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Con limón y sal



Bilingual blog of a girl with cancer. Blog bilingüe de una chava con cáncer.



Updated: 2017-06-17T00:17:14.601-07:00

 



June Makes Me Think of Cancer

2015-06-20T18:10:40.080-07:00

Sweet Miss BekahJune makes me think of cancer. I don’t forget cancer for the rest of the year, but particularly in June it sneaks in to occupy my quiet moments and brings it all back to the forefront.  It’s a good thing.  I remember how lucky I am, how differently things could have gone, and how beautiful and perfect my life is, even if at times it seems otherwise.  Perspective. Gratitude.  Gravity.  These are the gains.  There were great costs and significant losses, but none of it can be undone, and we must learn to love what we have and appreciate its value.  I am well on my way to reaching that goal.  The old wounds still sting a bit, but I am blessed to have many years to let them continue to heal and for the scars to fade and melt into memory.This year, the day before the seventh anniversary of the stem cell transplant that saved my life, marked the first anniversary of the loss of a very dear cancer sister, Bekah Furey.  She was a bright and brilliant young woman, gifted with boundless wisdom and a truly lovely soul.  If there are words to accurately describe her beauty and grace, I don’t pretend to know them.  She is missed beyond measure.  She is loved beyond measure.Cancer has touched the lives recently of people I care about.  While this month I celebrate living with cancer in the rear view, many are dealing with it head on, and most of us will, in one way or another.  According to the National Cancer Institute, 39.6% of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/statistics).  I sincerely hope that you aren’t included in that nearly 40% of us, but if it isn’t you, it’ll be someone you know and love...and in either case, what do you do?  You do everything you can do.  If it’s you, you do everything the doctors tell you.  Everything your body tells you.  Everything your heart tells you.  You do it all.  You are stronger than you know.  If it’s someone you love you make sure they have everything they need to do all of that.  AND, you tell them...in person, in writing, in an email, in a hand-written (gasp!) note, in any way you can and as often as you can, that you love them, that you’re thinking of them, that they are strong and beautiful, that this seriously sucks, that you want it to get better, that you are scared that it won’t and you know they are too, that it’s ok to be afraid, that it’s ok to be angry, that you are on your way over with a movie, that you wish you could do more, that you are right there with them.Bekah did that for me.  She did it for so many of us...too many to know or count.  I just read through all of her emails and blog comments and forum responses….and I cried and cried.  I might still be crying a little, but don’t tell anyone.  She made me know that she was there, even though she was a thousand miles away, and that she was holding my hand and that we were in it together.  Some choice quotes from Miss Bekah: “Knock it down one day at a time, cupcake, we’re all cheering you on.”“Somehow, I’m not sure how, but we find a way to reach into our souls, and the strength of others...to find a new, better, improved life.”“You CAN and WILL do this.  You already are.  So proud of you.”"Big hugs to you - you're on my mind for next week, babe."“God, we are superwomen.”“Here’s to surviving, little black dresses, small celebrations, and life, my dear.” She is cherished beyond measure.--El mes de junio me hace pensar en el cáncer.  No logro olvidarme del cáncer el resto del año, pero especialmente en junio el tema se me entra en la mente y ocupa mis momentos de silencio y toda esa experiencia se me viene a la actualidad en un instante.  Es bueno eso.  Me hace recordar lo afortunada que soy, lo diferente que todo podría haber sido habiendo diferentes circunstancias, y lo bella y perfecta que es mi vida, aunque a vece[...]



