Friday, February 29, 2008


I posted earlier today, but I forgot to add that I'm also training. I'm doing a 5K walk on April 6th and I started training earlier this week to make sure I can do it with no problem. I started with a 15 minute walk on Monday and then a 20 minute walk/fast walk on Wednesday. It's been difficult because it's so darn COLD outside. I walked at lunch at work and on Wednesday, I almost turned around and went back inside. Eisenhower Avenue is a long, flat street that parallels I-495 (which means I can see traffic stacking up to go to the Woodrow Wilson bridge as I walk). There is a river "run" between 495 and the street and it's a fairly wide open body of water. These factors combine into making my walk like walking into a wind tunnel. I managed to stick it out, but it was brutal.

I'm walking 25 minutes today and taking Riley with me. He loooooooves walks. I plan to fit in a walk tomorrow at the Jaycee convention and then another walk on Sunday when I get home. So far, I haven't had any problems except being cold!

Oh, and a happy belated birthday to Claire Luton and Suzanne Jubert.

Can't Help but Thnk

I'm heading off to the quarterly Jaycee convention tonight. It's the weekend where year-end awards are handed out, especially the number one chapter in the State (the coveted Giessenbier). I can't help but think about last year around this time. I was the 2006 Individual Development VP for my chapter and I helped write our annual report and individual project write-ups, which helped the chapter win the Giessenbier, several other state-level awards, and a national Jaycee award. In addition, I received the Jaycee International Senate award, which is the highest award anyone can receive in the Jaycees - it's international! It was a great weekend, with lots to celebrate and be proud of. What I reflect on now is that evil Priscilla was growing inside me back then and didn't know how drastically my life would change two months later.

This is the wierd way I think sometimes. My brother celebrated his 1 year anniversary recently and I'm so glad I didn't know about the cancer before his wedding because I was able to celebrate with family and friends and not worry about anything, but at the same time it freaks me out a little to know how "normal" things were before my world was blown apart. I feel like I'm riding to the top of an emotional roller coaster as I approach my own "anniversary" in April and I don't know how I'll feel when I get there. I know I'm celebrating by doing a 5K walk at the annual Cherry Blossom event. I'll be glad to be doing something to celebrate that I AM alive and Priscilla didn't take me out. I have to admit, it's going to be interesting. My friend, Gila, was injured in a bombing in Israel almost 6 years ago a week after my anniversary. She has a party each year to celebrate her life, so I'm taking a cue from her by doing this 5k. (I'm adding a link on the right to her blog if you're interested in reading her story - it's amazing.)

I just want to say in advance that this weekend promises to be a weekend of celebrations for my chapter again. I know of some very special awards that some very deserving people will be receiving. Don't bother to ask me because, I'm not telling. You'll have to figure it out!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to Me

Priscilla's still dead - yay!!!!!! Everything went very well, including the blood work and IVs for the CT scan. The IV tech had to stick me twice because the first time didn't take, but I didn't pass out. They were also quick, probably because no one else wanted to come in for a CT scan today. I arrived at 8:30 and went to phlebotomoy where I was greeted warmly by everyone. Ronnie (the head of the deparment) said she'll see my mom later today, but I told her mom is home sick today with a bad cold and high fever. Ronnie told me to stay away from mom today so I wouldn't get sick. I arrived for my CT scan at 9am and by 9:30, they were ready to take me back for my IV. They were so quick, that I hadn't even gotten changed into my hospital pajamas when they called my name for the IV tech. I usually wait an hour before I see her. After they put the IV in, I only waited about five minutes before I was called back for the CT. My clinic appointment was at 11:30 and I was up there by 10:30.

It was a quick day with good news. Doug, my NP, examined me and asked me how I've been feeling. The numbness in my feet and toes has subsided considerably. It's still there, but I don't smack my feet as hard when I walk. Mike was making fun of me there for a while because I walked funny. Dr. Dunleavy came in later with the good news and said my CT scan looked excellent (yay!) and that the leftover scar tissue has shrunk even a little more than last time. My white counts are hovering just above the "good" line, which can happen because the rituximab drug can linger for about 6 months and cause mild neutropenia even now. So, all is good!

