Fighting a Losing Battle

True to the title, I got bad news today from the tumor board meeting. I was also coming in because I have been experiencing excruciating pain on my shoulder/neck area and on the left side bottom of my ribs. I rated it on a scale of 1-10 as an 8. In the hospital, they kind of made me put my pain scale to where I needed meds at 4. And knowing how much I tolerate pain-wise, this was an incredible amount of pain for me. I took some pain pills before my appointment to dull the pain, and it did to an extent. I could not sleep well and had to get out of bed early to put on two ice packs for my two hurt areas. I then went to my appointment with my nurse-practitioner to hear about the results from tumor board.

It turns out, that the ICE (aka hardcore chemo) that I had taken less than a month ago did not have much of an effect. I also found out that I am inoperable, there is no benefit for putting me in pain from surgery. Radiation will hurt my heart even more, and that is my main issue. My heart has fluid or tumor around it and in the left side of the pericardium. Basically, the surgery would be incredibly dangerous as it would be near my heart, but it would also expose other tissue that has cancer cells in it, causing them to grow into tumors. As it stands, my heart has pressure on it and will eventually not be able to pump as much blood out to the body, causing eventual organ failure. So this was not the news that I wanted to hear. I cried and cried, I swear my timing with everything is awful. I know I will be able to live to see my 21st birthday and the New Year. I still have more goals that I need to achieve before I leave the earth.

So here are my plans for the near future. My mom and I are going to fly out to San Diego on Friday because we are going to get tattoos on Saturday. Yeah, the best tattoo shop that I found was in San Diego, so that is exactly where we are going. I am going to be getting a black scorpion that I have been planning on, while my mom is getting a heart-shaped lock with two keys, representing Mark and I. Egor will be visiting us for the day that we are getting the tattoos because he is stationed there. This makes for perfect timing, because I am going to be seeing all my friends soon, luckily it is close to winter break so my out-of-state friends will be flying home. I am so excited to see DeAngela and Aly! I am going to be visiting Susette up at UC Santa Cruz and visit her during a weekday- it has been forever since I have seen that chick! Kevin lives close by so obviously that will be easy to see him. I am unsure of when Job gets home from his training, and I miss him so he better be coming back soon! I miss my crew, I know we will all get together. I am also going to be visiting my swim team at DVC next week after I have taken my day with Susette. So I will spend two days or so in the Bay Area. On Thursday, I am getting another echo cardiogram and meeting with a bunch of the oncology team to see what they can do to prolong my life as possible. Let’s be real, I still have more things to accomplish and more places to visit, as well as more people to reach out to. I am also going to be planning a Florida trip after I hear what my treatment options are. As many of you know, I LOVE Florida and it has been my dream to go to Florida Gulf Coast University and to live down there with my dad. I wanted to get a boat and have cars and constantly be tan because of the amazing weather. Bugs are not a big deal for me whatsoever, and I am sure my soon-to-be tattoo will scare them off. Luckily, we have a great family friend who is more of family than friend, who has a vacation house in Tampa that is connected to a canal and he has a boat. I love that house so much, so I am excited to visit it. I am planning on going sky-diving with Kevin in the near future. It is worth the risk. I am also planning on going to Las Vegas with Kathryn and Cheryl and my mom to eat the good food, go to the clubs, watch the shows. Kathryn and I are one day apart, I am the older one. So we both turn 21 in December, so we have been planning on having all the fun- with our moms paying for it. Hehe. They know it and they don’t mind because it will be so worth it. I will be renting a scooter thing in Vegas because I am not going to walk more than is necessary and getting out of breath. Other than these things, I need to think a little more about what my bucket list should consist of.

So with my whole dying thing, I have an idea of what it is, to die. For some, it means going to heaven, being reincarnated, etc. For me, I believe it is a lot like sleeping (and boy, do I love sleeping) and dreaming. I have had dreams where people who have died have visited me. Andrew visited me in a dream and it was real. Uncle Mike visited me in a dream and it was real. They are always happy in the dreams and I know that they are ok and that they love me. I promise that I will visit my friends’ and family’s dreams often, and it will be the real me. This is one thing that I am sure of, I will always visit and always be happy. Whenever you dream about someone who has died (who you care about) then they are watching you and are with you. I will want you to be happy in the dream, because we would both know that we care about each other. I firmly believe in this, and it makes sense to me and there is no need to worry about everything. Dreams are amazing and they are always entertaining, so I will never be bored, especially if I end up visiting in one of YOUR dreams. I will visit as often as I can, I am never going to go away for good! Let’s be honest, I think I am a pretty memorable person! Besides, I have so much knowledge about how to kill zombies and stuff, so I would be a perfect teammate for a zombie apocalypse dream.I never die in those dreams and I have to say that I am beyond legit in them. I use flamethrowers, chainsaws, and have other-worldly athletic/jumping abilities. So happy hunting ;]

Another thing I wanted to discuss is what you should get out of knowing me and what I want each and every reader to do for me, kind of as a parting gift:

