Fighting Cancer is like a Full-Time Job

and I already have a full-time job. I’m exhausted. Luckily I can do both jobs simultaneously. I’ve learned that a lot of my appointments are mainly just waiting around so I now bring my laptop to get work done in the waiting room or during transfusions.

I’m out of the hospital! And boy is it hard work. Between scheduling appointments and visits with my oncologist, the physical therapist, the cardiologist, labs in the clinic, transfusions and procedures and I haven’t even started chemo yet! Just talking about it makes me tired.

My last day in the hospital was traumatizing. I didn’t sleep at all the night before. I needed a bone marrow biopsy and a lumbar puncture. The bone marrow biopsy was taking longer than I expected and they kept hitting a nerve that would send a shooting firework-like pain down my calves. They finally brought in another nurse practitioner to finish the job on the 3rd try. Luckily she was successful but I’m pretty sure I was shaking by this point because I couldn’t see what they were doing and it just sounded like they were using swords on my back. Between the sounds and the shooting pains, I was beyond freaked out. Then I had a 5 min break to calm down and then they had to do the lumbar puncture. I’d had two already that were a breeze but for some reason, they were having difficulty with this one. They tried several times and just couldn’t get it. Plus they hit the same nerves that sent more shooting pains to my calves. I cried a lot and they called it and were unsuccessful. It was the worst 2 hours ever. I was worried they’d keep me in the hospital another night but they still released me that day. Which might have been a bad idea.

They also cut me cold turkey from the prednisone that day. 29 days on an extremely high dose and then just stopping is insane. Usually they taper you off but they didn’t with me. The doctor warned me that I’d feel pretty bad for a couple days but he described it as a hangover. This, sir, was no hangover. It was MISERABLE. The sharp shooting pains returned to my knees in the middle of the night and my pain killers didn’t work. So they prescribed me something stronger that made me feel super confused and weird and paranoid. Everything was so uncomfortable. I was very irritable and still couldn’t sleep. I think I went 3 days without sleeping. I’d cry in the middle of the night because I was so uncomfortable and angry and sad. I felt like I should have still been in the hospital. My legs and body were so weak I could barely walk. The best way to describe it is extreme discomfort inside and out. My blankets felt too heavy. Nothing could comfort me. I never want to feel that way again.

Luckily after a few days I started feeling better. The prednisone was leaving the body. And I finally slept! It was a miracle.

I returned Monday to finish the failed lumbar puncture but this time they used an x-ray machine to determine the exact spot to go in and weird enough they had been in the right spot when they tried before so we’re not really sure why they were unsuccessful. I was just relieved to get it over with finally. I have another one next week fml.

I’m all moved in to my new house. It’s a mess right now. My bed and TV are set up but the rest is just a bunch of boxes. I need to get it furnished but that’s hard work when you’re exhausted.

I came home to a bunch of cards and care packages. Thank you everyone for all the love. It’s really overwhelming (in a good way).

My face is still very large and in charge from the prednisone. I’m still waiting for it to die down. My hair has started to fall out but not much of it. I still have a fuzzy head. My hands are very numb now and actually hurt most days. They’re super sensitive to hot and cold and the clinic is always freezing. Today I wore Ugg boots in June. That’s how cold it is in there.

Anyway enough of my ramblings… TTFN.

Well F*ck, It’s Cancer.

Life just threw me a major curveball. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) 14 days ago.

I was sick as a dog in bed for 3 weeks. Many of the symptoms were similar to COVID19 so we figured that’s what I had. I self-isolated in my room for weeks with just virtual doctor visits to discuss my symptoms. At first, they said I didn’t need to get tested unless I was having trouble breathing and to just stay home and isolate. After a few weeks, I thought I was getting better and then crazy lymph nodes in my neck and my eyes started to swell up. That’s when I finally decided to get the coronavirus test. I celebrated when the test came back negative. The next day I made an appointment to get the antibody test to make sure I had it in the first place and to see what was up with the swollen neck of lymph nodes. When the doctor came in with a negative antibody test and saw that I had an extremely high heart rate she sent me straight to the emergency room. Thank God she did.

The emergency room was scary and they ran a million tests to get to the bottom of what was going on. They all still figured it was just a false COVID test result but after a 3rd negative they realized it wasn’t. So I was just sitting in a depressing room watching trash tv waiting for results and this frantic doctor comes in and briefly says “we are going to have to admit you to the hospital. It looks like it’s ALL” and then closes the door and walks away. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I didn’t have time to process what was happening and nobody really explained to me what was going on so I just called my mum and said what had just happened and then made arrangements to have my roommate come pick up my car because they were going take me in an ambulance to the hospital with the cancer ward.

The next day was more tests to make sure it was in fact ALL, and it was. They started me on chemotherapy the next day. They let me know I’ll be in the hospital for at least the next month and then be on chemo for the next year and maintenance for the following 2 years. What a journey I have ahead of me.

The craziest part of this is that my brother, Cory, passed of ALL 35 years to the day that I was diagnosed. My poor mother. She is in Momma Bear mode though. I just can’t help but feel guilty that she has do to this with a second child. Especially someone who’s dedicated her life to helping others in similar situations that she’s been in with the damn “C-word”.

I have faith in God, my incredible doctors and medical staff and myself. I will kick cancer’s ass and this is just another chapter in my book.

I wanted to keep this post short but I just have so much to say. I’ve been trying to sit down and blog about this since I got to the hospital but I haven’t been able to mentally. So sorry in advance for all the words words words but I know people want to be updated.

There are no visitors allowed in the hospital at the moment due to COVID restrictions which sucks. It also means I can’t have packages or deliveries. There’s a small pedestrian bridge I can see out my window that my friends have been coming to wave at me from. It’s so sweet. And I have been OVERWHELMED with the number of people reaching out to me to send support, love and prayers. You all make being stuck in isolation so much more manageable. And the generosity of the Go Fund Me page that my friends set up brings me to tears. I was not expecting any of this. I am so loved by so many. Thank you.

My job is being AMAZING through all this too. I am so truly blessed to have found such an incredible company to work for that cares about its employees in a way I never knew possible. I’m working as much as I can while I’m feeling well. It actually helps pass the time and I love what I do, so it doesn’t even feel like work! Plus I’ve convinced all the nursing staff on this floor to purchase some Peepers! 🙂

Everyone in the hospital is so great. I’m clearly the favorite on the 6th floor. 🙂 I’ve made friends with most of the nurses. I have more human interaction here than I did while I was sick in bed for 3 weeks so it’s great!

I’m feeling pretty good. Just some weird side effects and the occasional health hiccups here and there but overall not feeling super lousy. Yet. I think it’s supposed to kick in either this week or next. But they’re good at doing as much as possible to prevent feeling ill ahead of time. I had a little bit of pill phobia for a couple days but I think I’m getting over that. I just got an unexpected shot in my belly and that wasn’t fun either but I’m managing.

The food isn’t bad. I’m on a steroid that makes me RAVENOUS so all I can think about is food all the time haha so good thing the hospital food is decent. I’ll write another blog post about all the random food I’m craving at a later date. You’ll laugh.

I know a lot of friends and family want to reach out and don’t know how. And I don’t expect you to. I’d love a text or a message on social. I’m just chilling all day erry day so I’m down to text. I’d love to NOT talk about cancer and just talk about life and funny memes and pics of your dogs or your babies or anything really. So please keep reaching out. I love hearing from you. Just know that sometimes I might be too tired or ill to respond and ALSO my fingertips are going numb (which is very weird) as a side effect so there might be typos but I’ll get back to you when I can.

I appreciate all the well wishes but know that I’m doing ok and I freaking got this.