Doug asked me if I had a blog because another patient had found this and had asked him about it. I said, "I guess I better stop talking bad about NIH!" I've had nothing but great service there, except for a few nurses who thought I was a pincushion. I'm amazed that he found this, but I think he was researching my type of lymphoma and found me. He said this has been helpful, so I'm glad someone can learn from my experience. My top hint is to eat like crazy when you're on the prednisone because the next week you won't feel like eating anything. When you get to that state, ask NIH for the frozen slushies because they are excellent, cold, and make a good meal when nothing else sounds good.

We went to lunch to celebrate and we both had the salad bar and mini turkey burgers. Both of us started feeling bad after we ate and I got sick when we got home. I don't know if the barium/contrast dye made me worse, but I did not feel well. I took a nap for a couple of hours (plus I've been so tired from working late) and feel better now. Fun.

When I woke up, I called work to check in on the status of our proposal that's due tomorrow. It's CRAZY over there. We have several subcontractors on our team and we hadn't received all of their pricing data. I saw the flurry of emails to track this down and one of our subs is going to meet our delivery person tomorrow morning in the parking lot at the Government facility where this is due. My co-workers are still working to get our pricing volume printed and I sincerely hope they won't be there late tonight. They're not just working on my proposal because we're printing another proposal that's also due tomorrow and I hear that one's even crazier than mine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Personal Valentine

Tomorrow's the BIG day and I don't mean Valentine's Day. I have my big "test" tomorrow that Mike keeps saying he hopes I've been studying for: my 6 month CT scan. Thankfully I have been overworked and overloaded with a proposal at work that I have not had once second to worry about tomorrow. I'm actually sitting here waiting for an answer via email to a question and then I will be all done. My proposal is due Friday and I won't be working tomorrow so I'm trying to get everything done tonight. I'm also chuggging a big bottle of water so I am not dehydrated when they try to put the IV in. I shuddder to think about THAT piece of fun awaiting me tomorrow.

My CT is scheduled for 10am, but I need to be there by about 8:30 so I can have bloodwork done first. Then I check in at 9am so I can get start drinking my barium cocktail. I hope I run into my friend Steven because I know tomorrow's his checkup too, but I don't know what time he's scheduled to be there. I bet it is early because he comes from near Cleveland.

Mike has something planned for tomorrow night, but he hasn't told me what. I will have to ask what to wear: dressy or casual. My greatest hope is that we are not just celebrating Valentine's Day, but a succesful day at NIH with NO bad news. I've been feeling great, except for stress and being tired from working way too hard this past month so I'm taking that as a good sign. A good test result will be the best possible gift I could receive EVER.

I've heard from a few people that they went to Pantene's site and registered their wishes. Two friends actually chopped off their hair and donated it. You guys are AWESOME. My hair is really coming in thick and curly. I couldn't tell for a while how curly, but it's pretty curly right now. I like it! I like the short hair because it is so easy to take care of in the morning - just put a little gel in and go.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone. You can all be my special valentines.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hair Care

Back in the day, when I used to have lots of long, thick, curly hair, I used Pantene for curly hair shampoo. This stuff is awesome. I signed up for emails so I could receive coupons and didn't unsubscribe during my illness, even though it was kind of sad to receive an email about shampoo when I didn't need it. Pantene has started a program called, "Beautiful Wishes" where they will donate $1 to Beautiful Lengths, a program that provides real-hair wigs to women fighting cancer.

All you need to do is go to their site at and make a wish. For every wish, they will donate $1 to the program. Please log in and make a wish because sometimes a wig can be the only thing that makes a cancer patient feel better. I didn't use my wig much until I returned to work because I just wanted to feel somewhat normal and not look like the "cancer girl."

You have until Feb. 15 to make your wish, which coincides with my next check-up on Feb. 14. I think my wish will be: "to pass my CT with flying colors."

While you're at it, please donate to Mike's triathlon. The link's to the right. :)