Dear 7N / Estimado 7N

2009-12-18T08:40:38.113-08:00

Dear 7N,My new daily commute now includes a 7:00am trip westbound on the Banfield into town, and as I round the bend after the 53rd Avenue overpass, I see your tower quietly waking behind the cloud of steam that rises from the generators below. I can pick out the seventh floor easily…I know it well, from the inside and out. Most of the lights in the Cancer Center are still off at that early hour, but there are almost always several lighting the morning commute from the seventh floor. When I took up temporary residency with you, mine was always one of them. I remember those mornings with a shudder, a tear, and such clarity that it’s hard to believe that more than a year and a half have passed since I spent the first one waking up to a beeping IV machine, a dose of Dilaudid to ease the pain, and vitals and weight check visit from a gentle CNA. Sitting here writing this still makes my heart rate rise with nervous energy.I see your morning lights, and, if traffic is slowing my trip, I count them and sigh - there are always too many. Too many people spending too many nights and mornings and the longest days that have ever passed in the history of days in your tower. It’s a lovely tower, and your staff do absolutely the most extraordinary work, but I’d rather no one have to stay with you. I’d rather you be a lonely abandoned tower with no patients, or, better yet, to have never been built at all. But sadly, there you sit.It’s a week before Christmas. I thought that spending the beautiful summer locked in the tower was torture…seeing the sun, missing out on all the good summer times, watching the news reports of the gorgeous weather and smiling children playing at local parks and rivers…but Christmas wins the contest for the worst time to be in the cancer ward for sure.I know I haven’t been by to see you…and I should, I am healthy and happy and pregnant. You would be pleased. It’s not you, it’s me. Once I get up the nerve to stare my PTSD in the face and take the elevator ride up, I will come visit you and let you rub my expanding belly. It’s a girl, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s partly yours. You don’t have to pay child support or anything, but you deserve some visitation at a minimum. I will make it there, I promise.In the meantime, please give your patients the following message:Dear 7N Temporary Residents,I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m sorry you got cancer, I’m sorry you still have it, and I’m sorry it’s the holidays and you’re not home. I carry a tattered and worn membership card to the cancer club in my wallet, was also once assigned a 700 room number for far too many days, and have walked a mile around that 7N loop in those slippers pushing that IV pole. I don’t know what will happen, if everything will be ok or not, but please know this: I drive past the Cancer Center every morning and I think about you, and hope that you get to go home soon like I did. Stay strong, Cancer Brothers and Sisters, take good care of yourselves, and remember that there are lots of us here on the outside thinking about you.Much love,Darcy DavidsonFormer 7N Temporary ResidentEstimado 7N,Mi viaje mañanero al trabajo ahora incluye un tramo por la autopista 84 hacia el oeste con toda la demás gente que trabaja en el centro, y después de pasar por debajo del puente de la avenida cincuenta y tres, veo tu torre despertándose tranquilamente tras de la nube de vapor que sale de los generadores abajo. Reconozco con facilidad el séptimo piso aún así de lejos, pues lo conozco bien por dentro y por fuera.La mayoría de las luces en el centro de cáncer permanecen apagadas a esa temprana hora, pero siempre hay varias que iluminan el tráfico mañanero desde el séptimo piso. Cuando tenía mi residencia temporal contigo, mi luz siempre era de esas que estaban prendidas temprano. Recuerdo esas mañanas con un escalofrío, una lágrima, y tanta claridad que me resulta difícil creer que haya pasado más de un año y medio que pasé mi primera mañana despe[...]



