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 (, 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


Good Day Today


This is what I have been doing for the last few days, I have been trying to get as much loose hair that has decided to fall out. Luckily now I lose about 5 hairs a day and not a fistful!

Oh the other side of things, my hair is thinner but I can deal with that, I am sure it will come back again and be thicker again. That would be nice! I can tie up my hair a little bit and I guess I need to purchase some hair ties in order to actually use them! That will be an accomplishment as I have not tied my hair up in two years because my hair was not long enough until recently.

I did watch Now You See Me… I will not give anything away, but man, it was such a good movie. It kept me guessing and kept me intrigued. I also laughed a lot during this because the stunts are so cool as well as having likable characters. It is for sure a feel good movie filled with action, magic, and mystery. This has twists that keep coming up until the end. I guess it doesn’t help that I have a thing for Dave Franco… but anyways, it is a must see!

I got my blood drawn today and my counts are good! Blood is a little low, but it should be able to come back up by itself so that I do not have to get a blood transfusion. I no longer have to get my nightly shots so I won’t have to deal with them until after my next week of chemo… so two weeks! 

Man… I want to ask people (guys) if they would find that me having cancer would be a dealbreaker. I want truthful answers that might hurt, but it’s something that I really want to know. Guess I will ask some of my good friends who will be honest with me. And then I will of course have to post the results! 

Hair Trouble… Still Undefined!

Well, my hair is still coming out pretty darn easily if I hardly pull it. It is disheartening, but I am still hopeful that all it is is stress. I mean, who wouldn’t be stressed out to find out that they have cancer for the second time, aka 1/10 of their life? I certainly am stressed out more than any final has ever made me, more than any guy problems have ever caused me, and more stressed out than any big swim meet has made me. As much as I choose to try to ignore my health problems, I am sure subconsciously my body is under a whole ton of pressure. With the chemicals, the sudden lack of working out, and the increase of sitting on the couch, I am sure that my body is not very happy with me. 

In other news, I am no longer feeling nauseous or feeling any sort of chemo aftermath for that matter. Well, except my teeth and gums are very sore which makes me want to kind of bite at my cheeks and inside of my lips, that is about it for my side effects. My cold is finally going away, which is a relief because it was just adding insult to injury- so not needed in my case.

My left lung is feeling iffy still. When I yawn or breathe in deeply it still hurts, but I will be able to workout without a problem. I cannot wait to get another chest xray to see how the fluid in my lung is doing- preferably decreasing as it has been. Chemo should be helping get rid of the fluid and should help with the reinflating of my lung, considering that the tumor(s) which caused the lung to collapse will be shrinking.

I really miss my swim friends. I miss not seeing them every day for at least two hours a day. I even miss having the hard sets with them at practice. It is so weird for me not to see the people who I have spent the last five months with. Considering that I am no longer in the same area as they are, I live around 100 miles away from my school normally, it is difficult to catch up with them on a regular basis. As much as I know I will be seeing them for the next spring semester, it still is hard knowing that I will not be running into them at school because I will not be attending school in the fall semester. I will be taking one online class, but I am not going to be going to school very often unless there is a water polo game scheduled when I am feeling decent.

To end my post, I went online shopping yesterday and got a new practice suit. I am extremely excited for it to come in- I already have so many two piece practice suits, but you could say I am addicted to them. I also got two pairs of shorts and a shirt… I guess you could say I was treating myself after finishing up my semester as well as my last essay for a while. I wish I would be doing enough stuff and being active enough to post what I have been up to every day, but I think I would run out of things to say. I do hang out with my best friend DeAngela every day, but a lot of the time we sit on the couch and just relax. Although tomorrow, I promise I will go swimming and make her come with me, we both need the exercise to keep our summer bodies in check! So goodnight and I will keep you guys posted… for sure about my hair problems!

My First Real Freakout

So on Saturday night, as my mom was away at her boyfriend’s tennis tournament, my dad was in charge of taking care of my needs (not too much, mind you, more of just keeping me company while I am recovering from the week’s chemo). I started to notice that when I run my hands through my hair or kind of pull it, quite a few strands fall out. Every time I did that, more hair would fall. So naturally, I freaked out and thought that my hair was going to fall out just as it had two years prior. I did not cry the first time that my hair fell out because I was not that attached to it. However, this time it means something new to me, and it is finally at an acceptable length where people do not think I am sick or a lesbian or get weird looks from strangers. I actually get compliments on my short hair. So naturally, I cried when I believed that my hair was falling out. I am not much of a crier at all, but I was genuinely scared about how this would impact my summer.

