Time for check ups again! Here are the line up of events:
January 15: 6 pm - Blood Work
January 16: 6:40 am- Check In/Prep for CT Scan
January 17: 8:40 am- CT Scan
January 18: 11:30 am- Doctors Appointment
This was our first time staying at the Rotary House, the hotel attached to the hospital. It worked out great, I could get my blood work done at the hotel that night, which saved me from having to get up at 5:30 for a 6 am blood work appointment. It was also nice to wake up, roll out of bed, and take a five minute stroll to my CT Scan appointment.
All went well with scans. My mom and I were out of there by 9:30, I think by far the shortest amount of time we’ve had to spend in the hospital for a CT Scan. I was pretty excited about that! Afterwards my mom and I went to Rice Village and had lunch at a cute little cafe with my friend, Maria, from elementary school. I haven’t seen her in a couple years and it was really nice to see her.
The doctors appointment went well. We were in and out of there in record time. My scans were all clear so I am definitely happy about that!
Last week I had check ups at MD Anderson after a four month break from any hospital visits. Here was my schedule:
Tuesday, September 18, 2012:
My mom and I flew into Houston on Tuesday and went straight to the hospital. After the blood work, we had a couple hours to spare so we went to the gift shops in the hospital and relaxed a little. Pretty uneventful.
As for the CT scan, some pretty exciting changes happened since the last time I had scans at MD Anderson. They have a new alternative to the barium solution, though they still offer the disgusting cocktail to those that can stomach it. This new alternative is clear and tasteless. They add it in different drink options and I chose Sprite. Though I have to drink three cups of it instead of two of the barium solutions, the cups are smaller so I think it turns out to be the same amount of either drink. Since it’s tasteless, I’ll gladly take three cups of Sprite any day over the melted, rancid milkshake taste of the barium solution. Since I no longer have to drink the barium solution, it no longer has to be injected in the lower GI tract. That was another vast improvement.
I was really excited about these changes to the CT scan, and it was fun to see the excitement in other patients faces when they found out about them. The rest of the CT scan went off without a hitch.
The next day I had an appointment with my oncologist. Though my appointment was at 9:30, my mom and I had to wait two hours to see the doctor. I was so impatient! There is so much anxiety before an appointment, waiting to hear if I’m still in remission or if the cancer has come back. It’s usually typical to wait thirty minutes to an hour to be called back to a patient’s room. Two hours was eating away my patients and sanity! By the time we got called back I was very grumpy and ready to get the heck out of the hospital. Thankfully I am still in remission, so I guess the two anxiety filled hours were worth it to hear that I’m still healthy.
My next appointment is in January, four months from now. Thankfully I have the holiday season off of any doctors appointments. Looking back at this time last year, when I was just about done with treatment, bald, and just plain done with hospitals and appointments, I’m very appreciative to be a young, healthy 25 year old with a great future ahead of me now!
My local LLS hosted a fashion show at Bloomingdales on September 8, 2012. I was one of about 20 participants, all cancer survivors, whom got to walk in the show. I wore a purple Lilly Pulitzer dress that went down to my knees, a brown leather jacket, ankle wedges, and a butt load of necklaces. They also had someone there to do my make up to look all cute for the runway.
Getting ready for the show reminded me of when I was little. My mom would sign my sister and me up for a kids fashion show that Neimans held every year. We would get all dolled up and have plenty of proud parents looking at us as we walked down the runway. Only difference: I now actually enjoy getting dolled up, as opposed to my 6 year old tom boy self that despised, and even at times opposed, wearing dresses.
My mom, sister, and niece all came to watch me strut my stuff. It was a lot of fun and definitely a memory that I’ll carry the rest of my life.
I had a great opportunity to go white water kayaking in Kalispell, Montana from July 23-29, 2012. First Descents, an organization that offers awesome outdoor adventure camps for young adult cancer survivors, provided me the opportunity to try something I thought I’d never had the courage to do.
There were 15 survivors attending the camp from all over the United States. Throughout the week, we were taught the basics of kayaking and then taken to rivers to test out our skills. Each successive day we were taken to a progressively harder rapid.
Honestly, I had one of the best weeks of my life while in Montana. I bonded with some awesome people and formed friendships that I hope will continue the rest of my life. I will never forget what an awesome week I had and look forward to going to other First Descent camps in the future!
I had check ups at the end of May at MD Anderson. Here’s what my schedule looked like:
Tuesday, May 29, 2012:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012:
Tuesday went smoothly and was one of the quickest CT scans I’ve ever had. I get so used to being at the hospital for hours at a time that when I’m actually there for four hours I get excited. The only thing that got switched around was I got my chest x-ray while I was prepping for my CT scan instead of after the scan. Prep as in drinking that disgusting cocktail. I also didn’t throw up during the scan when they were injecting me with contrast. That was a big plus! I don’t respond well to the contrast.
Wednesday’s appointment went well. I’m still in remission! My mom and I had time to kill in the morning so we got manis and pedis. While we were getting our nails done, MD Anderson called and asked if we could come in at 1:15 instead. They also said that Fanale wasn’t getting in until 3 so we’d just talk to Peter. They’ve never called me to come in earlier, so I was so nervous! I honestly was having a moment where I thought I had cancer again. Looking back on it, it was honestly a little silly for me to think that. If I did have a reoccurance, they would have most likely asked me to push back the appointment until Dr. Fanale came in so I could talk to her, but I still got nervous. Like I said, I’m all good and still in remission!
I am an Honorary Hero for LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), which essentially “serves as an inspiration and provides support” for many of their campaigns and departments. They have many fundraising events through the year, from luncheons, Light the Night Walk, and Team in Training. I do not have to attend all these events but they can use my name and story (see the picture I attached) to help raise awareness and possible donations for LLS.
A few weeks ago, on May 16, 2012, I attended a luncheon where I had to share my story. This is the first time (excluding school) where I had to speak in front of a crowd. I was especially nervous since I was sharing something so personal. We had lunch at Morton’s where around 50 executives from different business’s, who are all potential donors, came to hear about LLS and what they’re about. My mom and sister also came to support me.
My speech lasted about 3 minutes and I did a lot better than expected. I didn’t studder, slur my words, or pronounce anything wrong. I made sure to look up when speaking and also made sure to speak loudly. Very basic rules for speech giving, I know, but for me, a shy, quiet, little girl, I’m awefully proud of myself! I know now that if I ever have to speak again in front of a crowd that I am more than capable of doing it.
As I mentioned, the picture attached is what they put in folder packets for the executives. I had to write the summary about myself and a few of the lines I used in that summary I also used in my speech.
I’m now getting knots in my hair and it’s not even that long! I enjoyed the no knots while it lasted.
One year after getting diagnosed with Hogkin’s Lymphoma. Alive and healthy!
One year ago today I got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I made it! After everything I’ve been through the past year, remembering all the pain, makes me so thankful and happy that I am alive today. I have nothing but a big smile on my face right now. Happy cancerversary to me!
It’s been 6 months since chemo! Six months!!!