'Bright-Sided': When Happiness Doesn't Help - Barbara Ehrenreich

2009-10-15T12:36:05.593-07:00

'Bright-Sided': When Happiness Doesn't Help - Barbara Ehrenreichhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113758696I encourage you to listen to this interview. Her book is on my Christmas list. I could not agree more with this woman, and wish her book had come out a year or two ago when this was my reality. Positive thinking is a fine coping mechanism if it comes naturally to you, but it’s not everyone’s way. It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to stay angry. I’m still angry.Unfortunately, positive thinkers die every day, just as much as angry realists do survive every day. Let’s not devalue the struggle of those who have lost their lives to disease by jumping to the erroneous conclusion that putting on a happy face will save you. It just won’t – it’s not that easy. I wish it was. After someone dies of cancer, no one ever says “well, if they had only been more positive about it.” You know that’s absurd. Support the people you love and let them cope however they can.You might say “But positive thinking can’t hurt….” and go on with that mantra. That’s just not true. Positive thinking can hurt when you don’t feel like thinking positively, you have no reason to, and yet you feel an immense pressure to do so for others to feel better about the whole thing. I can tell you from my experience that I didn’t have even one iota of extra energy to put into one more extra thing. Don’t ask people to do that. It’s hard enough to be sick – it’s impossible, daunting, and stressful to take on the extra work of putting on an act to convince everyone else that you’re thinking positively and that everything’s going to be just fine. And by the way, I’m doing just fine. 'Bright-Sided': When Happiness Doesn't Help - Barbara Ehrenreichhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113758696Si hablas o entiendes inglés, te recomiendo mucho que escuches esta entrevista. Su libro está en mi lista de deseos de navidad. Desde que mi vida fue volteada por el cáncer, yo he tenido esta postura, y no podría estar más de acuerdo con esta chingonería de vieja…escribe y habla con una precisión, certeza, y honestidad impactante. Ojalá y su libro hubiera salido hace un año o dos cuando todo esto era mi realidad. El pensamiento positivo es un mecanismo perfectamente adecuado si te nace sentirlo y creerlo, pero no es el camino de todos. No hay nada malo de estar enojado. No hay nada malo de quedarte enojado. Yo hasta la fecha sigo enojada.La cruel realidad es que desafortunadamente, los pensadores positivos mueren diariamente de cáncer, curiosamente a la misma frecuencia, sobreviven los realistas enojados. Una cosa no tiene nada, nada que ver con la otra. De esto habla esta mujer y su libro…que aparte de ser una creencia ilógica pero común, ahora es científicamente comprobado que la actitud positiva y las sonrisas y fortaleza emocional de una persona simplemente no tienen nada que ver con la probabilidad de que sobrevivan la enfermedad. Esto ha sido mi mensaje. No hay que devaluar la lucha de los que han perdido su vida a la enfermedad por llegar a la conclusión errónea de que el sonreír y el creer que todo va a salir súper bien te pueden salvar. Lo siento, pero no funciona así. Ojalá y así fuera de fácil…me daría mucho gusto. Cuando alguien se muere de cáncer, nadie, nadie dice: “pues sabes, si hubiera sido más positivo esto no hubiera pasado…” Sabemos que esa noción es absurda. Te pido que mejor, apoyes a las personas que quieres y dejes que lidien con lo que les haya tocado vivir como puedan.Ya sé, van a venir con que “Pero el pensamiento positivo no hace daño, ¿por qué no hacerlo?” Y les contesto con esto: El pensamiento positivo SI que puede dañar cuando uno no se siente con ganas de ser positivo, cuando no tiene ninguna razón por sentirlo, y cuando siente una inmensa presión de sentir así para que otros puedan sentirse mejor de todo el asunto. Les puedo [...]



Green Light/Luz verde

2009-05-26T16:54:32.541-07:00

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The scan was completely clean. Yessssssssss.

More later...I'm still chewing on the words to capture my thoughts and feelings...

La tomografìa saliò completamente limpiaaaaaa. Escribo más en unos días que todavía estoy masticando las palabras exactas para capturar mis pensamientos y sentimientos...y la alegría que por el momento es difícil cuantificar.