  • pass on the knowledge that it is better to be happy and think of the good things in life.
  • Do not be a negative person, but if you do have to vent every once in a while, then you are more than welcome to.
  • Just do not suck up the positive energy from your friends, have all of you feed off each other and be even more positive
  • Be confident in who you are. Sure, modesty is key, but it is best for you to acknowledge how awesome you are. People love hanging out with confident people (not to be confused with cocky) and again, there goes the positive energy. Hell, I am bald and am super white from not swimming, am getting too skinny for my likes (including having the tiniest wrists known to man) yet I STILL know that I am not only attractive (I think I am pretty darn good looking actually), but I know that I am very intelligent, a good friend, and a great mother to my kitty, Panda.
  • Embrace your not-so-fantastic traits. I know that I am overly obsessed with my cat and that I would put him over having a relationship with a guy any day. I would not have it any other way. I get overly-irritated at people for no reason. I guess I am too good at showing how I feel based on my facial expressions, and annoyance is a very common one for me. I will own up to that, but I would never change it (well, I can work on it, I am not ashamed of this personality flaw). I get overstimulated by people when we are inside. Especially in my own house. Every noise bothers me (it seems that I have incredibly good hearing by the way) and I just end up shutting down completely. Outside and with a group of friends, I am perfectly fine. But sometimes I just need to have someone present, but silent. I enjoy the company of others and just them being there makes me feel happy. Words are not always needed. I feel if you are truly comfortable around someone, you can just sit and enjoy each other’s company. I have social anxiety, but who wouldn’t after being taken from one harsh reality to another? I am not as bad as I used to be, but it sometimes gets to me. I am a big flake. This is attributed by my social anxiety for the most part. Sad as that is, but my flaking is never to hurt someone, it is just my brain freaking out on me. I am also very, very, OCD about time. I need to plan everything out and bring every possible thing that we might need for an activity. But that does have a good part, that I am always on time! Hm. What other personality flaws do I have? Well, I get incredibly angry when people complain, mostly about pain or how much their life sucks. Cuz, um, no. Their life does not suck. Everything can always be worse, even in my case. Just be happy with the cards you have been given, and if you aren’t pleased with how your life is going, work on it. Nobody likes a negative Nancy, so just be positive. Also, when  people complain about pain to me on a regular basis and it is not warranted, I will give absolutely no sympathy or empathy. Sorry =P
  • Another thing, do things in your life that if you were to be dying in a month, that you would be proud of the things you have done. Would you be proud of drinking every night til you puke? Would you be proud of constantly fighting with your parents? Would you be proud if you were a bully? Accomplish great things! I am not saying a party once in a while is bad at all, quite the opposite. Have as much fun as you can, but accomplish your goals that you would be proud of sharing with everyone. Make it so that at the funeral, people could say “he worked incredibly hard in math”, “he saved me from being bullied”, “he was such a great football player and was dedicated to the sport”, “he was such a nice guy and no one can say anything bad about him”, “whenever we had problems, we were always able to talk things out and stop fighting”, “he was the best big brother that anyone could ask for”, “he was the best son anyone could ask for”, “he was my best employee, he always helped the customers in a friendly manner and was never late to work”, “he helped out with the community so much, it made a difference in people’s lives”. Life is all about the choices you make, so make the right choice. Make the choice to stand up to a bully, work extra hard in practice, be dedicated to your boyfriend/girlfriend and treat them well, learn how to play that instrument that you have always dreamed about, go the extra distance for a friend in need, be kind to your family, be appreciative of your teachers, do something that makes you happy- cooking, dancing, a new hobby. Play videogames, but also have another hobby that is a little more tangible (sport, job, instrument, help around the house without being asked). I really don’t think any of these things are boring. I always thought it would be fun to learn a new language- I know a few words in Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, but that is about where it goes. Save up your money and go to the concert of your dreams or go take a dream vacation. Set goals and achieve them. Make sure you are happy. I know that I set a lot of goals for myself, and I do achieve them. My best example by far is that I qualified as an All American without my full lung function and cancer already in my body- without even swimming in state! Make reachable, but difficult goals and they will taste all the sweeter when you accomplish them. I promise!
  • Of course, I cannot express this enough, be a good friend and surround yourself with people who are also good friends. Talk things out if there are ever any problems (which, chances are, will happen) and see things from the other person’s point of view. I swear it works and you get a better understanding of your friend and how they tick. If someone does something incredibly deceitful and wrong to you, drop that friend because they are no friend to you. Do not worry about popularity, don’t hang out with a bunch of people who you hate and who hate you back just to be in the in-crowd. It is so not worth it. In the end, popularity gets you nowhere. Being nice actually does. People will want to be around you more and will be nice to you back. Don’t be a kiss-ass, just be genuine and nice. It will make your life so much easier and so much more enjoyable when you spend it with people you care about and who care about you right back. Also, compliment your friends when you truly feel like they deserve a compliment. It is as easy as telling them that they are such a good friend and you are glad that you have met them, to saying that they are attractive , smart, etc. Especially when a friend is down, be nice to them and cheer them up by trying to make them laugh. (One of my catch-phrases from high school swim that I still use today is, “It’s a little nipply outside!”, joking about how when you are in a swimsuit and it is cold outside, your nipples get obviously hard. I also stick out my index fingers and pretend that they are my nipples. It never ceases to make people laugh, and trust me, having the sticking out nipples is a little awkward and embarrassing, but by making a joke about it makes everyone more comfortable about themselves)
  • Another thing that I cannot stress enough, is: stay away from the drama llamas. Seriously, though. They just drag you down and it gets old very fast. This reminds me of the couples that are always extremely public in their constant breakups and makeups. Or if you have Twitter beef with someone- how immature can you be? If you have an issue with someone or someone has an issue with you, plain and simply grow some balls and talk it out. That is not only the easiest, but the best way to solve any problems or any misunderstandings. Social media is no way to air your dirty laundry pretty much every day. It is annoying and draining trying to figure out if people are dating or not dating if they have public breakups and fights publicized. Like, seriously, it makes them sound so immature and so dramatic. If you breakup and makeup every other day and make a big deal about it, chances are that you are not meant for each other. You may love one another very much, but you can never be truly happy if the relationship flip flops so much. As much as I have pretty much no experience dating, I have seen my friends and others enough so that I have a pretty darn clear view of things. Sure, my longest relationship was 3 months when I was a senior in high school. Sure, the most recent guy I dated only lasted 3 weeks (horrible timing, really, that’s the story of my life). However, since I have a good self-worth and I know who I am and what I want in a guy, the last guy I dated and I got along perfectly. We would communicate and were honest with each other about everything, he even asked me questions about “periods” in general, because he was genuinely curious and felt comfortable asking me about this very uncomfortable subject. That is how I feel relationships should be, about communication and understanding (well, as a base, other things are needed of course). So please, stop with the Facebook, Twitter, even real life drama. It is a big waste of time and energy that could be spent having fun and being happy. Just let it sink in and think about it. You will end up agreeing with me.
  • Another thing, do not be judgmental of people so easily. Yeah, a first impression is needed and we always judge by what we see, but there is normally more substance to a person than just the outside. Give someone a chance to be your friend, do not decide that they are not “cool” enough for you if you haven’t even spent time with them. If you do talk to them for a little while and THEN decide that you two do not click as friends, then that is perfectly fine. It is definitely a “don’t judge a book by its cover” situation, but I don’t expect you to not judge them by the outward appearance. Hell, I do. I judge people on the clothes they wear, their eyebrows, and their teeth. Oh, and shoulders (it’s a swimmer thing). But that does not mean that I will outcast someone if they do not look like my ideal person. Normally you end up finding things in common and that this, maybe strange looking person, really is awesome and you share a lot of the same interests. Just food for thought!
  • Um, if I haven’t already said this, be grateful for what you have. Sure, things could be better, but they could also be worse. Be grateful that you have pretty eyes, that you have an amazing pet, that you have good looking legs, that you are smart, that you can write poems, that you are athletic, that you have a normal family bond, that you have great friends, that you are alive. That is the biggest thing, be happy that you are alive and well (maybe not in perfect health, but you are indeed alive if you are reading my blog). That is what I ask of you.

I am sure that I will think of other things that I need to add to this list of “Lauren Lessons” that I have already. You can learn a lot from people who have gone through hardships and kept their heads up. You can learn a lot from your parents, grandparents, and even friends. So please read and really let what I have said sink in and take it to heart. And mostly, be happy. That is the best feeling in the world. So do things that make you happy, be with people who make you happy, be happy with yourself.

I will keep you guys updated on everything that is going on, and my breathing is fine and I can walk. I am not a goner just yet! (I feel like it will be a long while before anything gets super critical in my health) So if you could, as much as I do not believe in God, but I do believe in the power of wishful thinking and the power of prayers. So if you could please, please hope, pray, wish, have good thoughts about me, anything that can help. I would really appreciate it. I need all the support I can get.

Oh, and if you could please forward my blog to all of your friends, family, teammates, coworkers, etc that would be great. I am trying to reach out and touch as many people as possible. I would love to share my knowledge, my battle, and my thoughts with as many people as I can. I need the public to be aware that childhood cancer is deadly and honestly, there are never as good of cure rates because it is hard to do a clinical trial on a child. I am at that awkward stage, but I do have pediatric cancer. Please spread the word about pediatric cancer and my blog. I also have about 500 business cards with my name, email address, my slogan “Raising Awareness. Changing Perspectives.”, my blog (TheNotDyingGirl.com), my phone number, and another message that states, “Talk about it. Make Childhood Cancer a household name.” I would really appreciate it if some of my friends/ acquaintances could get a few from me and hand them out to people who would actually read about it and spread the word. I want Pediatric Cancer to have a name as big as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is actually in September, but guaranteed no  one knew anything about it, and our ribbon is gold by the way, my specific one for sarcoma is yellow) so that the research and funding is given to where it needs to be put the most- into the world’s future, the kids.

So I am done for now, I need to go to bed and change, because I am sooo hot and sweaty with a blanket covering my legs, on top of that blanket is my equally hot laptop, and I am wearing pajama pants and a sweatshirt. Yeah, it is time for me to go.

