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 =]

Getting Ready for the Wedding- My Turn for Physical Work!

So yesterday I was not able to post because I was literally falling asleep at 9 while browsing on the internet. Clearly, the power of the radiation has made me a bit less of a night owl than I have been in the last month, which is a shame because I love writing my blogs at around 10 or 11 every night.

Yesterday I slept in until about 12, which is more than I have slept in for years, at least that I can think of, because I like waking up a bit earlier so as to not waste the day, even though most of the time I will spend the extra daytime to watch tv and surf the internet, but for some reason sleep seems like more of a waste of time- don’t ask, it is one of my weird quirks.

Anyways, I was lazy most of the day until about 2, when my mom came back from Shane Co. with the wedding band that I had chosen (as another company had messed up and shipped the wrong ring, which was gold rather than the white gold that I had ordered) and picked up the silverware and dinner plates for the wedding at probably four different Smart and Finals. You could say she probably took the whole stock of dining ware from each of the stores, which I find pretty darn funny. She also went to K-mart (I don’t remember why she did) and found a perfect pair of wedding shoes there for herself, which is amazing, because K-mart is not where you expect to find cute shoes.

When my mom got back from all of her errands, we went shopping for shoes for myself at DSW. I found the cutest sandals with lots of bling that are comfy enough to stand in all day. You could say that I fell in love with the shoes, and they will go fantastic with the dress- as my dress is the perfect length for sandals. 

After finding the perfect shoes, which took no time at all, we stopped by my favorite sushi restaurant to try to get them to cater for the wedding. Unfortunately, they open at 12 and I would need the sushi by 10. I was not pleased by this at all, because a lot of people are expecting sushi (including me) so I will have to ask a lot more sushi restaurants if they can cater at the early time, because it has been my dream to have sushi at my wedding, especially since it is a beach themed wedding. After the disappointing visit, my mom and I had a much more successful time at Michael’s, an arts and crafts store. I always love shopping at Michael’s because they have incredible finds that you would never expect to find. We found tons of great things to decorate the wedding favors and for the actual decorations for the  tables and other places. We found shells, cute and beachy stickers, sequins in many shapes and colors that go with the theme, and just other goodies that I will find good use for. After that, my mom and I headed towards the Hallmark store for toasting glasses but came up empty handed- the only things they had were literally hillbilly goblet-like champagne glasses, and those certainly were not going to work. Then we went next door to a Target to look for miscellaneous other goodies. We ended up getting a lot of soccer cones, which surprised me, because I had no idea what they could possibly be for. My mom later explained that it was for marking out certain parking spots for my grandparents, as my grandpa has a hard time getting around, so he will get a spot nice and close to the ceremony. We also bought some diet cat food for my kitty Panda, as he is no longer an outdoor cat. We bought some cute pinkish-coral buckets to hold the silverware that will be bundled in napkins to make setup for lunch at the wedding faster and easier. We also picked up some cold drinks at the register because the 100 plus degree weather was wearing us down was not too pleasant. As we were heading back to the car, I got a call from a number that I thought was my dad, reminding me to come over to call the bank so that my recent (and somewhat suspicious) purchases can be confirmed by me so that they do not freeze my account. However, when I answered “Hi Dad,” I was greeted with the voice of a woman. The woman’s name is Cricket, and I have known her for a very long time due to my swimming with her daughter since I was 12. I was shocked that she had called me and told me that her daughter, Courtney (whom I also swam with, but not as long) and some of her army friends (yes she is in the army as well) had raised some money to help me with the wedding. This really touched my heart, because I was not really close to Courtney, and her troop members cared enough about my situation that they would give their hard-earned money to someone that they did not know. Cricket told me that Courtney had read this blog and was moved by it, enough to raise money for me and my big day. After I got off of the phone with Cricket, my mom and I drove to my dad’s house- not only to clear up the suspicions of my spending, but also to let Cricket come by and give me the check. It was a brief visit at my dad’s house because I was utterly exhausted from just a few hours of shopping and I needed to lie down to recuperate my tired body. 

