Monday, July 27, 2009

such a wide, wide chasm of faith to leap

I remember back in February, this blog was slated to become my cancer update blog. I was having all these medical experiences I'd never had before (really: who's had a PET scan?) and wanted to talk about it. But then I was too lazy, so it got wiped off that slate.

And really, I don't talk about it that often. Sometimes it's nice to pretend that it's not the only cool thing about me. (I was going to say "Requisite sneaky complaint: check." But then I remembered what this post's probably going to be about. So there's more where that came from.) However, the sad truth is, it's pretty much my entire life right now. And that's what we do in blogs. The boring ones, at least. Talk about our lives.

So, here ya go. A bunch of random stuff about my life now, as it pertains to my treatment.

~I'd spent my entire life thinking I was A+ blood type. Come time for my first transfusion (I've had 7 now -- donate blood!!) we found out I'm actually O+. Who knew?

~I am a master of finding my drinking glass at night. We recently bought these silly clear cups, so that makes them pretty much invisible in the dark. To me, at least, since I've never met anyone with worse eyesight. (Still one of my points of pride!) But somehow, I've never spilled. My hand just magically knows where to go. I'm going to jinx it, huh.

~Every conceivable part of me has lost weight. I finally dropped below 100 lbs, and I practically had a tantrum there on the scale. I'm talking my ears have probably lost weight and everything.

~My hair's coming out again. When I was at the hospital over the weekend, I kept getting eyelashes and eyebrows all over my glasses. And I have bald patches on my head, but that's mainly because I keep pulling it...this is hard to explain to people. Some few of my acquaintance had the opportunity to pull it out when it was longer than 1/3 inch, and they'd understand. It's addicting. And I'm okay with my hair being different lengths of that much.

~I got a lot of weird side-effects from chemo that nobody at the hospital had ever heard of. I got these peculiar brown stripes on my stomach, and a similarly styled image of a bandaid on my arm, and my elbows are really dark. Plus sometimes my feet burn off. No one ever told us about that. Even the side effects that I'm supposed to get, like mouth sores, come in weird. My jaw swells up. They all look at me like I'm an alien. My body's amazing!

~No, really, my body's amazing. You take things for granted, like an awesome heart and lungs -- which I hope to still have when this is over. And the way my surgery site healed up so awesome (except for that one little part -- c'mon bug, I wanna be able to submerge my leg). All these things I can't take credit for.

~I hate talking about my hospital experiences, because it makes me nauseous. Usually right before and right after, but why risk it?

~I think the ice cream truck just drove by. We didn't have one of those when I was a kid. Did it seriously come up our street? It must be lost. Um...there's a kid sitting in the back. Should I be concerned?

~Okay, so, my siblings? They think my walking assistance devices are so fun. Whenever I'm lounging about (which, let's face it, happens a lot more often than anything else) they'll pick them up and play with them. And ... sometimes leave them far away. Not on purpose, I believe.

~By the way...anonymous gifts/letters are really annoying. I wish I hadn't been so busy in March, or I would've done some serious handwriting analysis.

~Can't remember if I've said much about my tattoos. Well, there's not much to tell, besides the pain worse than a bee sting to get them. And that I have 'em.

~Guys, once my radiation burn healed up, it's been so fun! It's like a constantly peeling sunburn, without hurting. I wonder if it would look so very tan if I weren't so "constantly inside" complexioned right now.

~Right below my left collarbone is my port. It is the cyborg machinery they inserted inside me in order to pump me full of poison. And blood, when the need arises. It is a little metal disk just under the skin. Back when it was cold, and I would shiver, my port would totally shiver too, and spasm, and feel like it was trying to jump back out. Slightly creepy? Luckily I think it's grown to my ... whatever innards are right there and I only have to worry when I get hugged really tightly and it pops out of alignment. Which doesn't do anything, except for a while I have a crooked metal disk sticking up instead of a flat one. If they needed to poke me (you access it with a needle, of course) they could do it just fine.