Here is my contact information:

Lauren McCullough

@facebook: laurenmccullough2

@twitter: swimchickLM

@instagram: swimchicklauren

@vine: swimchicklauren

email: shashimi1992@yahoo.com

My First Summer Vacation! ( unless you count my weekly stays at the hospital)

I guess I have a lot to catch up on in these past two weeks to fill everyone in on how my life has been! Seeing that I stopped after I announced that I would be visiting my “husband” in the Navy in San Diego. Well, I went! It was an awesome trip to say the least. I drove up there with DeAngela and my brother Mark. We first stopped by Egor’s house so that his mom would give us some homemade Russian pastry- the outside looked and tasted kind of like a donut while the middle of it had lamb and cilantro. Needless to say, it was delicious! Once we said our goodbyes to Egor’s parents, Mark started out driving. As anyone who has driven with me recently knows, I am extremely anal about how others drive. I am by far the worst back-seat driver you will ever find. It happened very abruptly to me, and suddenly I get more nervous when people drive. Then again, I really am not used to being around people as much as I have been in the past. Somehow, I think I just need to learn how to behave around people again- something I never thought I would have to do, considering that I am judgmental of how I act. I think something just kind of clicked this time in my head, making me scared of potentially getting in an accident and dying. I think it is something that is subconscious in my brain that just makes me nervous when other people drive. So, yes, I do order around people when they drive instead of me.

Ok, so after four hours of driving, Mark and I decided that he would pull into a Jack In The Box so we could get some food in our starving tummies and so that I could take over driving for the last four hours of the trip. And boy was I wrong when I thought the drive was only going to take 8 hours. It took 9-10 hours to finally get to the Navy base in Point Loma. I blame LA for all of that traffic, boy, it was miserable! I decided right then and there that I would never live there. (If so I would need to have a chauffeur because there is no way I would have the patience to drive there myself). But luckily, we did get to San Diego all in one piece, and only had to fill up once- but I am very sure that my amazing 2012 Honda Accord (Helga) would be able to make it there without having to fill up. That was extremely convenient so we did not have to waste any of our time driving and could spend it on visiting. We did have a few navigational issues, but we did get there nevertheless.

We met Egor and Aiyanna, his girlfriend, at the Starbucks across the street from the Naval Base. I will be honest, I was a little mad to see that he had brought her with him right away, I was hoping we (DeAngela, Egor, and I) would be able to hang out by ourselves the first day, but that didn’t happen. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I met Aiyanna. I found out that she is actually really pretty- she just isn’t the most photogenic in the pictures of her (yes I stalk people, that is normal and necessary lol). She also was in shape and very down to earth, so I was happy that Egor had picked such a nice girl.

We were told to follow behind Egor to get onto the Naval Base because of security reasons. When we all got in, we went to the lobby to get our room. By the way, it was $59 a night for a 2-room, 1-bathroom. The bathroom had so much space!!! It had one sink at either end of the bathroom, and had mirrors for each sink, it was all so nice. Now there was only one bed, so Mark had to sleep on the couch. He was under the impression that the couch was a futon, but that was not the case. So I gave him one of our many extra pillows and gave him a blanket that was originally on the foot of Dee’s and my bed. The bed that Dee and I got to sleep in the whole time was an amazing queen sized bed, which was perfect because we never ended up kicking or hitting each other during the night, even though I apparently have an evil laugh in my sleep and play with my hair. I believe it too! Lately I have been sleeping with my mouth open, so it is very possible that I talk and make weird noises, I do normally wake up from them though, when I am in the car. Oh, and this bed was literally the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in! I really need to see what mattress they use, because I would fall asleep a lot faster in one of those!

So once we figured out our room, put stuff in the refrigerator, opened our windows to let the heat out, found there was no thermostat in the room at all, our group  needed to figure out what we should eat for dinner. I was really craving agedashi tofu (deep-fried tofu) and sushi, so I heavily suggested that we go to a hibachi bar. We chose one that was only a few miles away and that was not super expensive, even though I was tempted to go to Benihana’s, I was responsible for feeding Mark and DeAngela, so that would come up to be way too expensive. But we all did enjoy our stay at the hibachi bar/grill. We did not have seats up at the grill because the wait would be too long, so we got a nice booth for the five of us. Tons of sushi was ordered, rice was ordered, miso soup was ordered, and my brother ordered the only thing he would eat on the menu- steak. And even though I had tons of food leftover, I ordered chocolate mochi ice cream. It was pretty darn good! Aiyanna was not too happy with it, she was confused about the mochi and did not like the feeling of it. I was happy eating it though! So once we paid our bill, we were driven back to the hotel by Egor. I offered my car for all of us to use during the trip because not only does it get great gas mileage, it also has enough room for all five of us. I let Egor drive my car because I trust him with my life, and know that he is a competent driver and he knows the area better than I do by far!

We then got ready to go to this country club called Stampede, where we would spend the rest of our night. Well, we got there at 11pm and left at probably 12:30am because we were all getting tired (especially me!) and Mark was moping around, and not to mention that the line dancing ended up getting harder and harder up to the point that I could no longer go with the flow and try to copy the dance moves of the experienced line-dancers. 

On our way back, only Egor and I were awake. Clearly, they were all pooped. I was not going to fall asleep because I never let the driver be the only one awake at night- I feel the need to keep them occupied so they don’t get too tired. So we talked and kinda caught up some more, which was really nice. I hadn’t seen my best friend in like a month! But (SPOILER ALERT!) Egor and Aiyanna are going to be visiting Elk Grove for a weekend next week. I am so excited, and by talking on the phone with Egor’s mother, Irina, she is extremely excited that he is going to visit as well.

We had a late start to the day on Saturday. We had to sleep off the dancing and all of the time spent in the car. Our plan was to go to the beach, because we all know I need my sun, especially since I am not really able to swim anymore. We left at around 2 to go to the beach, and to our dismay, there were no parking spots whatsoever. So Egor ended up dropping of Dee and Mark and I so we could get a spot. He and Aiyanna would be driving together to try to find a spot. We had no idea how long they would take- and boy, did they take forever. We all sat on the beach tanning for maybe 30 minutes before I decided that DeAngela and I should go check out the beach shops. And boy, did I score!!! I got this adorable bright pink tummy-showing shirt, a cute beach hat to make sure I don’t get sunburnt, a cute pair of earrings, a mug for my mom, a shirt for my dad, a shirt for me, a shirt for my brother, a shirt for Dee, some lime coconut patties, and my first lighter. Everything was so amazing and so cheap, I could never get bored in San Diego!!! Eventually Egor called us and told us to meet him outside the store, so then we made our way back to the beach. A few minutes after that, three of Egor’s friends came to join us. I had just met them prior to us leaving to the beach, so it is not like we were true strangers. The guys played football for a while before heading out into the water. I am not a fan of cold water to say the least, so I only went down to about my mid thighs. Everyone except for Egor’s friends went farther than I did, so I ended up getting to know these fellow military men. They were all so nice and funny! I did not feel awkward around them at all, and one of the guys was pretty darn cute to me… He was wearing glasses, had a Florida tattoo, and happened to come from Florida- which is awesome to me! I love Florida more than any other state, so I was a little jealous.

Eventually we all left the beach because it was getting cold. We all stopped to get something to eat for dinner. I ended up going to Panera Bread and got some pasta and a really nasty lemon orzo soup. Gross. Once we returned to the hotel room, everyone took a shower and was ready for a relaxing movie night. Egor brought over his PS3 so we could watch movies in the crazy big screen in our room. We first started with The Evil Dead (my request!) and then Dark Skies (which I had already seen). By the end of Dark Skies, Aiyanna and DeAngela were passed out. So Egor took her to her dorm and then came back to finish the movie. Once it was done, we all went to bed.