Now onto today’s activities! I slept in until about 11:30 today, despite going to bed by 9:30. My heartburn-like symptoms continued again with the start of the morning. I was also pretty nauseous, so thanks radiation for all of these nasty side effects, however the benefits of breathing far outweigh the negative side effects of discomfort/pain. I took some of my meds to try to make the pain more bearable, and they did the trick for the most part. I still was uncomfortable so I stayed on the couch until about 2:30, when I took a shower to get ready for my future mother-in-law’s visit (she had tried to call me but I was asleep, so at about 12 she called my mom asking to visit and to help out with the decorations, which was fantastic in my book). At around 3 Irina came and brought over some decorations of her own and some beautiful big shells that can be placed throughout the wedding if it will look good. I showed Irina what the collages are going to look like- there is one of just me, one of just Egor, and one of us together (which is my personal favorite, it is so cute!). I then showed her the wedding band that I had chosen for Egor, and she happily approved of it. Irina then had a surprise for me- a necklace made of three rings of pearls. They are beautiful, and i know it will go perfectly with my dress. My mom was a little jealous because she wanted me to wear her pearl necklace, but in the end I will choose which one looks best on me on my wedding day. 

About twenty minutes later, DeAngela came to help out with decorating 21 buckets for the 21 tables. The buckets are going to hold the silverware, which will be wrapped in napkins, so naturally they have to be decorated and nice and beachy. I have always felt that homemade decorations look much better than store-bought ones, especially when it comes to weddings. It creates more of a personal connection to the wedding, and even though it makes for a whole lot more time and effort spent on them, they are always worth making. I must say, I am pleased with the work that Irina, my mom, Dee, and I accomplished today. Tomorrow, with the help of Eden, we will be able to finish the buckets. We spent about two hours today working on them and are only completely finished with some components of the buckets, but with our group of three we will be able to finish them in probably another two hours, not too bad in my book.

After my mom and Irina finished their part of the buckets, I decided it was time for Dee and I to stop with ours, especially because my back was starting to hurt and I was already getting tired (again, thank you radiation). I vacated to the couch to get some rest for my back, as well as some rest in general. At this point, my dad came over so we could watch some Food Network, a show that we share together. Irina left so that she could make dinner, although we offered for her to stay and eat some enchiladas that Carl (my mom’s boyfriend) brought over from a friend. So it was my dad, mom, Mark (my brother), Dee, and I eating enchiladas and watching Iron Chef America. At 8, when the show was over, I politely texted Dee and asked her if I could just have some family time, and she obliged. Then my dad, Mark, and I watched a new Discovery Channel show titled Naked and Afraid. It was really weird; people have to survive in their birthday suits for three weeks off of the land, whether it is Costa Rica or in Africa. It is a new concept of the people not wearing any clothes whatsoever, I would need a pair of shoes, underwear, and a sports bra at the least in order to try to participate in that show. Also, the people lose about 25 lbs each, which is more than I can afford to lose. I am watching my second episode of it right now, and I have to say each person on it could lose a little bit of weight (although in a healthy way) and look and feel much better. However, losing it in just three weeks, it was a little scary. Oh, and I am the only one watching this episode about two people surviving on the African Serengeti, and I have to say it is much easier to write when I am by myself, all of my ideas just flow when I am alone. So the first part of my writing started at 8 when I was not alone because I wanted to actually write a blog today instead of falling asleep and leaving people possibly worried that something has happened to me, other than just being incredibly tired.

Well, now I am going to go to end this blog, tomorrow will be filled with more decorating and possibly me buying more sequins and beads and whatnot for the wedding, as well as two glass containers to disperse tropical fruit juice for the wedding, just to feed to the beach theme.

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!