~Oh yeah, I'm glad I was never afraid of needles. Do I love getting shots and blood draws twice a week? No, but I don't freak out. Especially not now. My arm veins are a little bit hashed, but I don't have to do it much longer!

~Everyone keeps accusing me of getting my nails done. Never! I just happened to get a really opaque white stripe one round and it's finally grown up to the top. And I don't think I would be pleased if I did get my nails done and they looked like that. Pretty sure they can make them look better than that...

~Sometimes I act really pathetic. But I feel like there's really just one thing that I'm consistently pathetic about, and it's something that was going on way before I was diagnosed. And, er, I'm too embarrassed about it to admit what it is. *wince*

On that note, which wandered off the Wonders of Cancer Treatment and onto paths that will remain untrodden on this blog, let's end. This is more than enough, though I'm sure if I left it for another day I'd come up with some more.

Have a great day, everyone!

"Soon Love Soon" ~ Vienna Teng

[P.S.: I had a typically hard time finding a good subject line for this post. My first choice has already been used! But luckily before I found that out I'd already found a bunch of possibilities. Here are the runners-up, since I'm unlikely to use them for any other post.

blind, only my hands to guide me ~ now three
i'll tap into your strength and drain it dry - my medea

And now you see why!]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

we dance through the colors both followed and led

Last night my beautiful Silvey returned to me, in marvelous condition. My pop's technician not only fixed the snapped-off screen, but cleaned off the keyboard/fan/screen/everything I'd been too lazy to take care of, AND gave me some more memory. So I'm one blissfully happy camper, and I don't know if I want to get a new computer at the end of the summer yet.

That's not terribly relevant, but I am pleased.

Today, I think I want to talk about ... dancing.

Dancing? Really? Okay, random topic generator inside my brain, if you say so.

Sometimes, I get told something and, no matter what I was told before or told after, I do that for the rest of my life. For example, in 9th grade my Advanced Chorus teacher Mr. Elpus told us that the proper singing posture was to sit with one leg tucked underneath you and the other flat on the floor. Since then, when sitting up straight in preparation to sing, I have always put my leg that way, even if the accepted posture in that choir class was different.

Similarly, when I finally learned in my Social Dance class that my hand goes on the fella's upper arm instead of on his shoulder, that was the end of stake-dance-accepted dancing for life. I dance, I put my hand on his upper arm. You know, at that one muscle. At least, that's what I think my natural inclination is. I just realized, I haven't danced with anyone for two years.

Are. You. Serious.

Two years?? Well. Uh.

That's embarrassing.

Unfortunately, I'm not likely to be dancing with anyone anytime soon, either. (Yes! A very subtle and sneaky complaint about my singleness!) That's not a subtle (or even sneaky) complaint about my singleness (whatever the parentheses say) -- though it could be construed as a complaint about not being able to walk or dance at all...

But hey. I guess that's something to look forward to in future, though, right? I mean, if nothing else I'll conform to local tradition and have a nice little dance with my husband at our reception. Then I can test out my hypothesis that I don't put my hand on people's shoulders.

Which is weird. Does anyone know why we're supposed to put our hand on that one muscle rather than their shoulder?

Anyway, still can't get over the fact that I haven't been cool enough to get asked to dance for so long. Ah, March 20, I might've enjoyed you.

I love dancing. :) I'm so excited to bust a move (with or without a partner[1]) when I'm no longer in danger of busting a leg.

That may be it for me tonight! Have a great day.

"Eric's Song" ~ Vienna Teng

[1] Okay, I realize that it is the opinion of some few that the group dancing phenomenon is another example of society's depravity (Kyra, that word was for you) and should be discouraged at all occasions of class (I'm paraphrasing and extrapolating here, but I'm not too worried about ramifications); however, I am still classless enough to really enjoy it, if the music is acceptable.

Friday, July 3, 2009

gotta leave gotta bleed, you've gotta stop lying still 'cause this is no kind of life

There are so many amazing -- hold on, it's impossible to blog with one hand...there we go -- Vienna Teng lyrics in the world (especially with a new album, whose lyrics I have yet to plumb much). But I have had such a hard time thinking of apt ones for my posts. So sad.

