I Barfed in a Garbage Can…

Fighting cancer this week has had its ups and downs.

I am on day 9 of round two of chemo. And it’s a lot of work. Right now I’m going in 4 days a week to get chemo, labs twice a week and a lumbar puncture once a week with doctor’s appointments in between. My chemo includes a pill twice a day, a shot in my tummy when I’m in the clinic and sometimes an IV, and an injection in my spine during my LP.

so many pills 🤪

The first week I was feeling ok from the treatments but towards the weekend I started to slow down. Nothing major just some fatigue. Then yesterday I was getting my normal belly shot and my labs came back saying I needed a blood transfusion. They gave me some blood and I decided I’m going to get those Halloween vampire teeth to wear next time. But towards the end of my transfusion, I started to feel weird and just figured I was starving since I’d been in the clinic all morning and it was lunchtime. So I rushed to the cafe to get a bite before my LP. Hunger was not the feeling because I could barely take a few bites. So I headed to the waiting room for my LP. I felt horrible and just wanted to go home. All of the sudden I knew I was going to get sick. This was a new waiting room and I couldn’t find a bathroom in time so I barfed in a garbage can. I apologized to some lady and she was very sweet. Bless her heart. Last time I barfed in a garbage can was at Fiesta Del Sol last year when I drank 1 million wines and then went on 3 sketchy spinning rides in a row. My how things have changed.

Then I had an LP. It was successful but took longer than normal because the fluid wasn’t flowing quickly like it normally does and we all know it’s not my favorite procedure. The lady that does it is very sweet and the nurses gave me cold rags to help with the nervous sweating. They gave me some Zofran to help with the nausea and then I felt better but I was beyond ready to go home. It was a long day. I had a sweet care package to come home to. Y’all keep sending me candy and I have no self-control so all that weight I lost in the hospital will be back in no time lol.

My physical therapist said she was expecting me to be worse off this week since I started such a rigorous chemo regime but was surprised with my progress.

My balance is much better and I’m managing stairs and walking longer distances. I’m on a new heart medication so that helps. But the other day my Apple TV wasn’t working so I wanted to unplug it and I couldn’t reach the plug and it was so frustrating. I finally reached it after struggling for a while and then was basically stuck in a corner on the floor. Something so simple was extremely exhausting and almost impossible and that’s something I’ll have to get used to. I wanted to cry. I’ve been fairly strong through all this just taking it as it comes but some days I just can’t believe how much my life and body has changed in a matter of months.

My hands are still numb and annoying and now my feet are too. I hate wearing socks but my feet are so sensitive to hot and cold that I have to wear socks now. My hedgehog hair is still falling out. I wish it would all just fall out already. My face is slowly getting slimmer… not as fast as I’d like but whatever my face mask covers it anyway.

I have to take a break from watching 90 Day Fiance because who knew there were all these spin-offs that suck you in?! I am deep in the rabbit hole but these crazies are stressing me out so I can’t do anymore. So any new TV suggestions would be appreciated. 🙂 Mahalos

Tootles.

Prednisone CRAVINGS

I’m on a steroid that is doing weird things to my body. I’m actually losing a lot of weight here in the hospital. Best diet I’ve ever been on.

I gained a bit of weight last year so I tried a diet in November that my friend and mom both had huge success with but my body did not react whatsoever. The nutritionist was baffled that I had ZERO results. It’s all starting to make sense if the cancer was already in my body at that point it might have been throwing everything off. ANYWAY I’m losing weight. Yay. If only I could choose where the weight was coming from (RIP tatas and booty 😭).

And thank goodness because this steroid is making me SO HUNGRY. I can’t stop thinking about food. I’ll be mid-conversation with my mum and be like “omg I want stir fry.” Or when I can’t sleep at 4 am, I glance at Pinterest and I swear it just shows me endless images of gigantic platters of french fries, tater tots, curly fries, crinkle-cut fries and alllll the dips. It’s pure torture.

I’ll be mid breakfast and start getting sad that I’ll have to wait a few hours til lunch. That’s how bad it is. Usually, people gain weight on prednisone so I’m counting my lucky stars (for now) and will keep eating that carrot cake with dinner. Let’s hope it doesn’t all catch up with me soon. My face is starting to swell like a chipmunk a little but the doc said it’ll go back down once I stop such a high dose in a few weeks.

But the craziest part is I’m craving things that I don’t even eat!

It doesn’t help that all the commercials on cable in here are of fast food restaurants. I’m craving a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s! WTF I haven’t eaten meat since 2007!