My Bipolar Day

Today I woke up and was happy to see that my dad was still in the hospital. Turns out that he had taken the day off because he had some errands of some sort to run, but it meant that he could spend a little bit more time with me in the morning. I was expecting Eden to come at around 10 so I decided that I had to get ready a little bit earlier than I normally do. Eden came a little bit earlier than I had thought, so while I was washing my hair and body she went to hang out with the nurses until I was all nice and clean (in a hospital sense of clean). When I was done she came back to hang out with me and while my dad went to get breakfast downstairs. Eden always talks about how much she loves talking to me and just hanging out with me alone, because we have so much in common and we have shared our cancer experiences together. So while talking, my nurse Carole came in with a blonde mustache attached to her face. We immediately started laughing, and I had to get out the mustaches that Robyn handed me a few days earlier. Eden and I put on our blonde mustaches and joined the fun! We were taking pictures and videos when DeAngela came in, so she had to join in the action- although the blonde definitely was not her color. Eden’s stache was a thin one, kind of french looking if you asked me. My mustache looked like something a deputy would have, while DeAngela’s stache was one that matched with a sheriff’s.
When my EMTs came, Eden left and DeAngela and I kept our mustaches so we could surprise my awesome radiologists. I really liked the EMTs that I had today. They were extremely nice and had no problem whatsoever with taking DeAngela with them. In their own words, “She could even want to stop by McDonald’s and we wouldn’t care,” So they were already winners in my heart. They were three heavy set men with a sense of humor that I could enjoy. With one of them, DeAngela and I felt comfortable enough to have more adult conversations with, and we were all very open about everything and talked about random, funny subjects such as the concept of the teenage parents who refuse to believe that their kids might have sex and will not provide them with proper birth control to him sneaking into his college girlfriend’s room during Thanksgiving Break at a religious school and almost getting caught. This was by far the most fun I had while I was in the ambulance, and I guess it did not hurt that I was unattached to my IV pole the whole time. The ambulance driver was very considerate and took the long way to radiology because the short way is very bumpy and can cause stomach aches. This gave me a new view from the back of the ambulance that I hadn’t seen in all the other 8 times that I was taken to get radiation.

Radiation went smooth as usual, and the radiologists all appreciated the mustaches, so Dee and I took them off when we left. I invited all of my radiologists to my wedding because they have played a very important role in my life in the past two years. 

When I got back, Eden, Ashleigh, and her mom visited my room and we talked for about thirty minutes, as Ashleigh had chemo that day and was in Ativan Land, so she was getting quite sleepy. I love being able to talk about the experiences that I have had during my battle with cancer and I love being able to give tips to people of what to take advantage of and what to stay away from. When they left Dee and I were alone for about twenty minutes until my old neighbor and girl I grew up with who is in the babysitting coop with me named Kelsey came by with beef teriyaki and rice for my lunch. She also brought by a gift from the kids of the babysitting coop. It was a star named after me. What a great way to leave behind part of my legacy than to have a star named after me? I thought it was really cute. Kelsey, DeAngela, and I were watching Identity Thief (which I was not very interested in and did not think was very good at all) when someone knocked on the door and it turned out to be one of my best friends from high school Eric and his mother. I had totally forgotten that he had asked to come by and that I was really excited to see him. Go figure, I will blame it on the chemo brain, even though I haven’t had chemo in about three weeks or so. But he came in bringing the most beautiful bouquet of flowers with plenty of roses- which smelled fantastic by the way. I was so glad that he came at the perfect moment, so I talked with him and his mom while Kelsey and DeAngela continued to watch the movie. I was so glad to be reunited with Eric since I had not seen him in quite a while, so we had a nice long embrace when we saw each other. His mom asked if there was anything food-wise that we needed for the wedding, and I answered honestly that we could use a few more small bites for the cocktail hour. She responded by saying that she could make 300 egg rolls, half with pork and half vegetarian. I was floored with her offer and quickly accepted, graciously of course. She then asked if we needed any fruit, and I responded again with a “yes”. She had the best idea of what to do with the fruit so I am going to keep that a little secret, but it was a cute idea. I was originally supposed to help her make it (well I offered to help so I could learn) and it turns out that the mother works during the day before the wedding and was planning on making the fruit fantasia during the evening of July 5th. However, I am going to be rehearsing for my wedding at that time, so I guess I will have to let her know what the new plan is. But nevertheless, I am incredibly excited for the whole wedding, if not a little nervous.

