August 15, 2004

port-a-cath, are you crazy?

I remember my first day of chemo very well. After all was said and done, the oncologist recommended 6 rounds of CHOP chemotherapy. That is a combination of four drugs, three to be given intravenously and the last prednisone to be taken orally. I went in on Feb. 24 2003 and was ready to roll. They give chemo through an IV which is kinda ironic because I always thought it was something given in some huge machine or something. I had all these horrorific images that were going through my mind of being strapped and and basically flogged with stuff that was going to make me really sick. That's the thing about chemo, it might be killing the cancer, but it also is killing every other good cell in your body as well. There is no immune support and I think that is why so many people end up getting really sick form the chemo even if they were not that sick from the cancer.
I happen to have poor veins so on my first round of CHOP it leaked out and created a huge burn on my arm, that is when they told me that I needed a port. OK no way I said. I already feel like a lab rat and you want to put something under my skin that looks like it is from Star Trek, no. But as we know in the medical world when they want you to do something they press on so needless to say I got the port. It was like a tiny button under my skin, and actually it was one of the best things I did during chemo it was great to not have to worry about being stuck with needles. And my hands were always free during treatment to read or do whatever. I highly recommend anti-nausea drugs when going through chemo, also if you can get pot it was extremely helpful. It helps with hunger, nausea and the prednisone jitters. Nurses were really great in making those suggestions. Remember this is just what I found to be useful other people might have different things they found helpful.
After the first treatment I came home and kept waiting for my hair to fall out. It took about two weeks then I just shaved it. I was pretty self conscious about the hair thing, but I wore scarves and hats. I had a wig but didn't really wear it that much, it was itchy. I believe at this time I truly was ready for the cancer journey I felt like I was right where I needed to be, and that I was going to be ok.

Posted by Monica L. at 09:35 PM

August 02, 2004

Why Me? An Inner Knowing

When the doctors finally figured everything out,( took about two weeks) I was told that I had Anapalstic Large T-Cell Lymphoma. What? I had heard of lymphoma before but had no idea what they were talking about. My cancer seems to only affect about 2% of people with NHL, and usually men over 65. I was a 33 yr. Old female, so needless to say the information was very limited. I found a great NHL group on yahoo where I could post questions and just talk to others going through lymphoma and that was really helpful.
When I was initially dx with cancer the one question that continually pops up in your mind is why me and what can I blame. Let's see I'm overweight, dye my hair, don't eat organic, need to exercise more, why do I have this disease, know one in my family has ever had lymphoma. The doctors had no real answers for me, they couldn't explain why. My research led me to eventually give-up on looking, it starts to drive you crazy after awhile. I finally came to the divine realization that the reason I had cancer was in some way because I had manifested it. For some reason in my life at this exact moment this was the experience that I needed to have a spiritual level it made sense where on the physical it seemed to surreal. What if this experience of having cancer was part of my life purpose, what if it was my life purpose? Those are big thoughts, and I started to realize that I had to go through this, and that I could do it and that I would be fine. I also began to reflect on what I call and inner knowing.
For some reason in my life I would always have worries around cancer, and this was way before I was diagnosed. I would crack jokes and and make subtle statements consciously or unconsciously around the fact that one day I thought I would have cancer. A lot of my friends and family validated this for me, even to the point at times where my husband would get angry and tell me to stop and that I better watch my thoughts. I believe that we have an amazing ability to manifest in our lives. I also believe that our thoughts are extremely powerful and it is important to be conscious of what you think about in terms of health and everyday life experiences. Now it is important for me to say that this is my experience and how I feel and what I discovered. This may not at all be what other people who are faced with cancer experience, we are all unique in our lives and how we deal with illness.

Posted by Monica L. at 09:02 AM

July 29, 2004

You have the good cancer?

I remember at one point in the early stages of my diagnosis sitting around a table and the doctor telling me I had cancer but they were not sure what kind. They were checking me for breast, melanoma and lymphoma and if I was "Lucky" it would be lymphoma. Lucky, lucky to have cancer that just sounds so ironic, at the time I was thinking are you out of your mind?
One year later, I look at the experience in a whole different way, and I do feel lucky and when people ask me about my cancer I tell them what an amazing experience it was for me. I have changed a lot in the past year and half in many different ways. I know I am blessed for the experience that I have had and for some the experience is different and sometimes painful. We are all unique in how we experience life.
I would go to my cancer center and look around at all the different types of people and I could feel the fear and uncertainty that they were experiencing. When first diagnosed with cancer death is the first thought for a lot of people. But what I realized is cancer just brings on an awareness of our own mortality, nothing has changed regarding the fact that we are going to die, cancer just triggers a greater awareness of  fact. I started to realize during this time that I was probably more likely to die driving around in my car everyday then for the cancer to kill me. Nothing had changed. Death is always there. We never know when it's coming, and that is OK.


Posted by Monica L. at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)