Scanxiety/Tomografansiedad

2009-05-06T07:11:07.889-07:00

My next scan is scheduled for a day between now and the end of the month (I will refrain from giving an exact date – I don’t want to be asked about it or infect you with my high scanxiety…I’ll just let you know once it’s over). It’s crazy how much the upcoming scan terrifies me. Crazy that from one moment to the next life could shift from working, studying, and planning babies and summer barbeques to scheduling treatment, preparing for pain, and coping with the severe disappointment of living a short life. How is it possible that one procedure makes that big of a difference in my whole world? Doesn’t seem right, does it?Anyone who has walked this road knows the feeling. The stakes are just so high it’s an incredible feat even to walk in the door to the radiology department and check in. “Hi, I’m here to find out whether or not I’m dying.” “Sure, have a seat and read an outdated magazine – we’ll call you in a minute.” The last time I went in the nurse commented on how “easy” I was…I didn’t flinch when they poked me to get a line in, didn’t complain when they needed to redo part of the scan, didn’t mention the burning sensation of the contrast dye…I was just barely holding it together, I couldn’t be distracted from my concentration or I would have had a panic attack right then and there. But I held it together…and then that was it – “follow the signs to the lobby right through there.”Oh, but here comes the worst part – you know nothing still. You leave there no better than when you went in because you don’t know anything more than you did, and now you have to wait. My oncologist is amazing, however, and always, always calls me as soon as he has the results. Only then can you breathe and deal. Even the time they called to tell me I had a dirty scan I felt better after they called than before. I would be happy if they could knock me out, do the scan, and not wake me up until they knew the results. Seems like it wouldn’t be too much to ask…though I speculate the insurance company may disagree.The anxiety is intense, and as the day gets closer it will only get worse. Prior to every scan I have had after my initial treatment, I have suffered from night sweats, aches, and general malaise for weeks beforehand. To be clear – I suffered from these symptoms before clean scans and the same symptoms before a dirty scan…so they aren’t really telling of anything, except of some seriously frayed nerves. I get anxious about every little ache and pain, question every body temperature change, and sob when I wake up from a bad dream in a cold sweat. I am going to give myself a fucking ulcer. Wow, when did I become this person? People like this are so annoying. I’m so annoyed.The temptation to blow the whole thing off and forget doctors and scans forever is strong. Why put myself through this? Fuck it. Oh, but no. This time we took it to another level altogether because a clean scan means much more than not having cancer. This time a clean scan is a free hall pass to the baby doctor and a chance at motherhood. This time it’s really a big deal, and I will remember this one for better or for worse for the rest of my life. That’s kind of a lot of pressure…a whole lot of pressure.Mi próxima tomografía está programada para un día antes del fin de este mes – no les voy a decir exactamente cuándo porque no quiero que nadie me pregunte y tampoco quiero contagiarles mi tomografansiedad…yo les avisaré, lo prometo. Es una pinche locura el pavor que provoca en mí esta tomografía. Una locura que de un momento a otro mi vida podría cambiar de trabajar, estudiar, ir a clases, planear bebés y celebraciones de verano a programar tratamientos, prepararme para el dolor, y lidiar con la decepción inmensa de vivir una vida demasiado corta. ¿Cómo es posible que un pequeño estudio cambie todo así? No me parece justo.Cualquiera que haya vivido este viaje del cán[...]