So at the end of the day I ended up being really emotional and kind of sad, because it was confirmed that the love Egor has for me is friendship love, and it will not bloom into the romantic love that I was really hoping for. I am glad that he has been honest about it during the whole time, but I still had a little hope. I started crying because I want to be in love at least once in my 20 years of living and it does not seem like that will happen, I will have to settle for true friendship love. And I am grateful that Egor is willing to marry me with all of the friendship love that he has for me. So unfortunately for me, we will not be consummating the wedding. That is another problem I will have to deal with. I have needs that all grown women at the age of 20 have- in fact every woman has them. This is me writing in my honest state of mind- I just want to be able to be touched and loved by a man (more of lust but I am a little embarrassed to write that).

I got a letter today from a family member today that really touched me and made me cry. This family member has been going through a tough time and has been thinking of giving up, but because of me he has hope again. Because I am still battling a battle that is most likely unwinnable, and he has a life that he can still live out even though things are hard. Hearing things like these are reinforcing some of the reasons why I try to write every night. I want to inspire people to never give up and to live their lives in the best way that they can. I want people to realize that their lives could be worse and that they should be thankful for their health. I want people to understand what I am going through in the most real way possible, mostly without censoring it to keep it as raw as possible. I want people to stop complaining about stupid boy problems, friend problems, family and money problems and to realize that life could be so much worse, and that no one likes people who complain constantly about stupid, little things. I want to inspire people not to give up on their lives.

And on one last note for the night, I get out of the hospital tomorrow and I also have my last radiation treatment tomorrow as well. I am elated to be going home and I cannot wait to be there to relax, spend time with my family, and of course, cuddle with my kitty for the longest time, as he is the only family member who I have not been able to see in the two weeks that I have been here. So yay to getting out of the hospital!!!

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Carole and I rocking our mustaches. Thought you might enjoy this picture.

