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!

Home Sweet Home, At Last!

After spending two weeks and one day in the hospital, I was finally set free. This was the longest time I have ever spent in a hospital, comparable to about 7 or 8 days spent during Thanksgiving of 2011. It was weird being in the hospital (which we sometimes call a hotel because of how long we stay in it and how we have fantastic room service of ice cream and otter pops given at request, as well as any other leftover goodies that are in the kitchen) for so long when I was not feeling super sick. The first week or so I was incredibly sick and had to be on oxygen and on a PCA machine (basically giving me a certain amount of strong pain killers every hour, which also had an on demand push button which delivered more of the medicine every ten minutes, if needed). After a while, I was weening off of the oxygen during the day and still had it during the night because my oxygen levels would drop just low enough to have the oxygen monitor go crazy and make tons of noise. Then, after about two days of being off of the oxygen during the day, I was able to go without it during the night without problem. That was one thing that I was incredibly proud of, because I had no intentions of walking down the aisle carting an oxygen tank behind me, mind you, I would have bedazzled the shit out of it if I were to have to need the extra air. I was able to stop using the PCA on demand button pretty quickly as my pain got under control with other pills, and soon after that they stopped giving me out the pain medicine (I think it was called delotted) at an hourly rate and just kept it to the push button, for a just in case I were to feel a lot of pain and I would be able to get a quick release from the pain. About two days before I got out of the hospital, we were able to take off my PCA pump entirely, which made it easier to be escorted to radiation by ambulance. I was incredibly happy by the amount of progress that I was making and was so ready to get out. And today, I finally did.

I was able to take my first actual shower in over two weeks in the hospital, and boy, did it feel nice! I loved the feeling of actually getting my whole body drenched with water instead of being washed down with these stupid clothes, which resembled ones that you wipe a baby’s butt with- except that they were warm. I did not take as long of a shower as I will do tomorrow, because I had to get some paperwork given to me and send DeAngela off to get my discharge medication. I was surprised with how quickly they were able to discharge me this time, because all of the other times I had to wait around and be impatient to get the discharge papers and to see the doctor. I actually ended up seeing two of my doctors, Dr. Jolly and Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams was the main doctor who took care of me during that week and I am assuming that Dr. Jolly was there to take over for the next week. I was a little disappointed that Dr. Adams, a quiet, soft spoken man would not be able to attend my wedding, because he really opened up to me and talked quite a lot with me in the hospital, which was really nice. Dr. Jolly, however, said that he would be able to attend my wedding and that made me very happy! Yeah, I know I see my doctors, nurses, and radiologists on a regular occasion, but that does not mean that I dread seeing them! They made my life while in the hospital or in the clinic or in radiation much better, and I appreciate that completely for being as nice and as real to me as they could. Oh, and most of them have very nice senses of humor too. I can always appreciate a good laugh, or even a little giggle.

As I was leaving, I asked one of my nurses to add me on Facebook so I could invite her to my wedding, as well as a few other nurses who I had spent a lot of time with, whether it was this year or two years ago, I will always remember who took good care of me. She complied and I am now about to invite the nurses to my wedding as well. 

In the clinic, Tamara and Shelly made a flyer for my wedding, inviting only people who knew me, and added that I wish to be the only one wearing a white dress and also the only one in a floor-length dress. I thought this was really sweet, because I love my clinic nurses as well, and have spent a lot of time with them. I wrote down the details to the wedding and gave them to my radiologist Denise and asked her to spread it around for the whole radiology team so that they knew that they were invited and so they would have the information to be able to get to the wedding.

I also gave my blog information out to all of the nurses, and they have it in their break office so that they will have access to reading it- and hopefully spreading it around because I want to touch as many people as I possibly can. I also wrote down the address to my blog and gave it to the radiology team so that they could read what I write about as well, and sort of get an idea of what an impact they make on me.

Ok, so back to me getting out of the hospital, I can get a little off topic when I find something I feel a lot of passion about and just have the urge to write about it. So Dee and I took a wagon downstairs with all of my stuff that was leftover from my mom and dad taking trips home with certain items so I was not left with a room full of flowers and other such things to have to lug to the car. I have to say, after being mostly bedridden for 15 days, my legs are still not used to walking. It feels a little funky, like I have to learn how to walk again. I am not bad at walking, maybe a little clumsy, but I have not fallen, despite having a wristband that reads “FALL RISK” in all capitals. I am so glad for the exercise though, after laying down and sitting for over two weeks, it was nice to walk out to the car, not only once, but twice to return the wagon. And turns out that I had forgotten to take a PCA pump home. This confused me, because I am not attached to anything, but I had signed for it so technically it is mine. So I guess it is a just in case thing, as well as the oxygen tubes that I have in my garage.