I was extremely tired the next day (Sunday) and I decided to stay in the hotel while the others went rock wall climbing. Yeah, my little muscles would be so pooped that I would fall asleep on the floor after it! I made the right choice, because I wanted to be well-rested before going out and walking around Old Town San Diego. It was full of Mexican heritage, which was actually really cool! I got a cool scorpion necklace to put on my mirror on my car, a cute bobbly turtle which reminds me of the ones I had when I was little. I also got my dad another shirt, it was such a good looking shirt. We all walked around the town and saw many booths and cool stores, as well as beautiful restaurants. We sat down at a cute restaurant and chose to sit inside, as it was getting a little chilly and windy outside. Or as I put it, nipply. (my swim teams would so get it). We all ordered enchiladas while my brother ordered tacos. I was not pleased with my enchilada at all, as it tasted pretty sour, and I made that same dish when I was a freshman in high school and executed it much better! But the service was absolutely spectacular!! Our waiter was so nice and always made sure that our glasses were full. And at the end of the dinner, he took off everyone’s’ drink orders off their bills. He said that he never makes those in the military pay for their drinks. I thought that it was so nice, and he was actually sincerely nice, unlike those who are being fake about it. So that was nice!

We then went back to our hotel room and watched some tv for a long while, and then Aiyanna and Egor left so we could all get some sleep because I wanted us to leave at either 8 or 9 sharp in the morning. I really did not want to get into the traffic from last time! So we all had to say goodbye to each other, even though I will be seeing them in another weekend, but we just had a great mini-vacation. It was much needed! 

I started out driving (after I got starbucks) and only drove for two hours until I was so tired that I could hardly even keep my eyes open, so I had Mark take over the wheel. Eventually, after a long while at the wheel, we went to a McDonald’s so we could fuel up and go to the bathroom. And there was the rudest Asian lady ever there. Like, ever. She would always push by people and not say excuse me or apologize, and she was blocking the entrance to the door in the beginning because she did not know what the hell she was doing. After all the eating was done, I had to ask Mark to continue on driving because I was shaking all over. This was probably due to morphine, or lack there of. Either way, he was not a happy camper, but there was nothing he could do about it. We dropped DeAngela off and then went home. 

I will be honest, I did absolutely nothing during the week I got back from my vacation, I needed to rest from all of the activities that we had done.

However, it was one of my swim friend Matt’s 23rd birthday, and I was invited to go, so I had to go especially considering how many other swim friends would be there. I was soo excited to be going, because, I will be honest, I never get to see them anymore and I miss them. But that night was so much fun! Got to see a lot of the swimmers, played water pong and miserably lost (I did get two cups though!) and just kind of hung out and talked to my friends who I haven’t seen in a while, and I was so used to seeing them every day. I finally got to catch up with Katie, as she moved to Florida with her husband, and I needed to be filled in on the details of moving and living in Florida. I also got to catch up with Blake, who was unable to go to my wedding as he was in Chicago. I also got to see Dom, Michael Billey, Shannon (my bp partner), Erin, Ella, Aly, Charlie, Colette, Julio, and Cheyenne. We all went inside so that water pong could be played much more easily. Luckily for me, I reminded Steven to come to the party, and he came, much to everyone’s delight! We ended up having a really deep conversation, and I will be honest, I have not had one of those in a really long time, it was nice! Then we all went back inside (we were just chatting in my car) to join the rest of the group. After a while, it started dwindling down, and the people who stayed ended up watching the worst SciFi movie I had ever seen. The graphics were god-awful. The Yeti thing was basically looking like a sorry excuse for a yeti- it had the body of a big gorilla and had the face of a rat, with horns of mountain rams. It was so ridiculous, but we just had to see what happened in the end! So once that was done (at 3am) I drove back home. I was craving some Wendy’s, but found out it was closed. Then I found out there are no 24 hour fast food restaurants anywhere near my house- and there was no way I was going to go to Wendy’s. I ended up scrounging for food at my Grandparent’s house. I stayed with them and chatted for about an hour before I hit the road to go back to my mom’s house, I was not going to deal with traffic, and I did not.

So basically all of this week I haven’t been doing anything, but I will go out and walk my dog tomorrow and hopefully cook something nice… I need my exercise and one of my dogs needs it too.

So it is pretty darn late, so I am going to leave you with some pictures!

Image

 Image

 

Image

ImageImageImageMy chemo drink sucks!Image

 

 

 

Image

As Summer is Winding Down…

So in case some of you were wondering why it has taken me a while to post another blog, I was not feeling well at all due to radiation- yes, radiation again. This time it was about my throat being raw and burnt over and over again through my 10 rounds of radiation. Literally swallowing my own spit was excruciatingly painful, so imagine how bad drinking anything, taking pills, and eating felt. It was miserable. I was prescribed some “Magic Mouthwash” to numb my mouth and throat, however it literally lasted two minutes and was not a very good relief for me at all, I still was hardly eating and drinking, and pills were so painful. I had to admit to my case manager at Kaiser that the medicine was not working at all and literally an hour later, she came back from a meeting and called me telling me that one of my oncologists put in an order for liquid morphine, and that it would be ready to pick up. Much to my relief, the liquid morphine worked pretty much right away. My parents could tell that I was feeling so much better and that I was happy to be able to eat mushy food, such as mashed potatoes, with more ease and less pain than I was in previously. 

Last Sunday, one of my friends offered to get me a photoshoot to help me with my bucket list. Danielle King, my friend, is also a model so she had no problem finding people willing to take a part of my journey.  Shelly Charshaf Lange,Gabriela MichanieLaurie Hunt TheriaultRobin Hagy and Jennifer DuVoe were my photographers and Melissa Vandemark did my makeup. I have to say, I had so much fun getting all dolled up for the photoshoot, as the only other time I had a real photoshoot was at my wedding. I modeled in three different outfits, my first being an animal print nightgown. I felt so pretty in it, and took some amazing pictures on an outside bed (yes, it was pretty epic and I was jealous of the backyard where we were shooting) and on a couch that was outside. Oh, and did I mention that DeAngela came with me and also got to do some modeling with me for best friend pictures? Yeah, that made it even more fun! My second outfit was a maxi dress, which fit me really well. I took some pictures on stairs, on a cute swing, and standing with DeAngela. My favorite part of the shoot by far was being in the pool modeling. Naturally, being a swimmer, I feel the most comfortable in the water. I also feel confident in the water and I know how my body moves in the water and how to manipulate it well. What made the shoot unique was that I was in the pool working with a sheer netting that looked gorgeous in the water. It was such a boost of confidence seeing my pictures!