I’m making a list of places I want to eat as soon as I’m released from the hospital. I want a mahi burrito from Rubios, a veggie burrito from Lourdes in Cardiff, yellow curry and veggie spring rolls from Bangkok Bay. I would love a poke bowl but guess I can’t eat raw fish for a while… But once I can, you bet your butt I’ll be booking a flight to Oahu for a spicy ahi donburi bowl from Sushiya. (UPDATE) I just received some bad news that our favorite couple who owned my old neighborhood sushi spot sold it to their nephew 😭. I hope Mr. Sushiya (in his plaid shorts and pink polo) is enjoying retirement. I guess Station Sushi will do. Much closer. Still nommy.

I’m even considering a cheeseburger! Who knows, maybe I won’t be a pescatarian after all this. LOL!

The two things I miss most about not eating meat are hotdogs (yuck I know) and meatball subs from Subway (mind you, I was a teenager when I stopped eating meat). So kudos to my Troll homies for guessing these are also part of my cravings.

So if you’ve noticed me “loving” all your delicious food insta stories you now know why. This girl is drooling over your meals.

Yesterday room service brought me a bag of kettle chips but it must have been the bottom of the bag because it was all crumbs. So I added it to some left over Italian dressing and ate it with a spoon. This is my life now. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Just for fun let’s make a list of more yum yums I could go for:

– #2 Pinto Bean with a side of ranch from Taco Time (duh)

– PV (double duh)

– A giant bowl of pasta from this tiny Italian place I ate at in Venice once… this might be a little harder to access but hey this is my dream list, give me a break.

Tatsu Ramen – (ugh note-to-self: still need to find a good ramen place in San Diego)

Tim’s Cascade Jalapeño Chips

– The pineapple fried rice I made for my “Roomie Easter” this year

Papa Johns Cheese Pizza

Trader Joe’s goodies – all these Tik Tok TJ recs should be banned because they’re making me drool

Easy Mac lol

– Popcorn with jalapeños from a movie theater

This is the culprit 👿

Tootles Mermaid Hair

I have the most beautiful hair. People compliment it all the time. I don’t dye it, dry it, or use any special products. It’s just au natural. I always considered it my best asset. I liked to hide my body insecurity underneath it as well. In the back of my mind I always worried that if I was diagnosed with cancer that I wouldn’t know how to manage without my hair.

My first few thoughts after finding out I have leukemia was 1. my life’s about to change significantly 2. how’s this going to affect my fertility? (that’ll be a post for another day, perhaps) and 3. bye bye beautiful hair.

At first I thought I’d donate it since I didn’t want it to go to waste but then people kept saying why don’t you make a wig for yourself? I’d need to buy one anyway, why not use my own hair? Duh.

So I cut it off.

I had no idea that when I went to the doctor on that Monday that I’d be spending the next however many weeks in a hospital so I was so unprepared. I didn’t have a brush so I hadn’t brushed my hair in days. It was a complete mess. But I wanted to get it cut off while it was still healthy. I had to put it into a million ponies after a full day of brushing out dreadlocks. And then a sweet nurse cut each pony off and placed it into a bag one by one. Then she buzzed the rest and then BOOM I’m bald!

I thought I’d be more emotional but I didn’t cry or anything. I just sat there and chit chatted with the nurse about her kids and then it was over.

Some days I sit here and think how am I doing all this? I just take it one day at a time. That’s how it was with cutting my hair off. I just did it. I remember a therapy session once when I was going through a rough patch I told my therapist I was having a hard time doing things I used to like to do and then one day I just got up and went for a hike, or went to church, or met a friend for coffee and she asked how I was able to do it and I said “I dont know, I just did”. I don’t really have an explanation for how I’m dealing with all this. I just do it. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

Ok I lied, I had a little emo moment in all of this. I was concerned that my BFF Amelia’s daughter wouldn’t recognize me without my hair so I FaceTimed her before I cut my hair off and then a few days after to show her the difference. She was a little standoffish but she was eating dinner and she’s 2. In my mind, she just didn’t know who she was talking to. Amelia texted me the next morning and said she asked Alana when she was putting her to bed, “Did you get to talk to Auntie EE on FaceTime today?” and Alana replied, “Yes, EE wearing green shirt”. Which instantly made my heart melt because my (awful) hospital gown is green. She recognized me.

We found a wonderful local place to make my wig. It’s a little on the expensive side but it’s worth it to help me feel a little more like myself. Plus my sweet grandma wanted to do something to help so she’s covering it. Which makes it a little more special.

Amelia picked up my precious cargo yesterday from the hospital along with a wave from the “waving bridge” and dropped it off at the salon. They weighed my hair at 8.5oz! I’ll have a gorgeous wig of my own hair in about 12 weeks.

Until then I’m rocking this bald head!

#nofilter

My hair hasn’t started falling out yet so it’s actually growing in a little. I feel a bit like a Chia Pet at the moment. It’s fuzzy and fun to pet.

When I get released from the hospital, I may whip out some pink wigs from Halloween and plan to accessorize with bright lipsticks and funky earrings so stay tuned for some epic looks.

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.