The Story of My Neck/La historia de mi cuello

2009-05-04T02:39:00.104-07:00

My neck and upper chest have been through a lot in the last few years…so here it is in photos for all you curious folk. Here’s a note to all those with cancer – if you are going to have IV chemo, get a port. Simple. Looks gross, feels kinda gross, but you will be glad you did it.Mi pobre cuello y la parte de arriba de mi pecho han sobrevivido mucho abuso en los últimos años, y aquí está a todo color para que lo puedan ver. Una nota para todos que tengan cáncer – si te van a hacer la quimioterapia, insiste en que te pongan un “reservorio” o “portacat” (que es un dispositivo que se coloca justo debajo de la piel y tiene un catéter que va a la vena subclavia para que entre la medicina directita al corazón (o bien cerquita pues). Facilita increíblemente el proceso…se ve un poco extraño y es otra cicatriz, pero vale la pena, créenme.2/1/2007 – Sent these two pictures to my mom. I was living in Guanajuato, Mexico at the time and noticed that the cute little sexy depression between my collar bones had disappeared and something had taken its place…I wanted to see if she thought it was something I should worry about or if she thought I was being paranoid and silly. Silly me. Look at that…that’s what cancer looks like…isn’t that insane? Gross. Eventually it started pushing backward and affected my breathing and swallowing. I had the biopsy shortly after, and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on 2/15/07.1/2/07 – Le mandé estas fotos a mi mamá…era cuando estaba viviendo en Guanajuato, y había notado que el espacio entre los huesos del cuello se me había llenado de algo. En el correo que le mandé le pregunté que si pensaba que debería de ir con el doctor o si pensaba que estaba preocupándome por nada. Qué locura, no? Mira la foto…eso es cáncer creciendo en mi pecho, saliendo para que todos lo vean. Eventualmente empezó a crecer más y me afectaba al respirar o pasar comida. El 15 de febrero me dieron el diagnóstico de linfoma tipo Hodgkin.Before/AntesAfter/Después8/2007 – After 8 treatments of intravenous ABVD chemo, the veins in my arms were shot. I went for my 9th treatment and they sent me home after five nurses tried to get a line in. Chemo was also painful when it went directly into the veins in my arms…the last one of the drugs…(D is for Dacarbazine – anyone feel like writing a book with me?) really burned the inside of my veins, and even with lidocaine and ice packs I couldn’t stand the pain after a while. They’d slow down the bag, and a half an hour of unbearable pain turned into an hour and a half of really uncomfortable pain. I wish they would have just knocked me out. Even today as I remember those days it makes me tear up…there was nothing I could do to make it stop, and there was nothing they could do to make it better, and we just had to do it. The port solved that issue (drugs go into bigger veins and are diluted faster – no pain). So here’s the port after the port placement – it’s a “power” port which means that it is a little cooler than regular ones because it can take a power injection (like the ones they use for CT scans) and it also makes you fly. Straight up.8/2007 – Después de 8 tratamientos de quimioterapia ABVD, las venas en mis brazos se habían chingado por completo…ya no servían para nada. El día que fui para el noveno tratamiento me mandaron a casa después de que 5 enfermeras no pudieron ponerme el catéter en la vena. Fue una semana de vacaciones de la quimio, pero había que hacer algo. También, siempre me dolía mucho la quimio “D” (dacarbazine) de la mezcla…dolía un chingo, pero un chingo. Me hacía llorar del dolor…me ponían anestesia local en la piel, me ponían hielo, pero nada, nada, nada ayudaba. Un martirio fue…y hasta la fecha me da escalofrío pensar en la desesperación que sentía porque me dolía hasta la madre y no había nada que hacer al respe[...]



On the news/En las noticias

2009-03-12T23:27:14.543-07:00

Hey guys....so I got to be on the news tonight talking about frozen babies, sweet!

Quibole! Salí hoy en las noticias hablando de los bebés congelados....chéquenlo:

Muchos besos!