Oh, and I guess I got a little ahead of myself. On the Saturday (not this weekend, but last weekend), I went floating with my friend Micaela from my Roots of Hell class at DVC. It was really ironic that she would be spending quite a bit of time in Sacramento when we both were going to school in the Concord area. I was originally going to meet up with one of my friends, Jacob, from my high school swim team, but I did not communicate with him that I would be making it to his 22nd birthday celebration on the river. I got to the raft rental place and met up with Micaela, and could not find my friends anywhere, so we were going to rent a raft ourselves and float anyways. What we were not prepared for was the price of renting a raft. It was $60 for a 4-person raft, along with a $100 deposit for the raft. Now, we were not going to pay that much to rent a raft for just two people, not to mention that we would not be able to carry it all the way down to the river. We were wandering around the start of the river for a good thirty minutes trying to figure out what to do. And I am sure that you readers know I have a sense of adventure, due to my multiple lectures about my jumping off the patio stunt, so it should come to no surprise to you that I jumped off of a 20 foot bridge into the river. Yeah, I am pretty savage. I only had a little trouble with the current because I had flip flops still on and had to get them with my hands to swim well. A little while after, I was a little more dry and still in my bikini, I decided that we just had to ask to get a ride with someone on their rafts. Micaela was a little too shy to do the asking, so I proposed that we ask this one group that looked like they had plenty of rafts and could fit two petite girls. Micaela was unsure because the guys were “hot” (and I would agree, quite a few of them were pretty attractive) but I asked them anyways. The guys said it was not up to them, but to another guy, so I had to wait about a minute until the guy came around, and I asked him, and of course he said yes. I mean, Micaela and I are cute with lean bodies, so I figured they wouldn’t mind us riding with them. There were literally 9 guys in the group with just us two girls. I was not intimidated at all because I can always get to chatting no problem, the hardest part for me is first approaching someone. Turns out that some of the guys graduated the same class as I did, but from different schools in Sacramento, and some of the guys had already finished college, so they were in the perfect, college-aged group for us to find. We floated with them for literally 5 hours. I only got annoyed with one of the guys, and he was pretty much white-boy-wasted. He was hitting on Micaela and I a little bit too much, constantly splashing and shooting water at us. Not to mention, he did not know when to quit playing around. Maybe I would have been a little more tolerant of his behavior if he would have been attractive, but unfortunately for him, he was the oddball out of the good-looking group. But at least he was harmless! We had a stereo blasting music all of the way, until the guy I mentioned splashed it with water repeatedly while trying to get some people wet. We took a little break on a beach to jump off of a rock and snack on some chips. We encountered a guy who was clearly not in the right state of mind, as he was dancing and saying things that did not make any sense. And he was bizarre looking: he must have once been fat because he had a lot of extra skin around his midsection. After jumping off of the rock a few times and witnessing this lady freak out because she thought that someone was going to drown. She was really overreacting to the whole situation, especially considering that the area where the guys were was shallow enough for them to stand, even with the current. So we left and kept on going for a while, and stopped at this rope swing. Normally I would be all over the opportunity to go on a rope swing and jump into the water, but this one was super sketchy. There was little margin for error, and we saw plenty of people eat dirt. I would not have even been tall enough to get a running start, I would have had to be pushed, and the waterline was really low, which made us even more nervous. Only two or three of the guys in our group went off of the rope swing because it just was not safe at all. So we left and then some of the guys saw their friends on this island, so we tried to get over there. Micaela and one of the other guys swam to the island, while the rest of us were trying so hard against the current to get our raft to the island, we ended up pretty far from where we wanted to land. Not only that, but Micaela was nowhere to be found. This really scared me, and I felt so bad for the guys because we were just hitchhikers whom they had picked up, and this must have them worried too. We looked everywhere on the island and around the beach, and I was starting to fear for the worst, well not really, I was told by the guy who swam with her to the island said she started swimming back for us, so we all figured she was further downstream. Just as we were leaving, someone says “Hey, there is your friend, Lauren.” The first thing that I thought was, “No, stop kidding around, she is so not in the bushes over there.” And to my relief, she was there! Turns out that she had accidentally followed the wrong raft group because she thought that they were our newfound friends, but no, it was a group of Asian chicks. So Micaela ended up walking all the way back to us, which took thirty minutes. After that we decided against having any more pitstops! We all had a ton of fun throughout the day, the boys were drinking beer and I was drinking water, as I absolutely hate beer! I finally got more of my tan back, but along with that I got sunburned really badly on my hands/wrists, my feet, the top of my nose, about one centimeter of my forehead, a little on my chest and back, a slight bit on my legs, and worst of all on the top of my head. So now I am peeling all over, and I find my head peeling really embarrassing because it looks like I have really bad dandruff, which is not cute!

I had chemo all last week, and it was not a very good week for me due to my throat hurting. I did puke on that Monday, but that was surely due to anxiety from my earlier stresses in the day. So I will let you know what stressed me out to the point of a breakdown. I went into the clinic just go get a checkup and pick up my chemo drugs for the week. When I got down to the downstairs pharmacy, I was pleased to see my name on the board already. Too bad that they only gave me two out of my three medications. So the pharmacist said she had to get a hard copy from my doctor to fill my prescription. (What?) So I went up 15 minutes later and she told me the same thing, she needed the hard copy from my doctor. I was getting really tired of all of this, so I went back up to the counter and saw a different tech. She gave me AMBIEN. Now, I asked for just my chemo drugs. Everyone knows what ambien is, it makes you sleep, and I certainly did not ask for that drug, so I was pissed. So I had to explain, yet again, that I needed my liquid chemo drug. They kept on making excuses so i started to get really upset because I just wanted to go home. I started tearing up and crying, and made my way upstairs to talk to my doctor to try to find out what was going on. He told me that the downstairs pharmacy needed to send someone up to the upstairs pharmacy to get my chemo drug. The liquid chemo drug was made upstairs and was waiting for me. My doctor apologized for the pharmacy issues, even though it was not his fault. So I went back downstairs and made my plea again, this time I was still tearing up and I was aggravated, giving the techs attitude because they were not listening to me at all. I used aggressive hand signals and whatever else I could so that they would get the picture. Eventually, two hours later, I talked to a different pharmacist (my fourth one I believe) and he actually looked and made sure that something was being done about my chemo. He said to wait just a few more minutes, and that my medication was right there and they were labeling it. And he was right, he called me up a few minutes later and I got my drug. Finally! When I got home, I was really hungry, but I was way too drained and stressed so I took a very long nap, which is what I needed. Panda kept me company throughout my whole nap. Later in the night when I was trying to take my liquid chemo, I felt the urge to puke and had to run to the toilet. Yeah, not fun! And it was even more not fun because of my throat issues and lack of food in my stomach, so basically there was a bunch of acid coming up. But at least I was not nauseous throughout the whole chemo treatment.

Last weekend was really rough for me. I was in so much pain, had the shakes, would sweat profusely- especially at night, was nauseous, and had abdominal pain. Turns out all of this was because I was going through withdrawal from BOTH my liquid morphine and methadone, which I had stopped cold turkey. So I had to call my nurse practitioner, Tamara, and told her how bad I was feeling. So she kind of slapped me on my wrists and told me that I cannot stop methadone cold turkey. So she made me start back on methadone and morphine right away. I immediately felt 1000x better after taking my liquid morphine. Even my demeanor was changed. I had felt like crying just five minutes before, and then I felt energized and perked up and got out of my bad mood. My dad came over to take me to get my blood drawn and then took me to get some weed to help me eat. (I weighed in at 116, which was troubling for both myself and them) So I have to say, I am not intimidated to get marijuana by myself. My dad was not allowed in the room where all of the products were anyways. The lady who helped me out with my first-time purchases was absolutely amazing. She gave me the types that will make me hungry, and told me the difference between sativas and indigas/os; one is for during the day use and the other helps with falling asleep. I ended up getting a little bit of both kinds, and also got a vaporizer pen (which is awesome and looks techy as it has a usb drive) that uses oil. After the trip there, I went to a smoke shop, again, with my dad, to pick out a pipe of some sort. When we got there, to my surprise, I saw my old swimming buddy Andrey and his friend Hunter. I am very sure they were shocked to see me go into the smoke shop with my dad, so that was hilarious. I ended up choosing a small water pipe that looks like a snake, so I named it The Green-Eyed Beast. It is pretty and sparkly and shiny!

