that in a hospital- you have a window but the halls and everywhere else is so closed off, all you get is flurescent light. In the midst of it, you don't think much about it, but it makes a huge difference, really. I can't complain so much, because my peeps made the month go by so smoothly- Mandy and Manda and Bobby and Tamara and Mom. I seriously don't know what I would've done without their love and entertainment and support. Especially Bobby- he came through for me on a daily basis, and I know he got tired of hanging out at the hospital everyday. But we really made the best of it and I'm almost shocked how much fun we had. I have been so lucky- SO LUCKY- to have all of you, and so lucky to have had the doctors that I've had. They've all been amazing to me and so kind. But most of all I feel thankful for the 4 million nurses I've come in contact with over the last month. They were all truly amazing. On a cancer floor, attitude is everything, and I can't tell you how many times Bobby and I would be sitting around goofing off and laughing and a nurse would say something about how long it had been since they'd heard laughter on that floor. It blew my mind to think about it, because laughing was sometimes the only thing that kept me from crying. Can you imagine losing your laugh? People lose hope when they hear the word cancer... I guess I always knew that, but seeing those other patients made it so real to me. I've been blessed- so blessed- with all of this. It's given me new vision into what I can do and what I can do for others, what a difference just a simple laugh can make. I encourage everyone to realize that and take action on it, to just be around someone who's lost that ability, just to remind them. It's crazy, this life, and every once in a while we get a chance to see it for what it really is. Today I feel like I woke up and my whole life was waiting for me. Like I have a brand new beginning that I can't wait to get started on. I don't want to waste one single second of it. I don't want to let one tiny piece get away from me without really living it up and enjoying it. And I just can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Drunk on Benadryl

Hi-ho, Lori the cancer patient here. It’s been a good day today, ate a whole cheeseburger for lunch and my mom came up and brought homemade candy. Tammer had a minute to come by and she brought homemade soup and cake (Bobby ate it all), which is always a bonus. I finally got moved to the oncology floor, so I’m back among nurses that I know and love and who actually know what a PICC line is, unlike floor 7. These oncology nurses amaze me- they’re so upbeat and positive and it makes such a difference to be around people like that. Not to be negative, but if you ever get cancer, I don’t recommend floor 7. Anywho, scheduled to start the last (WOOO-HOOOO!) round of high-dose chemo very soon and then once the staph infection is under control, I get to go home and do the 3 times a week chemo injections there for the next 11 months. I can honestly say I never thought I’d be this excited about 11 months of injecting myself with anything besides heroine, but it’s true, kids. Being on this floor and around all these cancer patients, wow, do I feel so lucky to be where I am mentally and to not be suffering through the 3rd round of cancer treatment. And some of these people are even younger than me, and seem to be struggling more. God has a weird way of showing us how good things can be even in the strangest days. Wow, that was deep. Oh, well, it happens I guess. I’ll keep in touch and all you kids take care of you.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

You're Never Gonna Believe This

Seriously, though, can you believe this sh*t?! I was going to get to stay home for 10 days and take the i.v. antibiotic at home, and I end up being allergic to it. So I break out in hives from head to toe, and call my doctor, and he says to me, "You've got to go to the ER and get admitted, because your infection is too bad." So I've been out 2 full days, and I've got to go back. I have seriously not been so upset about anything that's happened as I am right now, knowing I've got to spend another week or 2 in the hospital. But I guess I'm getting it over with, and I'm going to try to stay positive. I'm just really disappointed, but it could be a lot worse. I'll holla. :(

Friday, September 16, 2005

Here's my Advice to You

It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful to be home. Be thankful, kids, for all the little things you never think about, because nearly 3 weeks in the hospital will make you appreciate them. Good God, it's so good to be able to sleep all the way through the night, without those 2 am, 4 am and 6 am vitals checks, and the 3 am blood draws. And I can shower and change clothes without having to beg someone to come disconnect my I.V. I can walk outside or go to the store and pick whatevere I want to eat. Life is good, I tell you, and if I never have to spend the night in a hospital again, it will be too soon! Now we all know I still have a week left of chemo, but hopefully I can stay home a few days before that one has to take place.
I still have to take the Vancomyacin IV antibiotic, so a home health nurse came by today and showed me how to flush my lines and do the drip twice a day. The rash (did I tell y'all about the rash)- whoo, it's ugly, but the itching is getting better and we're assuming since I've still got it that it's probably from the antibiotics instead of the chemo. Hopefully, it will subside soon, too. Other than that, I'm amazed at the energy I have and I feel so great. A little braindead from 3 weeks of hospital food and 6 tv channells, but hopefully I can regrow some of those braincells this week. Hope everyone is good, and pray for no more hurricances, because that shit is not the best thing to watch on tv for 18 hours a day if you want to keep your mood up-


Thursday, September 08, 2005

This is the A-Game

Let me first apologize to everybody out there that’s been waiting around for me to update this blog, but it’s been a really busy week, and by busy, of course, I mean I’ve been combing the hospital for people to harass. On a serious note, everything has been going well here. Came into the ER last Monday with a slight fever which turned out to be from an infection at the site of my last surgery. So, they decided to go ahead and do the chemo and load me up with antibiotics at the same time to fight both these nasty skanks in my body. Mandy flew in from San Diego and little Amanda came down from College Station, which made the time go by super fast, and of course little Bobby was on stand-by for regular and scheduled abuse. The nausea has been a little better this time, so I’m actually eating a few times a day, and my hair hasn’t seemed to fall out yet either, although I’m not gonna tell ya I couldn’t use the time off from shaving.

The antibiotics are really strong, and caused some kind of reaction that is strangely similar to being rolled in cornflakes and honey. The friends describe it more of a chicken-pox type rash. To each his own. Doc says I’ll be on the antibiotics for another couple of weeks or so, so I should be baking up some bread in no time… all the signs are pointing that direction. Also looks like I’m going to have to go back into surgery for the leg- it keeps filling up with fluid, which is why the infection started in the first place. They’ve drained it once already, but it’s going to have to be drained again soon. Good news is I have no feeling between my hip and my knee, so they can drain that main vein all they want as long as it gets me outta here sooner. Booby’s got some pics of the room, hopefully he can post some of them up. The atmosphere has made all the difference.

After a week of fighting my veins (the chemo is really bad on them) and resisting getting a port (which is a surgical procedure that puts and IV in your neck or chest) Dan the Man Chemo Nurse finally talked me into a PICC line, which has helped out significantly. It’s just a plastic tube that starts in my upper arm and ends in the anterior vena cava, but it makes IVs and blood draws like butter (no more painful sticks or digging for veins). We’ll try to get pics of the arms- heroine chic is SO chic! So anyway, I’m here for at least another 5 days so feel free to call, although the chemo has dropped my protein levels way low, which means I’m sleeping about 14 hours a day (not counting naps)- but I’d love to have the phone calls, I promise.


I'm Too Young For This!