‘Tis the Season to be Jolly (Even if I am Not Feeling Too Fantastic)

I know that normally I do not post as much when I am feeling well because I am out and about, but this time I haven’t been posting very much because I am feeling too fantastic. I wish that I could report that I am doing well, but that is not the case! I have had a fever for a few days and it turns out that part of it was steroid withdrawal. Yeah, my steroids were tapered just a little too fast and I was going through some insane withdrawal symptoms. My whole body hurt- body aches, headaches, joint aches, and a fever. I went to the doctor on Friday and got some blood tests done and there were no signs that I have an infection or anything. So that is good news! I just got back on my steroids on a low dose and am going to very slowly and gradually decrease my dose because I do not need to have the awful joint aches to where I literally walk like a 90 year old woman. Not the most comfortable thing to have to deal with!

It kind of feels like I have had one healthy, good day for every two bad days since I went through my withdrawal symptoms. I also believe that I do have a little sickness of some sort because I still have my fever, but it is not high enough to have to be admitted for. I also have been coughing up a storm to the point where my chest hurts. My back has been hurting a bit, which I think is due to tumor pain- good thing in about a week is my chemo week! I am pretty disappointed that my health has not been as great as it has been lately, but that is okay. My health has its ups and its downs so I will see what happens!

I write my blogs in one sitting and have to recall what I have done so I tend to miss a few things here and there, so forgive me if I leave something out!

Wednesday was spent with Susette and man, that was a productive day! We decided that we had to get our Christmas shopping done in one big swoop. Our first stop was at Pier One and we had such a trip there! There were so many bright colors there and so many things on sale that it was like heaven to me! I would say we spent just slightly less than an hour there and were successful. We then traveled to Styles For Less, which was a few stores down for some personal shopping. Susette had never been to that store so she was overwhelmed by all of the cute and cheap clothes to choose from! She got some amazing red jeggings and a cute shirt. I kind of got a massive score. I got tons of hats to shelter my little, cold, bald head, some bralettes (basically to wear with my tank tops that are see-through), a vest that looks like a rose in a cool way, a pair of floral leggings, a pair of yoga pants, some Vegas jewelry, and some tops that are perfect for Vegas! I am so excited for the outfits that I have planned for the trip- one of the reasons why I was extra-concerned about being sick because of my plans for Vegas. So after our eventful trip in that store, we went to Tuesday Morning, which was a first for us both. It had a bunch of random knick-knacks and we both found a few little goodies. Then we went to Jamba Juice to refuel before heading to Laguna Creek High School for a wrestling meet. Susette had never been to a wrestling meet and was so excited for it. I got to say hi to my coaches and catch up, as well as see Troy, Tyler, Rajiv, Sean, Thomas, and Herman. Susette and I were talking about the nasty smell that just comes with wrestling- no matter what you do, wrestlers just smell a certain way after practice. Then, DeAngela walked into the gym and I jogged over to see her and she finally noticed me. We hugged and then we sat back down with Susette to watch all of the matches. Although Laguna did not win the meet, I was thoroughly entertained the whole time and saw one really good match! Susette had to go home so at about 8:30pm DeAngela and I went to dinner at Chevy’s so we could catch up- plus I had a hankering for Mexican food. We had some good laughs and good food before we both decided it was time to sleep.

Thursday and Friday were mostly spent at home other than going to the hospital on Friday for being sick. On Saturday, I was supposed to bartend for my babysitting coop for their annual Christmas party, but I was just not feeling well and I did not want to get anyone sick. I was so bummed because I was prepared to make cool drinks for the whole party but I just could not risk it. Instead, my dad came over and we watched movies. That is our thing, we always watch movies together because he can handle scary movies and gory films, whereas my mom gets nightmares from some of my horror flicks.

