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.