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to Skype with the one and only Gordon Ramsay. When I was first told that my cancer was terminal, my social worker got me hooked up with The Dream Foundation, an organization that grants wishes for those of all ages who are going through life-threatening diseases (or for people who have terminal diseases). Kind of like Make-A-Wish-Foundation, except they have an age limit of 17, so I was never eligible for a wish granted by them to begin with. Luckily, for my first diagnosis I was granted my wish to go to the Olympic Swim Trials in Nebraska by Kids Wish Network. Ok, I had to give a little back story, now back to Chef Ramsay. We Skyped at 9 in the morning, and I was full of nervous energy before I got to talking to him. Once I saw him, my anxiety was put to rest. Gordon Ramsay introduced me to his wife and two of his daughters, and said that his whole family are supporters of me, which I thought was the sweetest thing that someone could say. We talked for a total of 23 minutes, and I only know that it was this long because we recorded it to keep it in our memories, and as well to send a copy to The Dream Foundation. Honestly, when I was talking to Ramsay, it was like he was a regular person, he is that down to earth. We talked about his shows, and he asked me who I thought was going to win Masterchef, and I told him the annoying chick, to where he laughed and told me that everyone was annoying. I finally remembered her name was Krissy, and he agreed with me that she is annoying, but she can really cook. I asked him what his favorite show that he participates in was, and he told me Great Escapes, as he was living in an Indian tribe for two months and learned to cook their food with them. Ramsay also stated that he had cooked for the troops in Iraq to support them, and stated that the other food they had to eat was just awful, so I know the soldiers appreciated a meal from such a renowned chef. We ended up laughing about a bunch of different things, such as when he smashes an undercooked or severely overcooked piece of fish with his palm- sending bits of fish flying everywhere. We think a lot alike, such as our frustrations that all of the competitors on Hell’s Kitchen smoke, and the smoke totally kills taste buds! I thought it was amazing that he brought it up, cuz I always think the same thing. Great minds think alike I guess! Since my wish was to have Gordon cook for me, he said he plans on getting that done soon, oh say, in September for an episode of Hell’s Kitchen! He will give me a table in the kitchen (I believe) and will personally cook whatever I want him to cook for me. That for sure is going to be duck, because that is my absolute favorite protein. And yes, it will be during a taping of Hell’s Kitchen, so I will be on film. I hope to further reach out to people that there is childhood cancer and to be aware of all of these deadly diseases. With so many little children dying from leukemia, brain tumors, osteosarcomas, there is just no way that we should be overlooked by society. Childhood cancer needs more recognition, such as having an awareness month just like breast cancer does. I did research on sarcomas, and they have a much higher percentage of deaths than breast cancer does. Just saying the hard facts, so I want more research to be done to help these poor kids who haven’t even been given a chance to have children of their own. I mean, I am very sure that at this point I will not be able to give birth to a child of my own, however, I plan on beating this cancer and being able to go back to school, having a legit wedding (sorry Egor lol but I doubt the ceremony will be nearly as good as ours was) and then adopt a child. I still have plans, I would not say that my plans are dead, I would say that they are just being put on hold for a while. I am sure a lot of people are wondering how I feel about seeing my friends go off to college while I am staying at home. Well, I am honestly extremely jealous. I want to go to school so bad, and it infuriates me when people constantly skip classes and come late to class every day. Like, you are lucky to even be in school, whether it is a community college, university, state college, or a prestigious private college.  That does not make a difference to me. You are bettering yourself nevertheless. I am going to have to find ways to keep myself busy during the day. Maybe I will volunteer an old folks home, write the book that everyone is begging me to write: How I Planned My Wedding in Three Weeks… Two Spent in the Pediatric Oncology Ward. Yeah, I might have to work on that title, but it really does capture everything! So if you have any ideas about a better name for my book, please contact me and tell me! It would be greatly appreciated.

Today I received a lovely box in the mail containing clothing from Hollister. I was so happy when it came, because I wanted to have new clothes to wear down to San Diego for the weekend. Yes, I am going on a roadtrip with my brother and DeAngela down to San Diego on Friday morning and then leave San Diego on Monday morning. We all really want to see my “husband”, my best friend, really badly. We haven’t seen him since the day after we got “married”. So that was in July. It is about time for us to see him again. We are so excited, and I get to take the roadtrip off of my bucketlist! Yay! Egor’s mom is going to cook some Russian food for us to take to Egor, and I know he will be so happy with them! She is so thoughtful and nice. (Oh, and to add to my “mother-in-law”s total awesomeness, she brought over sushi and cakes for me when I wasn’t feeling so good. It was just the nicest thing ever!

Please Note: Egor and I are not an actual couple. We were not, and are not dating. He married me (unofficially of course) because my prognosis was so bad. He and I are just best friends, and both of us love it that way. So yes, I do love him, but its the friend/family love for him. And he feels the same way. I just had to clear that out for some people who misinterpreted the whole situation. Egor is just that great of a person to marry me in a time of great need, I owe a lot to him because of this. So I am going to try to make it up to him by letting him be my dinner “date” to Hell’s Kitchen, besides, it will be so fun and I will get to spend time with one of my best friends who I don’t get to see as much.

So I guess I am going to go to bed now, Ive spent a good 1 1/2 hours writing and I am going to need some sleep. I think I need to be pestered to write here more often! But until next time!

Thank you for reading my blog. If you like it then please subscribe to it, and please just try to get this blog out to as many people as possible. So if you could share this on your facebook, that would be so appreciated. Or post it on twitter, and I think I am going to have to get one to help spread awareness of childhood cancer and how dangerous it is. Is it considered being conceited if I want to become instagram, twitter, and wordpress popular? That way I would be able to reach many more people! I kind of would like to be a voice of childhood cancer. That is a good goal, I believe. Oh, and my goal is to try to get into a trial study next year, so hopefully that will get rid of my cancer! So my goals are to be a spokesperson of childhood and young adult cancer; last but certainly not least, I want to kick my ewing’s sarcoma cancerous tumors’ asses! Wahoo I am tough so that is a reachable goal!Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Back to Reality

Sorry for not having been on for so long, and I really do mean it this time. I have worried some people who do not even know me, but I will let you all know that I am alive and fine, I have just been a little hermit lately. 

So why have I been a hermit lately? I can never know for sure, but I have a feeling that it has been because of the depression that just strings along with being diagnosed with cancer- whether it is terminal or not does not change the feeling of wanting to be alone. I felt this the first time I went through cancer in my thigh, I just did not want to talk to anyone and was not interested in texting people or calling people back. I am the same way now. It has nothing to do with who the person it is who I will reply to, I just don’t touch my phone unless I am browsing the internet and whatnot. Ok, I have made a few exceptions to like one select person, but I have been very hard to get a hold of. I guess it is just a little rut that I am in, and I will get over it soon enough, just as I have done in the past. So please, take no offence if I do not respond to your texts or calls or emails, I feel like being a hermit!

Ok, I guess I should update you guys on my medical issues. Even though my cancer prognosis is terminal, there is no longer a date to go with it. No more “3 weeks to 3 months” or even “up to six months”. I will know when and if my time is coming down based by how I feel and how well I can breath. I have been very stable when it comes to my oxygen saturation level has been far above 90% (if you get below that, then you would be wearing tubes to help get you more oxygen. My percentages are around 98%, which is very safe, and that is what keeps me feeling good, if I know that my oxygen saturation level is good, and has been staying good, that means that the radiation is really killing the tumors around the lung. I will always be honest with this blog, and as of now, I would say I have a 5% chance of living, Even with that number being made up by myself, I think it is accurate and it can keep my hopes up that I will be able to go on and live.

Because, I really want to live. (this part is going to be emotional- warning!) I want to be able to actually swim at state and be the best on the DVC swim team. And lets be honest, I would have been captain if I were actually going back to school. I sure hope that I can, because I want to swim, I want to strengthen my relationships with the swimmers I met last year. I love my team, and I need to spend so much more time with them, and to spend time actually competing with them. Gosh, I really want to swim. 

I have had many bad side effects from chemo that I drink. Yes, it is as gross as it sounds. I have to take 2 pills and then gulp down chemo mixed with margarita mix and raspberry lemonade. This chemo made my appetite go to zero. I would not want any food and I did not feel even hungry. I lost a lot of weight. Like, 7-10 lbs of weight. Right now, as we speak, I weigh 119.5. I am normally at least 125. So now I am about to get into the medicinal marijuana industry. Yes, you did read that right. Lauren is officially going to be a pot head. But honestly, without it I would not eat at all. I really need to get my card and everything, Ive been putting it off because Ive been in a rut and have not been wanting to do anything or go anywhere.