On Sunday, I went sailing. I had set my alarm for 8:30am so that I could be up and about for long enough for my steroids and pain pills to kick in so I would feel good, considering that every morning I wake up feeling horrible and as the day goes on (or about 30 minutes into the day) I start to feel better because of my meds. Unfortunately, my volume on my phone was not loud enough over my three fans and I did not wake up at 8:30. Instead, my mom came into my room and woke me up at 9. Luckily that was still enough time for me to hustle and get ready and leave. I also had help from my mom, who packed a few snacks for myself. I picked up Job and then we both drove to meet Susette and her dad at her house. Susette’s dad owns two sailboats and sails often, so I was super stoked for my first time sailing. It was Job’s first sailing experience as well, so he was excited as well. Susette was thrilled to be able to offer this experience to me and to spend time with Job and me. We all stopped by Quiznos to get sandwiches for our trip, and I have to say, my sandwich was extremely good- it was my first time and definitely not my last at this place. Oh, I forgot to mention, Susette brought her dog, Cooper, along with us. He is an excellent sailing dog as Susette’s dad has taken him numerous times, you could say that Cooper is a pro when it comes to knowing the drill. It took Susette’s dad about twenty minutes to set up the 50 foot sailboat to make it ready for us to go out, so Job, Susette, and I went exploring around the dock to look at all of the sailboats. Some were dinky, and others were just fantastic. You could live on quite a few of them! So we all got on the boat and were handed life jackets. These ones were inflatable life jackets that you had to pull a string so the life jacket would float. Well, Job’s jacket was one that had a sensor that when touched by water, automatically inflated. He joked about it because he was the only one who couldn’t swim. I was so prepared for cold weather and for the icy wind, but where I sat on the boat there was shelter from the wind. I was wearing just my tank top for the longest time- along with plenty of sunscreen of course. It wasn’t until after we ate our sandwiches down below that I noticed how cold it was outside- that and I was in a different spot from before. I also noticed that I got a little sea sick when I was down in the bottom of the boat, but when I was on deck my stomach was fine. You could say that I made the transition back to the deck really fast and felt better immediately. Soon after I got my sweatshirt, I went back to my spot that blocked the wind and was not freezing. We all had such a great day and talked a lot, and I got some sunshine! I needed that, I have been cooped up indoors for way too long. I also learned a bit about sailing and the different kinds of sails there were and what they did. It was nice seeing how much Susette’s dad enjoyed sailing and that he was happy to see his daughter interact with her friends. Nothing was ever awkward! Oh, and I have to mention, that the sailboat was rigged to steer itself when in the sailing mode (engine off). It was pretty much life an autopilot and it self-adjusted itself to capture the wind coming in from different directions. This made life so much easier for us, so we could all sit down and chat without having to worry about running into anything. Susette also helped us steer in the beginning and in the end when the engine was on, and she did a great job! It was amazing to see Susette’s dad put the sailboat back into its spot- it was all in one smooth move. I was surprised because boats are incredibly difficult to “park” because of the water. So after we left the boat behind and got back to Susette’s house and I dropped off Job, I went back home and rested up because we were going to have a little kickback at Job’s house later. Susette came to my house at around 8:30pm and we left for Job’s at about 9pm, with my specialty beers in hand so that I could try them and then have other people finish them for me. I am not a beer person so a sip is more than enough for me! The group of us: DeAngela, Susette, Job, Amanda, Abe, and Job’s brother, played Apples to Apples. I won very quickly because I somehow got the perfect cards. I then went to the couch and turned my attention to the movie that was playing, Red 2. Oh, and before we watched Hot Rod, which was kind of cute and ridiculous. Everyone else continued on playing Apples to Apples, but I was enjoying my movie. Susette was not sure if I was bored and wanted to leave, but I assured her that I was just into my movie (which I was)! At around 1am we left Job’s house and stopped by Jack in the Box to get some food and then went back to my house. We stayed up for about another hour before going to bed. Susette warned me that she would probably be gone by the time I was awake. She actually ended up leaving at around 6:45am because of her sleep schedule. She is a morning person and is always up and about early, she is the type who studies in the morning instead of staying up late and pulling all-nighters.

I cannot say that any of the rest of the week has been productive- I have just been laying on the couch trying to recover from whatever illness that I have. Today, Christmas day, I watched movies with my dad while my mom and brother went to visit my great grandpa. I decided it would be best not to risk getting everyone else sick and exhausting myself before my big Vegas trip on Friday. I wish I could have seen everyone on this holiday, but that was not the case. My family just kind of goes with the flow, it just comes with the territory of my cancer. I have to say that I am just glad that I am alive to see this Christmas. It could be way worse, and I am at home with my family during this day instead of being in the hospital, as much as I love my nurses.

I know that with the season comes great joy, but for some it brings heartbreak and depression. Some families are without certain family members and some spend their holidays alone. However, I would like to say that no one is ever truly alone- someone always has you in their heart. No matter how many bridges you have burned, how alone and hopeless you feel, someone cares about you. It does not matter if you think that nobody cares about you- because I guarantee that somewhere out there is absolutely crazy about you. Now it might be the crazy cat lady next door, your animals, your coworkers- someone loves you and carries you in their hearts! There is always someone who sees the good in yourself that maybe you do not see, but they are there. Just remember that you are a fantastic person who has people who cares about you and put a smile on your face this season. I know that having cold weather probably makes it more difficult and that depression is worse in winter (as well as there is seasonal depression) but having a smile on makes getting through each day easier. Just smiling, humming, singing, whatever you do that makes yourself happy- do it! It will make a big difference, trust me, I am not a happy camper when it comes to cold weather because I am a summer girl and my body aches so much during the winter. Sunshine is always my best friend! So look at pictures of amazing places and just be happy and smile!

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email: shashimi1992@yahoo.com

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Thanks so much for reading, as always! Please spread childhood cancer awareness!

-Lauren McCullough

6 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season to be Jolly (Even if I am Not Feeling Too Fantastic)

  1. Pingback: My self-care gift of not going to visit my family. | Trauma and Dissociation

  2. Pingback: Jacquel Rassenworth’s Holiday Travels | The Jacquel Rassenworth Blog

  3. I was watching the news & happen to come across the story on your struggles to fight cancer. So I took down your name & here we are coming with ALL the blessing your to conquer your quest my dear. With my blessing I will be by your side till you succeed. Words no need to speak. But love can show. All my blessing are with you. Good luck & stay strong. 😉

  4. Just wondering how you have been. Miss hearing from you and about you. Praying things are okay…also want to put together a St. Baldrick’s Team from Christian Brothers HS on your behalf. What do you think?

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