Hugs



Decisions/Decisiones

2014-11-05T08:32:17.347-08:00

First of all, look at Polo and his bunny...seriously, Polo?  You're too much.Second, the update:I had a CT scan about a week ago, and that afternoon Dr. M's assistant called me back to say that the report showed no signs of the Hodgkins and that everything looked great. She said the Dr. hadn't looked at it yet, but that he would call me if there was anything he wanted to talk to me about before my appointment the following week. No call - no news is good news, to borrow a phrase, and all is good.Then, I went to my check up appointment last Wednesday (after already knowing everything was fine on the scan) for bloodwork, Dr. M's scan analysis, and an update to the plan, future scans, etc. So they call me back to the lab for the bloodwork, and the technician looks at the computer and asks me "So did you have some radiation treatment?" And I responded, "Um, no. Why?" "Well, he's ordered thyroid function tests...that's weird..." and her voice trailed off...This is how fucked up cancer is. I already KNEW there was nothing on the scan. But, immediately I was on the verge of a panic attack...heart beating out of control...sweating...thinking: "Oh are you fucking kidding me? Now I have thyroid cancer? What the fuck. Is that treated with just radiation? Or chemo too? They're going to take it out and I'll have to take medication for the rest of my life. But at least it's like the most curable cancer there is...wait, I already had the supposed "good cancer" once and that fucked me over...are you fucking kidding me? Why didn't he call me?" And I swear to you that I had already decided that I couldn't deal with it that day, and that I was just going to tell the technician that I had to go and call later to resschedule and talk to the Doc.Then she comes over and starts laying things out to stick me, I know I looked like I was goign to vomit, and I said "So the thyroid tests..." and she responded "Oh, I just saw that he has been ordering them for you routinely all along, no biggie, sweetie." Oh, no biggie? Oh cool. Then keep your mouth shut, will you? Geez.That's how fucked up it is. It's so fucked up that you go from being completely fine to losing your shit in a split second in response to fairly benign (if you'll excuse the term) commentary. Ugh.So then I collect myself and wait for the doctor. Calm. I am fine, totally fine.He concurs. Everything looks good, you are doing great, etc etc etc. He's optimistic that this will be a good year, etc etc etc. Then comes the talk. I want to know when we can have a baby. He says his recommendation would be ideally to wait until two years after the transplant...or minimally one year. He said that a relapse while pregnant would not be good. Being pregnant would complicate things and limit treatments. He broke it down with statistics roughly in the following way: Once you actually make it throught the transplant and get out of the hospital - 50% chance of relapse-free recovery, at 7 months post transplant (now) - 60% chance of relapse-free recovery, at 1 year - 70%, at 2 years - 80%, and so on and so forth (not exact stats, but you get the idea). So, basically, just based on the whole cancer thing, he says to wait.I told him I don't actually want to wait. I have put a lot, a lot of thought into this (ie - before you send me some kind of judgmental response, think about it first), have gone from one extreme to the other on the decision spectrum on this issue, and I am positive that I don't want to wait.I explained my position to him: It's pretty simple...I am healthy now. Having a baby is something that I want to do, or at least try to do, and I am absolutely not willing to budge on that. It's an experience I want to have. I know I will be a good mama. I am either going to relapse or I'm not, and getting pregnant won't actually change that. If I waited, and relapsed before I got pregnant, it would greatly[...]