I did not want to be stared at during the whole summer. I did not want the wrong kind of attention, and not having the hair made me really self conscious. I was always feeling like the girl who no one wanted. I mean, I’m pretty sure that having hair is on top of most guys’ dateable list. Not to mention the fact that having cancer already makes it a little awkward to start dating. For me, I felt like I wasn’t special enough for someone to take a chance on me while at my worst.

Luckily, with my hair grown at the length that it is, I feel normal and confident. You would never know not only that I had cancer, or that I am currently battling it. It took me a while to cool down from my freakout, and I realized that I am just shedding like the average person, and I am simply not used to it because I basically did not have hair for two years. As long as clumps are not falling out of my head I am in the clear. Because if there is something I know about, it is hair loss! I’ve been around it with my friends and had my experience with it.

In other news, I am done with chemo for two weeks! This is the time that I will start to feel good and be able to go out and about! Unfortunately, I caught a cold so I am very stuffed up! Not what I was hoping for but it is nothing to get me put in the hospital, so I will take it. I’ve been feeling progressively better and will get in the pool tomorrow, despite the fact that it will hurt my sinuses. That is something I am going to have to deal with to keep up with having a normal summer and a normal me. I haven’t lost or gained any weight, which is a miracle considering that with chemo a lot of people lose their appetites, however mine has not been affected.

Hopefully I will get my grand start to summer tomorrow! Meeting new people at the club where I swim at and keep my tan. Goodnight. =] 

Last Day of Chemo for Two Weeks!

I am so glad that I am done with my chemo until June 16th. This will give my body a chance to recover from all of the horrible chemicals that have been put in it. I talked to one of my four oncologists today and we decided that at least at the moment, radiation is not a good option. Considering that I have tumor cells all around my left lung casing, the radiation would be given on my whole left lung, which is a vital organ that should not be highly radiated. It could potentially cause damage and have less function in it. Not to mention the possibility of getting another type of cancer from the radiation. So it was decided that until I get further scans done after a few more rounds of chemo that radiation is a last resort type of treatment.

In other news, my mom sent an email to Summer Sanders, who happens to be an Olympic Gold Medalist I met at Olympic Trials in Omaha Nebraska. My mom explained all that had happened with me, my accomplishments in swimming such as getting in the top 10 times in 50 backstroke for my school, getting second place in 50 backstroke in conference, making it to state, and getting an All American time in my 50 backstroke as well- all within a few months of training after two years of lazing around and getting treatment. And also relapsing. Cannot forget that big detail. But anyways, Summer Sanders sent me a video from a hotel she was staying in in New York- that very night that my mom emailed her. Talk about being a great role model! She really cares about her fans and cares about me as a person, she always made sure to see me every day while I was attending the Olympic Trials (watching, mind you, not swimming, it was my wish granted by Kids Wish Network). It made my heart feel very big to know that she cared enough to make a video late at night, not all dressed up, and was being completely real.

Today, the cafeteria was closed yet again so we had some amazing food trucks as our meal options. I was being a little piggy and ate half a catfish poboy sandwich, a cheeseburger with bacon, bbq sauce, and fried onion strings.. not to mention a side of fries! I am glad that my appetite is staying up because I have a certain weight that I like to stay in between, and that is 125-128lbs. If I go under it, I feel unnaturally skinny and weak, and somehow I have a feeling that during this kind of chemo that I am on will not make me lose weight, or gain it for that matter as I am going to be hopping back in the pool tomorrow at the earliest and Monday at the latest. I have to stay in shape so I can go back to school in the Spring and be in better shape than I was last time. I would love to accomplish some more of my swimming goals and get more best times to where I will be faster than I was in high school and in my first year of college.

Overall, today was a pretty good, noneventful day, watched The Hobbit in the hospital and was actually able to watch the whole team without passing out from Ativan. I have always been a sucker for the Lord of the Rings movies.