My Day Full of Insecurities

As the wedding date has gotten closer and closer, I have been getting a little anxious about it. No, I am most certainly getting cold feet. I am so excited for the wedding that I am getting a little anxious about it. When I get anxious my insecurities end up getting the best of me. DeAngela, Eden, and Egor all got to see that today. What has been on my mind is “Am I good enough for him?” and “Is he excited to be marrying me?”
I think these are my old insecurities coming back to haunt me back from high school. I have kind of grown into my face since my high school years, but here are some things that I hated about myself back then: my lack of boobs, my flat butt, my very toned stomach, my all-over acne (this included my face, back, and chest), my larger nose, and most importantly that I had a very red tone to my face. I was embarrassed to try to flirt with guys because in the back of my mind I would be focusing on all of my flaws when I should have been thinking about all of the good things about myself such as my bright, blue eyes, infectious laugh, and my bright white smile.
It is kind of weird for me to think of myself being stuck-up on the comments said about me during the past, but it still hurts. I always will remember the words an ex told me, “You look like a pink monkey.” Yeah, I was totally embarrassed.
But what I should be thinking about all that I have to offer now: intelligence, my ability to handle sarcasm and give it right back, my ability to cook, that I get along with a lot of people, that I am a genuinely nice person, that I have not made any major life mistakes, my hair is finally growing back, my cute freckles, the fact that I finally got the boobs and butt that I had always wanted. In fact, I have a bigger rack than most of the swimmers (considering that swimmers are not supposed to have any drag in the front, aka swimmers boobs) but I have smaller hips than most do, I have little baby hips that I never noticed until Katie and Shaila noticed when we were trying on our fastskin suits. Then it finally made sense to them why I was able to fit into a size 26 suit rather than a 32.
I am lucky that my friends put up with my insecurities during this time- and most of the time I am a very confident person, I think it is just that the wedding is coming quickly and I always have to make sure everyone is happy, so on top of that list I have to make sure that my fiance is number one on that list. I want to make sure that he is fine (well more than fine, happy) to be marrying me and all that comes with me, although I am a low maintenance girl. I always feel like I am responsible for the feelings of others, and Egor is no different. I want to make sure that he is truly content with marrying me. He has, of course, reassured me that he is excited for the wedding and for marrying me. I also don’t think that the whole me being terminal has quite gotten to him because he does not really like it when I say things like “I will leave behind a legacy” and stuff about my timeline. I totally get it, I am probably still in denial of my imminent death, and so are a lot of people. And I think that is ok, because I feel that ignorance is sweet, sweet, bliss.
Ok, so more about my day! Well last night my brother, mom, and I got the pleasure to see Kyle, one of the nurses assistants and hang out with him for like an hour talking about creepy guys, code words, and other things all while watching The Bachelorette. Kyle is a nice and innocent guy who is fun to talk to because he and I share the same sort of humor.
So my radiation trip was very normal and non-stressful considering how bad the last day had been. The weather was humid but raining, however I am not a fan of rain but I loved the humidity because the temperature is perfect! When I got back from radiation I was pleased with meeting a new chemo buddy named Ashleigh. She had just graduated high school and has/had osteosarcoma, which is one hell of a scary disease. Anything with the base “osteo” is never a good diagnosis (as you can probably tell with my “luck” of Ewings sarcoma visiting me twice. Anyways, Ashleigh is a very nice girl who happened to look very good bald, so she was one of the lucky few who does not have a misshapen head. Plus her head was not full of tons of big moles, unlike myself when I was a little baldy. Then my buddy from kindergarten all the way through middle school (he moved to a rival school our sophomore year) Drake came by for a visit. It was so nice seeing him, and it felt like no time had passed between all of the years that we had not spoken. Eden later came to visit me and brought along the movie “Perks of Being a Wallflower”. And oh my goodness, that was such a good movie! I was impressed, and most of all it had a great ending, which is all that I can handle at this point without breaking down and sobbing other than horror films. But I truly recommend this movie to anyone, and I have no clue how I went so long without watching it!
After everyone left, my dad came with Squeeze In burgers for dinner, as I had never tried them before. I was not impressed because it had a lack of seasoning. But it was a nice and juicy burger so that pretty much made up for the taste (not that it was bad at all or anything!) So my dad and I watched one of my favorite fat people show, (other than The Biggest Loser) Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition. Now Chopped is on while I am writing this blog. I also accomplished to buy the bridesmaids their gifts: a necklace (which will remain undisclosed until the wedding) that will go perfectly with their dresses, so naturally I am proud of my online shopping skills. I also managed to get some gifts for my kitty Panda- a brush and two toys, and for my dogs Jocelin and Buffy, I got each of them a really cool chew toy that they hopefully won’t tear apart within minutes of me giving them to the dogs.
Also, I forgot to post this earlier, Eden approached me when everyone else was gone and asked me what was on my bucket list. So I had to scroll through my blog to find it, and Eden, bless her heart, said that whatever I was not going to be able to mark off of my list, that she would do it for me at one point. She truly is a great friend to have- we both support each other through our hard times.
I will leave on that good note and write again tomorrow!

I Feel Loved and Special

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Today started out a little rough with a battle with the EMTs (this was a different crew) to let DeAngela ride on the ambulance with me. None of the other crews had any problem with it whatsoever, so I was very confused by this. My nurse Katya believed that they just did not want to take her with us. She defended me by saying that DeAngela is my support system, and that my family cannot be there because they are working. I even added in that I am terminally ill to see if they would change their minds, but all I got was “I do not want to get fired,” which I thought was insensitive. The EMTs made several calls and finally decided to allow DeAngela to ride in the front of the ambulance on my way to radiation. 

At radiation I found out how much of my body is being radiated, and I was shown through dots marked on my skin to outline how far the radiation is going. Basically my whole left chest, about midway to my stomach, and then on the back of those markings too. So that is quite a bit of radiation some sensitive areas- some sensitive enough to get burnt already, after only seven rounds of radiation. I was surprised by this and asked if it was normal, but yes it is normal to get sunburnt from radiation (as I know first hand from my leg) but my left nipple? Yes, I will admit where I am sunburnt. As embarrassing as it is, it is the reality of some of the strange things that come with getting treated for cancer.