The list/La lista

2008-10-21T11:16:29.967-07:00

Chemotherapy killed my fingernails…back when the fingernails you see (right hand…left hand was left unscathed…crazy shit) were hidden under the skin, there was a break in their growth caused by the chemicals that also took my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and soul, and now they are being pushed out by the new healthy nails. This is a painful process. The old nails are (were) still stuck to the skin, but not attached to the new nail growth…so they crack, and any pressure on them feels like they are being pulled off with pliers. It has basically rendered my right hand almost completely useless for most fine-motor skill functions – opening things, writing, scratching, picking, etc, etc, etc. Thankfully, over the past couple of weeks, the nails on my pointer, middle, and ring fingers have managed to catch themselves on something – blanket, carpet, clothes, dog’s fur – and be wincingly pulled off unexpectedly. Though each one caused a significant outcry of obscenities, and even a tear or two, I’m thankful that they can now move on and get on with their lives. The thumb, however, still has a ways to go….there’s still quite a bit of nail-skin contact there, and it looks like it’s going to be a while. It hurts. This is number 156 on the list of things they didn’t tell me about cancer before I signed up for this bullshit. Number 157 is that the list will never end.It is 1:17am, and I have to be up at 6:00am. What, you might ask, the fuck am I doing? Why don’t I take another pill and doze off to a drugged sleep for a few hours? Number 158 – you’ll never sleep again. Not like you used to….Let me paint you a picture of what’s going through my head as I’m in bed, lights out, trying to get to sleep…“Is that my hip? The bone, is that pain or is it just stiff? Why is it so hot in here? There’s a lump when I swallow…is that always there? Jesus. It’s back. It’s not going to end until I’m dead. They’ll tell me they can put me on a drug trial, or they can do another transplant…and I’ll tell them to fuck off, and I’ll leave, and I’ll go sit on the fucking beach in the sun to die like some bullshit movie. Fuck it. I’ll eat what I want, I’ll drink and smoke cigarettes all day long. I’ll max out my credit cards, sell all my shit, and spend the rest of my life and money dying in self-gratifying misery. I can’t though. There’s people involved…people who I love and people who would be hurt. So I’ll stay. I’ll do the fucking trial, or I’ll get the transplant, and I’ll suffer, and cry, and vomit. I’ll never do what I want, and I’ll never be who I was, and everyone will remember me as the girl they knew who died of cancer.” And as warm tears run silently down my cheek onto the pillow I counter, “Don’t be fucking stupid. You’re fine. You’re fine. Get on with your life, rip that old fingernail off and stop obsessing. Things are going to be fine.” Wait though. “What if they’re not?” “I’m sweating, now I’m fucking sweating.” Jesus.And when the fuck does this conversation end? I don’t know…and I don’t know how to get to sleep. I can’t turn it off. It just keeps fucking playing….when I’m driving alone, when I’m at work, when I’m in the shower, or trying to sleep. I don’t understand how it will ever go away. The only thing I know how to do is to fill every quiet moment with action or busy work – work, school, dishes, laundry, cooking, shopping, gym…but what I really need is some fucking sleep.Number 159 – fuck is your new favorite word.La quimioterapia acabó con mis uñas. Hace tiempo, cuando las uñas que ves en la foto estaban todavía debajo de la piel del dedo, se cortó su crecimiento a causa de los químicos que también se llevaron mi cabello, pestañas, cejas, [...]



Clean/Limpio

2008-07-31T20:47:21.199-07:00

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Yesterday I had my post-transplant PET scan – and to save you the suspense…it’s clean…no sign of cancer. This is good, very very good…it means that the transplant has worked thus far, and I am cancer-free. I’ll have another set of scans in October, and then every six months after that for the next several years. I am not yet out of the woods – the first year is the sketchiest, and the fear and anxiety of a relapse will lay heavy on my shoulders for some time - but this victory is huge, and I will celebrate accordingly. Mmm hmm.

Ayer me hicieron los estudios pos-trasplante – y para ahorrarles el suspenso…todo salió completamente limpio…no hay rasgos de cáncer. Esto es excelente – significa que el trasplante ha funcionado hasta ahora, y que estoy libre de cáncer. Me harán estudios de nuevo en octubre, y de ahí en adelante cada seis meses por los siguientes varios años. Aunque no quisiera, esta noticia todavía no significa el fin de esto – el primer año es el más difícil, y el miedo y ansiedad de una recaída será un peso muy grande en mis hombros por algún tiempo – pero sí que es una enorme victoria, y prometo celebrarla debidamente.



I am from Troutdale, from me.

2014-11-05T20:01:41.524-08:00

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I went to my first class last night, and out of a 'getting to know you' writing activity the following poem was born. I kinda liked it...it may not be good, I'm not really a poet, but it is what it is and I suppose I too am what I am.

Fui a mi primer clase de la maestría ayer, y de una actividad de 'conociéndonos' nació el siguiente poema. Me gustó un poco...puede ser que no sea bueno, ya que bien sé que no soy poeta, pero es lo que es, y supongo que yo tambien soy lo que soy. Empecé a hacer una traducción, pero se pierde demasiado...perdónenme esta vez pero a veces hay cosas que no se vale traducirlas porque pierden su esencia...y su rima también.

I am from Troutdale, from me.


I am from smelt runs
and blackberry jam and pie;
I am from a sea of women
who taught me to live right.

I am from braces and glasses
and too many fat girl jokes;
I am from rebirth and renewal
and contact lenses and diet coke.