Letting Reality Sink in (For the First Time)

Kevin taking funny pictures of me while I sleep

Kevin taking funny pictures of me while I sleep

I guess my sadness is coming through right now because of how scared I am that the doctors cannot surgically remove any tumors because the lining of my lungs, or the pleural cavity, it is very unusual. I have to ask my doctors if indeed I can still go through with radiation because it seriously works with my type of cancer. I keep on thinking about the things I would like to accomplish before I die or get rediagnosed… I am trying not to keep my hopes up to be disappointed, so I will do everything in my power to have a fun and active life.

Today I was visited by my best friend Kevin in the hospital for my outpatient chemo, and of course was in tow with my other bff DeAngela who is taking care of me while she is having summer break. My mom is paying her for the work, considering it takes just about eight hours to get to and from my house (including my chemo). We hung out with my chemo buddy Andrew, as he has the exact same cancer as I do and is only a year younger than I am, and it sure is nice to talk to someone who is going through the same difficulties and compare side effects.

Once I got my Ativan for the start of my chemo I fell asleep and attempted to watch some of the new Batman movie with DeAngela and Kevin, but with no luck. Then again, I would rather be sleeping than feeling nauseous. Today, unfortunately, I am nauseous for the first time and am not in a very fantastic mood. I can only hope that I feel better tomorrow and will be able to start the day off fresh. As long as my cat decides to sleep with me and not be hyperactive, I will immediately feel better.

Starting my 2nd Round of Chemo

This is day two of my 2nd round of chemo. Luckily for me, the chemo has been a lot easier on my body than the first time I had cancer. I have still not lost my hair and have not vomited, so I have hope on this one. I am going to be trying to keep my summer and then fall and winter fun and as normal as I possibly can.

One thing that truly scared me was when I was told that when ewings sarcoma relapses, its really not a good thing at all. I have a very big possibility of relapsing multiple times in my lifetime, I am just hoping that it is not going to be the thing that ends up killing me. This is scary, it means that I have to live my life as much as possible every single day (except for chemo days) . I am going to start a bucket list of things that I will accomplish before I die (whether that be in a few years or when I am in my 90s.)

  • Fall in love
  • Go skydiving
  • Ride in a helicopter
  • Go parasailing
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Getting a tattoo (once I am done with my chemo for this relapse)
  • Have a Christmas on the beach sipping on an alcoholic beverage
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Take a striptease class with my best friends
  • Cook a stellar meal using my Food Network knowledge
  • Learn how to use the grill
  • Go backpacking (it seems like I will soon with my other chemo buddy)
  • Throw a massive party where nothing gets broken or stolen
  • Volunteer at a Hospice Center
  • Do some gardening
  • Be able to run a mile again with my extremely messed up leg
  • Take a roadtrip
  • Eat something exotic and completely out of the norm
  • Go to a nude beach and actually go nude
  • Go to my college of choice, Florida Gulf Coast University, and be a contributing part of their Division 1 swim team
  • Become a nurse
  • Eventually get married

I would love to get all of these things accomplished before I die… Not saying that the doctors or anyone are saying that I am going to die, but there is something kind of solemn when they talk about all of the tumor spots in the lining of my lungs (aka the pleural cavity). Instead of just having one distinct tumor, I have many in the pleural cavity so surgery is out of the question. Although the lung fluid is not cancerous and my bone marrow biopsy was also negative, this is still scary about how bad my lung is infected by the cancer.

What all this means to me is that I need to live each day like it’s my life. I need to have as much fun and accomplish as much as I can while I still feel good, because I will never know when/if I will relapse again. And god knows that third times the charm. But on the positive side, ewings sarcoma does react very well against radiation. So I am hoping that even if I do get rediagnosed the radiation and chemo combination will work well like it has done in the past.

Now I am both scared and mad at my situation, because I really do not understand how something like this could happen to me- as I am intelligent, genuinely nice, athletic, and have a great future ahead of me and I am annoyed at all of these drawbacks. It makes me feel like when I have to explain that I am a 20 year old freshman that I got held back and that I am just another dumb blonde. But I am extremely ambitious, so I plan on going though this with my stubborn, nonquitting attitude. 