Oh, and I have had 9 out of my 10 radiations and I have horrible side effects. The target is raised higher towards my esophagus to try to get a tumor that is near my shoulder. So basically my throat hurts so bad because it is burnt. It hurts to swallow in general, not to mention swallowing water hurts, and eating is extremely difficult. I have to take this “magic mouthwash” which honestly does not do the magic it needs to do. It lasts for like 2 minutes of sorta numbness, but doesn’t hit exactly where I need the numbness. So again, I am losing weight. And I actually want to eat this time so that makes it much more annoying. I am craving “Moose Munch” which is caramel corn with chocolate… YUM! But most of all, I really want to eat the Reeses’ Puffs that are in my pantry. I want those so bad, I can almost taste it. Too bad that would tear up my burnt throat almost as much as Cap’n Crunch. 

Ok so how about some good news? I went to the bay area to go to what was supposed to be a rager swim party, but it turned into a kickback. I was actually really glad that a lot of people flaked, because there was absolutely no drama between anyone in the group, and the few of us had a lot of fun and bonded. We played some water pong, and I must say, Steven and I made quite a team! The other people who were there was Dom and his girlfriend Shannon, Tyler, Alexa and her friend, Jose, and Matt and Julio for a little bit. We ended up cooking a bomb pasta with white sauce (made by Steven) and caramelized polish sausage (done by myself). It was so good, I swear Steven has the best kitchen ever filled with everything you could ever use in making a dish. I would be cooking all day there.

The day after the kickback, I went to swim with dolphins. It was a whole lot of fun, but it was a little bit of a short ride. We put on wetsuits and got into a pool with two dolphins. I got to ride one, and man, she decided to go fast when it came to me, which was awesome!

So my last day of radiation is tomorrow, and to celebrate I am going to be bartending in an actual bar! I am going to learn how to make drinks and serve them up, I am very excited for this, cuz I have always wanted to know how to make good drinks to impress my friends. A lot of my babysitting coop family members are going to be there as well, so even more of a reason to be excited.

Also, on Sunday, I will be doing a photoshoot with one of my lovely model friends, Danielle. If they can make me look as fantastic as she does (even though she is gorgeous without trying) I will be very excited. I have kind of always wanted to do a photoshoot, but never had the opportunity to do so, and now, well I guess that will be taken care of.

I also did start an OKCupid account, which is a dating site, because there arent exactly many ways that I can meet guys at this point, and I would love to date around and meet new people and just have a lot of fun. I did end up going on a movie date, and we were supposed to hang out the next day, however he had to cancel. Then the next day, we planned on hanging out again, and he totally blew me off and flaked. I have not heard from him since, but it is his loss by far! Shows his immaturity anyways. I havent been on that site in a few days, even though I am talking to some really cool guys.. its just me being a little hermit again…

But I did start writing again, so hey, maybe I will slip out of these antisocial ways soon!

My Day of Pampering!

Today I was woken up, not by my mom, but by my butthead of a cat, Panda. He was in my room at about 9 in the morning and was jumping on my bed and playing with some cords that are hanging off of a metal drawer that my mom has set up for important documents in the corner of my room. He probably played in my room for thirty minutes before becoming bored and leaving. I then actually got up at around 10:30 and promptly sat on the couch due to my burning esophagus. I caught up on the latest episode of “Catfish”, and again, was not surprised when yet another person had been led on through the internet. Man, are they dense! 

DeAngela came over at around 11 and we kind of just sat around watching tv, including my favorite daytime tv shows, “The Chew” and of course, “The Jerry Springer Show”. Yeah, I am so not afraid to admit that I watch that show. It is full of trashy people and ratchets, and I must say that it makes me feel so much better about myself! I am embarrassed to say that I do compare myself to these people though. While sitting on the couch I got quite a few phone calls, so I was feeling pretty darn popular. I believe the first one was from my case manager, Shelly. We were talking about my issue with my esophagus. She immediately sent for a medication to be filled for me at my closest pharmacy to try to alleviate my pain. My mom then called and basically told me exactly what Shelly had literally said minutes before. Then I had a call from the owner of Mikuni’s. This surprised me, and we talked for a little bit and he said that he was forwarding my wish for sushi at my wedding to his marketing team, so I am hopeful that I will get top-notch sushi for my big day (okay, mine and Egor’s big day). I also got a call from my social worker, Troy, to kind of touch base with me for my hospice care. At 3:30, Dee left for what I thought was running errands. I would later find out that is was part of a sinister plan that was in the making (okay, not sinister, but I believe it brings in some suspense).

My mom came home at 4:10ish to take me to my spa day. When we got there, I was surprised to see quite a few familiar faces at the salon waiting for me with balloons, champagne, and tiaras. All in all, the people who were there were Kevin, DeAngela, Sydney, Eden, Rebecca, Ken, Susan, my mom, and then me! The salon name is EllaBlue, and I was astounded by the generosity of the owner, Julie. She offered any and every service for my mom and I, for free. I got a manicure and a pedicure, my eyebrows waxed for the first time (which did not hurt at all), my eyebrows tinted to be a little darker, had my makeup done (testing out for the wedding), and got a spray tan. We all had a fantastic time with food catered by the Habit burger and Noodles and Co. Yeah, I guess you could say I have been spoiled this week, but I guess it is my wedding week, so I am not expecting this treatment after, trust me on that! I was also given a fantastic gift from Eden and her family- toasting glasses! They are beautiful and are engraved with my and Egor’s name and our wedding date. Cute! It was a long day of pampering, we were there for pretty much 4 hours, so I am pooped! Oh, and did I mention that Jamie from EllaBlue has offered and arranged time for me on Friday to give me a facial and eyelash extensions? She is also doing my makeup for my wedding day, if you did not already pick up on that. What a great person (and her crew were pretty darn cool as well).

I got to have a little bit of a mom and I night tonight, as when we got home I pigged out on some leftover Panda Express and brownie pops, trying to gain just a little bit of weight back from what I lost from only being able to eat when my heartburn was not bad. (Oh, and my new medication works like a charm! Thank goodness, I finally have some relief!) We watched some tv and now she is in bed, and I am thinking that I should do the same!

Tomorrow is Fourth of July, and I am pretty excited for it! I will be spending it with my friends and family at my dad’s house. We have a pool there and are holding a party there, which we have been doing since I was little. It will be full of people who I have known for my whole life, and they will all be present at my wedding as well, so I will be seeing a lot of them! I am looking forward to tanning (with actual sun this time) and hitting the pool with my friends and family. 

So, until tomorrow, yours truly,

Lauren

P.S. My case manager let me know that I will be able to get future radiation treatments, so I guess there is a little hope left for me, you never know, I might get that miracle! If not, I plan on staying alive at least until I turn 21. Gotta hit that mark!

My Emotional Rollercoaster!

Today I was woken up at about 11:45 because my mom called my cell phone, so I woke up to it blaring “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore. I have to admit, it is not the worst way to wake up, it could have been an ugly alarm sound but at least it was good music to pump me up in the morning. DeAngela was already in the house and was on the couch and answered the phone for me, then handed it to me, only for my mom to apologize for waking me up and that if I were going out anywhere, some of my medications need to be refilled (a suggestion that I should get my  meds refilled). 