I also found out today from Rebecca, my ex-chemo buddy/ bridesmaid’s mother, that I will be having a videographer at my wedding. I am beyond stoked about that, so that this wedding can be shown to people and remembered forever and cherished by my family, as I did with my mom and dad’s wedding video.

Rebecca has so many connections that it never ceases to amaze me. She set me up with one of her friends (who is a hairdresser) who is going to be doing my hair and makeup for me the morning of the wedding. Rebecca also set me up with a salon called EllaBlue, and they offered to do any and all services that they provided for free! This amazed me, I am probably just going to go with a mani-pedi and get my eyebrows waxed (for the first time, and mind you, I have not plucked them while in the hospital so they are not up to par). Unless the salon owner insists that I get another treatment, that will be more than enough for me, it is so generous.

So I did have another major annoyance today. My afternoon nurse is extremely slow and hardly speaks English. It is frustrating trying to communicate my needs and medication. She is very nice but I am unsure of how educated she is in the field of nursing. I had incredibly bad heart burn and wanted to get some medication to help it feel better. She had suggested ambien, which just happens to be my sleeping medication, and I said, rather annoyed,” Uh, no that is for bedtime and it helps me sleep.” She also suggested miralax, which is a stool softener… Yeah not what I needed for my heart burn. Eventually my mom and I made her call the doctor and he prescribed me Tums, and I cannot stand Tums, I swear they make my stomach worse than anything else, it’s just the chalky taste of it and everything about it. Gross. Too bad my chemo buddy Andrew likes them, I have no clue how that is even possible, but whatever floats his boat I guess!

My mom arrived at around 6pm tonight with a gift of Taco Bell, just what I had ordered. I only ate one burrito due to my heartburn and refusal to take Tums, but I was happy nevertheless. She also surprised me with a gift from someone who I did not even know: a painting made by the famous David Garibaldi. Yeah, the guy who paints with music and was featured on America’s Got Talent. I also heard that he just got flown in a private jet to Jay-Z’s mansion in order to paint a picture for him. The picture I got is beautiful and has a message on the back for me that says, “Lauren: Live with passion and purpose. Hope stands for hold on. progress en route.” This was such an awesome gift that will be hanging on my wall as soon as possible. I cannot measure any gifts on a scale of what the best gifts are, because they all came from the hearts of ones who love me, and just having people think about me in such a positive way is fantastic enough for me. For people to go out of their way to make my life/wedding/day a little easier is such a blessing. I truly appreciate that in a way that no words (despite my pretty vast vocabulary, if you ask me) can ever explain. 

My brother also came to visit me in the hospital! I was so thankful to see him, because I missed him a lot, despite being easily overly annoyed by him. He was on a cruise to Alaska and Canada for a week, so he hasn’t been able to see the progress with the wedding planning or with my medical problems either. I was hoping he would come see me before I got released from the hospital. He brought back a few souvenirs for me. He brought a decent sized moose stuffed animal, and on its back tag happened to say “wish” on it somewhere, so I was touched, although I am sure that he did not notice it at all, but I still thought it was cute. He brought me a kind of gag gift of an eagle hat that flaps its wings when you pull on a string. Perfect for me because I am quite the goofy person and do weird things like that all the time. If you have seen my goofy and weird moments, consider yourself lucky! It is kind of a thing I do more around my good friends or if I am in a fantastic mood- like I am now! I will Snapchat funny pictures to my friends and fiance. My fiance and I kind of get into a war of who can make the ugliest faces or just weird facial expressions in general. This proves how comfortable I am with him, so I truly am marrying my best friend, whether it is in a traditional way or not.

So I am done for the night, but today was overall a pretty good day if you asked me! And I am getting closer and closer to being released from the hospital and being able to take an actual shower! Woohoo!