I'll work on that.

Thursday was a bad day. What with waking up as the "grumpy chipmunk girl," Lupron shot (2-inch needle, not even joking), blood draw, being in such a hurry to grab the basin and toss my cookies that I knocked over my hot chocolate all over the carpet, having another blood draw, and not having any immune system at all (and most of this happened before noon), I was really unfortunate.

But there were some notable good things about this day! So I'm going to talk about those.

(Oh, but first, I also had physical therapy Thursday morning. And to think I used to love Thursdays!)

My mother decided she'd put the video entitled "Leslie Toddling" on DVD, and I was in charge of the chapter breaks. So I got to vaguely pay attention to myself as an especially cute baby (complete with blond curls) for a few hours.

I was talking to my friend Jonathan and found out something pretty cool. Um, about an anagram that really will interest no one else besides me, but I reacted very much resembling "That's clever. I wish my family was that clever." The end. Well, I counted it as a good thing that happened, in that morning of really unfortunate occurrences.

And my friend Kristie came to visit! She listened patiently to all my medical stories (it is unfortunate, but I really don't have a whole lot else to talk about). And she gave me a book. I did miss Fetch because of it, but that's okay.

...That's about all I can remember. Besides the obvious I continued breathing, my legs and arms didn't fall off, etc.

Yesterday was better because I got a transfusion. And also my mouth swelling went down and I could actually eat food besides pudding. (it was worse because the shot in my leg has caused me such exquisite pain that I ... can't move my leg. You don't realize how often you use your quads until one of them is bruised right next to the bone. Look how good a complainer I am! I could be a professional whiner!)

So that's been my life the last couple of days. I've been thinking about being patriotic, but I'm pretty patriotic year-round (relatively). Last night at Logan fireworks I opted not to walk across the street to watch them. I went to bed. I could hear the booms nicely, but I was on the wrong side of the room to see anything. And my glasses were off. And my family just got back from the parade, and I also decided not to go to that either. I am wearing my bright-red KU 2008 NCAA Champions shirt (woohoo). But I guess that's the extent of it this year.

Mainly I'm panicking about the way Silvey's screen has half snapped off. Can I make this computer last two more months until I buy a new one? It looks iffier and iffier. Sad, because it was really in almost okay condition (meaning, I thought I'd really make it the rest of the summer) until I pulled the screen back too far...and then Spencer moved my computer to plug it in. (I can blame him because he put it upside-down, and if he'll do that he'll utilize all sorts of less-than-gentle handling, right?)

Well, this is a bright and cheerful blog post. I'm doing well -- standing up causes fewer throes of agony, and I can open my mouth, and Annalisse and Terik just came and entertained me for like two hours -- I just like to complain. I'm like the anti of those cheerful cancer patients you see that nobody ever hears say a negative word. But I pretty much just have a goal to not be as bad as that old lady I saw in radiation one day. I'm succeeding at that. :)

Now, for a "thought." Patriotically, and because two of my sisters marched in the band today, here is my little tidbit of wisdom. Well, hardly wisdom. It is simply a tidbit of stuff. And here goes: Four years at BYU, and I don't know the fight song at all. I, um, never even went to an athletic performance (you know, a game). What kind of student was I? I mean, really. However, I am proud to state that I still know the Mountain Crest fight song in its entirety. I will sing it for you now. (To hear an audio version of the lyrics, contact me.)

We sing all hail to you from Mountain Crest, the school that's rising to the top. We are the Mustangs and we're rising high, for we know we can't be stopped. We've got the teams, we've got the spirit, the students and the faculty, and we are pressing on together toward our goal of victory. We're number one! We are the best! So everybody step aside for Mountain Crest! Rah-rah! We're on our way to fame and glory so let our colors proudly fly. Let's all unite to tell our story, all you who hail from Mountain Crest High! Go!

Yep. Still inordinately proud of that. But it's an awesome fight song! And we were an awesome school! (Second place is really not all that bad.) The end.

"Hope On Fire" ~ Vienna Teng