Again, I was stricken by my heartburn-like symptoms, so I was not able to start on the buckets, unlike Dee. I got a phone call from Kaiser, at a number that I was unfamiliar with, as I have gotten a lot of calls from Kaiser and I normally recognize where they are calling from by the number. Turns out it was from the hospice department. She was saying that we were having an appointment at my house, that day, at 1:30. Um, what? I had no clue about any of this, so I was in shock to say the least, but I just went with it. I called my dad to let him know, and he said he would be over by 1:30 for the appointment. My mom also came home in time for the hospice worker to come over for a consultation. Naturally, being on hospice is never a good sign. I already know what is going to happen to me, but I try to not think about it at all and just bury it in the back of my mind. Having the lady there explaining about what hospice offers made my imminent death right front and center. As much as I want to stay positive and hope that everything will be okay in the end, I do not want to get that false hope in something that I have been guaranteed will happen. The hospice lady said that the best case scenario would be that I get kicked out in three months because I will no longer be terminally ill. I was given at most three months to live, however I plan on living longer than that. That is how I will stay hopeful- by living longer than I was told I would. Not getting cured, because that is an incredibly long shot, but just living long enough to fully accept what will happen to me. As much as I say that I have accepted the fact that I am going to die at a young age, I really haven’t thought about it too much. And I often say that I am more worried about how my friends and family are going to cope without me and deal with my loss; however I am scared to die. Straight up, I do not want to die. I feel like I have so much more to offer the world than I have in the past 20 years. If I had another 20, I believe that I could really contribute a lot to society. I have always wanted to start a family, as I know for a fact that I would be a good mom (if you see the way I treat my cat Panda then you would understand as well) and would raise a great child. I will not be able to accomplish that, but I will be able to be a good wife for the time that I have left. A great one, in fact. I have seen what it takes to have a successful relationship, what not to do and what to do, first-hand so I have learned so much from what I have seen. Whether it is from my friends’ relationships, my mother’s, and my friends of family’s relationships, I always take notice of the little things that make a great and lasting relationship. As much as this marriage won’t be lasting a very long time, it is taking into account the “through sickness and in health”, “for better or for worst”, “until death do us part.” I guess that is all that I can truly ask for in a marriage. So I will have to thank Egor for marrying me- I cannot thank him enough for making me his bride. It takes a lot of courage to jump into a marriage, especially one where you have not dated each other. At least we are best friends and always will be, this will make us even better best friends.

Oh, I guess I got a little off track. The hospice appointment is not exactly what I thought it was going to be like. Mostly just saying what they offered, such as 24/7 nurses available, volunteers available, etc. And some paper signing, mostly confirming that we understand what was offered to us. I started crying, because talking about me dying is an incredibly sensitive subject, so my parents were hugging me and supporting me while I was wailing. I absolutely hate crying in front of anyone and try not to at any cost, but I just had to let it go. Even the hospice lady cried for a second- somehow I think that they do not have as many cases of young people going into hospice, so this really touched her. After learning how to use my oxygen machine, the lady left.

My dad and DeAngela stayed to watch some tv about extreme couponers, whom we all agree on are hoarders and greedy little pigs. They need to not have this huge stockpile of food and supplies that will expire by the time they use them. They need to donate a lot of their items, otherwise it is such a waste, no matter if they spent any money on the items or not. Then we ended up watching River Monsters, which is much more interesting. Man, there are some crazy scary fish out there!!! 

Eventually everyone left and I sat on the couch watching another program on animal planet while waiting for Chopped to come on. My dad came back to watch that show with me, as we share the love of that show. Tuesday nights are Chopped nights with my dad.

Jeanne came over to go over the vows and other things, as she is going to be the officiant for my wedding. While she is nervous, she is so excited to be representing something so important in my wedding. 

Well, I am pretty darn tired right now, so I will stop writing right now! Goodnight, and I cannot wait for my wedding in a few days! Woohoo!

Your Soon-to-be-Bride,

Lauren =]

Decoration-Making Party!

Today I woke up at about 1:30pm, which is absolutely crazy for me. I thought that my waking up a bit after 12 was bad, but this is a new late for me! I guess I should not be too surprised that I slept in that late as I did stay up until about 12 last night, but still! I guess my body really does need to recover from the radiation damage on my organs. When I woke up, DeAngela was already here and had quietly started working on the buckets. I joined her almost right away after I had woken up, and found out that she had barely just started putting sequins on the buckets, frantically trying to catch up to the amount of sequin work that I had done (we were working on different parts of the buckets). I worked on the buckets for a little while until my “heartburn” started really acting up, so then I vacated to the couch to try to let my esophagus calm down. By the time I got back to the projects, Dee had not only caught up to me, but exceeded what I had done with the buckets, so I was very pleased- I love a good race. Eden came over at about three today to help me with the buckets. Eden’s mom Rebecca also delivered to me some of the containers for the tropical juice that I had posted about in my last post. I was so happy! This means that I do not have to purchase my own juice dispensers and can use the money for whatever else is needed for the wedding, or for my long list of things I wish to accomplish before I leave this world. After Rebecca left Eden, DeAngela, and I to continue our work with the decorations, we found out that we were going to run out of sequins for the buckets before we could finish all 21 of them (we went through a lot of sequins). DeAngela’s sequin job (she was in charge of working with blueish sequins) ended early because she would not have enough to even finish another bucket. She then left so she could hang out with her family and run some other errands. Eden and I continued to work on our part of the buckets until we just about ran out of sequins as well. Dee promised to bring over more sequins tomorrow when she comes over so we can finish the project once and for all.

At about 5:30 I took my shower for the day. Yeah, I know later than usual, but I started the day pretty darn late, so I think that is a good enough excuse. We also had a bunch of babysitting coop ladies coming over to decorate 150 fans to make sure that my wedding guests do not get too hot, although it is supposed to cool down for my wedding weekend, yippee! And by the way, the fans look fantastic, pun intended. My mom provided the working ladies with Panda Express and some wine-coolers, what a better way to treat our guests? I think all that one needs to get people over to help out is an offer of food and beverages. I am not going to give up any secrets on how my fans look though, other than the fact that they look damn good and go with my beach theme very nicely.

Today I was greeted by a very awkward message from someone I went to high school with but was not close to. It kind of came out of nowhere, and I will be honest, I did not know what to expect at first. This person told me that they had done some research on cancer treatment and wanted to give me tips that might save me. (What? This person has no authority to give me tips or anything about cancer, at all.) They were suggesting that I would eat no foods with GMOs or extra chemicals (by the way, I had done a lot of research on GMOs for an essay in English, and there is absolutely no proof that they are bad for you at all). Then they added something about cannabis oil being said to cure it if it is injected (again, what?) as well as saying that hemp seeds hold a lot of different nutrition. Um, in my diet I get plenty of nutrition, and besides, antioxidants are terrible for people who already have cancer and are getting chemo, as chemo is an oxidant, which means it would completely counteract with the chemo. I just felt it was an ignorant statement and I was offended by it. My doctors are doing tons of research (and did I mention that I have four amazing oncologists?) to try to prolong my life. If there was a simple cure like a change in diet then naturally they would have told me about it right away. I trust my doctors with my life, and I know they are doing whatever they can to make me live as long as possible.

Sorry, I tend to rant a little when I get upset about these sorts of things. It’s like, do not talk cancer to me if you have no idea about anything to do with it. If you have not been diagnosed yourself with it or work with it on a daily basis, then you have no reason to be discussing treatment or tips for me. I will take tips from my fellow chemo buddies on what meds they take to make themselves less nauseous, and I have before and so appreciated it. Ok, I think I am done with this topic…

But the wedding is almost here! It is crazy, I am so excited and I know that it will be a wedding to remember. I still have a bit of work to do with the decorations, but it will not take too much more work to get them all done. On Wednesday I am going to get my nails done and get a facial, and whatever else the owner of EllaBlue wants to give me. Oh, and I will finally get my eyebrows waxed… I have not plucked them in way too long and they are driving me crazy, as I am very OCD about them looking nice. I will also be tanning out my awesome swim tanlines. I am pretty stoked about that.

Well, since I have a lot of work to do tomorrow, I am going to end this post now! Goodnight!

Yours truly,

Lauren