Dee drove me to radiation (finally not having to be escorted by ambulance, I felt so free) and all of the radiologists were so excited to see me and were happy that I was done with my radiation after today, not that they were happy to get rid of me or anything. I gave hugs to all of my radiologists, including Dan,    Ben, Denise, and some other lady whom I had never seen before. Geoff wasn’t there so I was a little sad that I unable to say goodbye to him. But I will be seeing most of the radiologists at the wedding, and I am so happy that they will see me all dressed up in all white.

After radiation, we stopped by Tapioca Express, a favorite food place of mine because I was incredibly hungry. Dee dropped me off at home, as well as helped me unpack the car, and left because I told her I wanted some alone time, which I believe is understandable because I never really had any true alone time in the hospital, and I was in dire need of it. Oh, and I wanted to spend my alone time with my kitty Panda, but I don’t really think that counts against my alone time. I found Panda upstairs under my mom’s bed and he immediately came out to come see me- I knew he missed me. We ended up chilling downstairs while I attempted to eat my Tapioca Express food- chicken bites, fried zucchini, and curly fries, but I either have really, really bad heartburn or something with the radiation is making my throat hurt whenever I swallow something. I am leaning towards the damage of radiation, as I was told it could be a side effect. So I just ate my french fries and part of my boba drink (large mocha snowbubble with no tapioca to be precise) and decided that I could not put my throat through any more suffering for the moment. I picked up Panda and took about a three hour nap with him, until I had to wake up and go to the bathroom, in which he promptly took off to go play while I went back to bed alone for another 4-5 hours. Yeah, I was incredibly tired. You just do not get the same amount of sleep in the hospital as you do at home, because in the hospital you have to be monitored every four hours, which meant a blood pressure test, oxygen rate test, and a taking of my temperature. Not to mention waking up to take certain meds to be sure that all my pain would be covered. Then having breakfast come in at 8 in the morning, and again about half an hour later to pick up the menu and your choices of food for the next day. Yeah, not the same as being able to sleep in for as long as I wish and not getting woken up several times at night by a flashlight or a noisy nurse (luckily I did not have too many of them).

I woke up at around 8pm tonight and was in a great amount of pain because I was off my schedule for pain pills. So we quickly corrected that, and within thirty minutes I was feeling much better. I also had some late night visitors, who came at around 9. They were my old buddies from high school, who, while we might have lost touch with after graduation, we never had a falling out, so I was happy to have them take the time to visit me. Keith, one of my friends from kindergarten and from wrestling team, Alex, one of my friends who I met through wrestling my sophomore year, and Michael, who I met in 8th grade through wrestling and hung out with through mutual friends, all came over to see me. I was expecting (and at first demanded) a short visit, but I was feeling pretty darn good after my pain meds kicked in, that we talked for about two hours. It was so nice catching up with the good people who I had hung out with in high school, particularly my senior year. We joked around a lot just like old times, played with Instagram and looked at people who were thirsty for likes (aka attention from the opposite sex) and just talked about what we had done with our year. We also talked about different experiences that we had in college, as well as discussing who we all hang out with, where each other goes to college, and just reminiscing about the old days- not that any of us want to go back to high school. We are all so thankful to be in college and to have moved on from that point in life, and to being more mature than we were back in the days of high school. I truly relished their visit, not to mention I was given a funny card from them and the movie Sinister, and although I have already seen it, it is a scary movie that I will end up watching again, so thanks guys! They ended up leaving at 11 when Michael realized that he had to feed his dogs. Whoops!

When I first got home, I was also greeted with a lot of cards. Cards that congratulated myself and Egor on getting married. These cards were from people who I did not know, but all I do know is that they had to explain who they were on my mother’s side of the family. I don’t believe that I had met any of them, but it was incredibly sweet of them to reach out to me even though they do not know me either. Some of the cards were so cute! Although most of the messages that were left were of them explaining how they are related to me, they were still thoughtful. I also got a gift from my mom’s cousin (I think) Laura, whom I am friends with on Facebook. She gave me two hand-stitched hats because she thought I was going to lose my hair with this cancer- thank goodness that it hasn’t, but it was so nice of her to think of that. One is completely silly but so creative and cool, it has a dolphin in it and has some of the prettiest blues and greens in it. So since I will be in no need of these, I am going to donate them to the clinic where someone can actually enjoy the use of them and to cover their little bald heads. I think that is the best place for them.