Surgery and Chemo Aftermath- 3 weeks

Well, I guess that I should continue writing here on a more regular basis in order to keep my thoughts in line and let people know how I am doing, whether they are strangers or friends, I will keep this as real as I can- however I can tell you that while I am a very optimistic person, I do have some dark and cynical thoughts towards the whole subject of me getting cancer for a second time. I will be posting all of my thoughts here, the good and the bad. I only post optimistic and happy statuses on my Facebook account because I refuse to let people worry about me or think of me as just being the sick girl who complains constantly (which I really don’t by the way).

So to get this started, I had six incisions given to me in the surgery ward. Two were designated for my port. One was for the line of the port to connect it to a main vein to my heart and the other was a pocket for the actual port itself. Since this time I will not be hospitalized for my chemo they gave me a single port instead of a double one (which I had last time and it really stood out as something that was not normal, while my new port looks like maybe a big mosquito bite, so not bad at all). Two of my other cuts were for a microscope to look around for my tumors along my ribs and in the areas around the left lung- and then they stuck in a chest tube in the same area that they had biopsied in order to suck out the fluid surrounding my lungs, as my lung was collapsed and they were trying to make it easier to reflate. The last two incisions were made on my hip bones, where I had my bone marrow aspirations and also biopsies, where I am told that they took a tiny chip of the bone itself as well as the marrow. (which completely explains why that hurt the most out of all of my operations.

Now, after almost three weeks after the surgeries and my first round of chemo I am feeling incredibly good. Like so good, that I got impatient and went swimming while my scars were still healing, so it hurt a little bit but I pulled through and got my workouts in while I could.

On Thursday the 23rd I went to my swim team banquet and got to see all of my swim team friends and discovered just how good of a support system they are. They presented me with a quilt that was hand-made and had patches where each person on the team got to write and draw their own square with what they wanted to say to me. They were all so cute, some of them funny, and made me realize that the team loves me as much as I love them. Another great part of that night (aside from seeing everyone) is that I discovered that I had made an All American time- even though I was unable to swim at state. My conference time was good enough to stay in the top 16 times in the state, so I was elated at this unexpected event.

Then on Saturday the 25th I went clubbing in San Francisco with some of my buddies from swim team (who all happened to be All Americans too) and my best friend DeAngela and her wrestling teammate from Kentucky. Needless to say we had a fantastic time. I danced so much that my hair looked like I had gotten straight out of the pool. Crazy. What I did like about it was the amount of attention that I was receiving. I have never had so many guys after me as I did that night. It was flattering, and sometimes a little annoying at how persistent some guys can be when it comes to wanting to dance with you no matter what. But the attention made me feel pretty and wanted, which is more than I can say how I feel like I have been received as in college.

And now that I am on the subject of feeling wanted and whatnot, I feel pretty unwanted when it comes to dating. Now more than ever. I was talking to this guy from my team and thought that maybe I could like this guy, but he got what he wanted and hardly even talks to me anymore, which I think is super rude considering that we are still friends and above that teammates. But whatever, I am unsure of whether I liked him or not or was a fan of the attention, either way I still want an explanation of what happened, except I am a little too afraid to ask about that.

And another thought, it is kind of sad that I think about this, but I feel like people who I have talked to but never ended up getting in a relationship with for one reason or another, I feel like they are relieved that nothing ever blossomed between us. I mean, it is very hard to ask someone to be your boyfriend when you are going through chemo. Trust me, I’ve tried, and it did not work out too well, but that was my fault for putting too much pressure on the poor guy.

Now more than ever I figure that it will be harder for me to find a good guy because of my health problems. It will be more difficult to meet new people if I am not going to be in school for at least one semester and possibly a whole year. I am going to stay active through all of this and try to get out and meet as many new people as I can. I mean, I will be swimming every single day that I feel good once chemo is over for the week. I will be able to work out almost 2 weeks out of 3… So I guess that isn’t too bad at all. Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean that I have to look or act the part. I will not be a victim of this disease and will fight it and defeat it just as I have done two years ago.

Tomorrow marks my next round of chemo and Ill be very honest, I am scared, mad, anxious, anticipating on how I will be feeling after it. Luckily for anti nausea drugs I will hopefully not be puking my guts out. So far I have been lucky and have saved myself every time that I have almost thrown up. I want that to continue so that this chemo can be as comfortable as chemo can be for a 20 year old girl.