So now my house is littered with balloons and flowers and blankets given to me, but I am just so glad to be home, and looking at all of these things make me really realize how loved I am, it really touches my heart.

I am unsure if I will be able to write another blog tomorrow night (if so it will probably be pretty late) as my college swim team has organized a weenie roast with a special guest (meaning me) so I have to make an appearance, not that you would have to give me any reason to go, because I love my swim team and I am excited to see them again! I will not be driving because I will be tired, so Dee will drive Mark (my brother) and I up there and we will all hang out with my swim team- they are very welcoming and generous people, so I know they will love DeAngela.

So goodnight, it is pretty late and I could use some more sleep with my kitty Panda! And I am so glad to be home at last!

Lazy Yet Productive Day

I finally got to sleep in today! Thank goodness for not having radiation, I slept in until 10 and did not even manage to eat my breakfast. Luckily I had some leftovers from Olive Garden, which I sent my mom out to get me the night before, so I had some nice cheesy pasta to brighten up and start my day.

I had quite a few guests today, but for the first time I had some early guests. At near 11 Jeanne, Dianne, and Aly from the babysitting coop came by to offer their services and to say some words of support for me as well. I have known them for pretty much my entire life and they are a part of a pretty darn huge extended family.We all figured out that we are going to have a decoration and party favor making party a few days after I get home. Basically a lot of the babysitting coop will be over at my house (because we have enough room, although my cat will not be too pleased) to make a tons of crafts to make my wedding have a nice homemade touch, so it does not have the cookie cutter wedding effect. I am more than prepared to try extremely hard to make this wedding work and be perfect for me.

Egor’s (my fiance) mom Irina came by today to check up on me as well as help plan out the wedding with my mom, although Irina confessed that she has absolutely no experience in planning a wedding. Neither am I so that is not considered a bad thing whatsoever. I am actually enjoying planning this wedding. I know how to navigate the computer very well, and with the help of Pinterest it is becoming an easier and easier task. I can find literally anything I want to on the internet, but that does have its challenges because there are so many things to choose from that I get confused and have to choose between two awesome items or designs when I really want both. Yeah, that is a true First World Problem. But it has also made it possible for me to shop without leaving the hospital, because lets be honest, the wedding would not be as far without Pinterest and looking up ideas and dresses online.

At around 3:15, Eden and her mom Rebecca came by to spoil me with mashed potatoes and homemade friend chicken. Yum. As much as I was not hungry, I still wanted to eat more but would not risk having an upset stomach. Irina also brought some Russian food, made with lentils, turkey meat, zucchini, and other yummy items which we used as gravy for Eden’s mashed potatoes.

We all sat around and joked about funny stories for quite a while, then my mom and Irina started to find some poems and vows for the wedding. They were actually pretty darn successful if you were to ask me. I had totally forgotten about the vows and traditions for the ceremony and luckily my mom was on top of that!

Within thirty minutes of everyone arriving I had some surprise guests! Kevin (my bridesman and best friend since about 1st grade) and his brother Ryan (whom I have known since he was running around in diapers) decided to come visit me without telling me. This was a pleasant surprise as I have not seen them in quite a while, too bad I was extremely tired from all of the planning that I have been doing and from the radiation. At 5:30 I ordered to have Ativan from my nurse Robyn because I was getting tired and kind of nauseous, so this would allow me to fall asleep and take a nap. Right as I was getting the medicine, Irina, Eden, Rebecca, and my mom left to go back home. Kevin, Ryan, and my dad stayed behind while I napped because we are so comfortable around each other and do not feel the need to always entertain them. Eventually my dad kicked them out so I could continue to sleep without disturbance.

Since then, I woke up and am currently watching The Next Food Network Star, as I cannot get enough of food shows! Robyn came into my room today wearing a blonde mustache, so my dad and I immediately starting cracking up. This is the sort of thing that I love about staying in this hospital- everyone is so comfortable with each other and know how to have fun. Robyn even gave me a handful of mustaches to wear with my friends, nothing could be more perfect for our personalities!

Well, now I am going to get off and eat a huge cupcake before I go to bed!