I am from Mexico,
at least most recently,
from tortillas to mole
to sweet hibiscus tea;

I am from growing up old
far from home’s feel;
I am from learning from new friends
to thrive valiantly.

I am from cancer and transplants
and breaking my whole;
I am from sarcasm and poker faces
and eyebrow stubble and teary hope.



Stubble/Pelitos

2008-07-16T22:07:45.685-07:00

I have spent the last two months wearing either pajamas, jeans and t-shirts, or any other comfort wear with little concern for looking presentable, so when I went out to lunch today with my mom I decided to step it up a notch and put on a cute little black dress and my favorite black heels – I even made an effort to carefully brush mascara onto my seven or eight eyelashes and powder my nose.The dress, my favorite hand-me-down from my grandmother, falls just at the knee when I’m standing, and shrinks up to mid thigh while I’m seated, and on the way home I was lazily driving one-handed, resting the other on my knee, when I noticed that if I ran my hand up my leg I could feel the slightest hint of stubble growing. At a stoplight I quickly checked under both arms – stubble. What a thrill…I remembered that the last time I shaved was in April just before my second round of ICE. So, I decided to get some coffee, and when I parked the car at the coffee shop, I carefully examined my face in the rear view mirror to find that if you look very, very closely at what is left of my eyebrows you can see little brown dots of the new baby brows that are about to sprout.Re-growth, rebirth, renewal, and the prospect of a hairy future made me smile for a moment…how wonderful for things to be trying to normalize…a sign that maybe this cancer nightmare is coming to a close. But then, just as it always does, reason lead me to recognize the déjà vu I am wandering through – I have seen those hairs grow back once before, and sobbed when they lost their will to hang on and left me bald and sickly. I have lived through the joy of “cure” and the wretched return of the enemy. I remember the day I left the doctor’s office – no more chemo, that was it….my mom and I celebrated with greasy Red Robin fare, my husband with seafood dinner and red wine, my girlfriends with champagne and three-buck-chuck…and then we all shared a tear when it came back.Is it wise to celebrate? I don’t know if I can handle the disappointment again. The first time around I said I’d never go through chemo again…knowing full well that I would, but hoping that my warning would scare it away. Nice logic, but it failed. This time there would be less of a concrete answer as to what to do about a relapse….it would require second, third, and fourth opinions, deep thought and consideration of the options, and shitty odds. It would mean a lot of scary things that I’m afraid to admit that I’m afraid of. “It’s not coming back,” you’ll say…oh but I have heard that before…and I was fooled.I won’t be fooled again, I won’t be surprised again…I will be cautious and sparing with my celebration dance, and I think you would be too. I don’t know how else to deal with this...so I won’t claim victory until I’m sure, knowing that I may never be.Still, when I’m alone, my fingertips are tempted, and careful not to be noticed, they gently graze over the stubble with sincere and humble hope.Durante los últimos dos meses, me la he pasado vestida de pijama, jeans y playeras, o cualquier otra ropa cómoda con poca preocupación por verme presentable, así que cuando salí hoy a comer con mi mamá, decidí romper con eso y me puse un vestidito negro y mis tacones negros favoritos – y hasta hice el esfuerzo de ponerle rímel a mis siete u ocho pestañas y ponerme polvito en la cara.El vestido, que era de mi abuela hace muchos años, me llega a la rodilla cuando estoy de pie, y se me sube hasta medio muslo cuando estoy sentada, y entonces cuando iba de regreso después de comer, iba con un chingo de güeva, con una mano en el volante y la otra en la rodilla, cuando me di cuenta de que cuando pasaba la mano por la pierna podía apenitas sentir un po[...]



In the news/En las noticias

2008-08-26T19:49:58.229-07:00

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This ad featuring me and my old super great hair will be coming out in this Sunday's Oregonian, so be sure to buy one, or steal your neighbor's, clip out my ad, and save it for all time.

The text reads:

"One year after my first diagnosis of stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I was feeling good. I was just getting my hair back, and then I got sick again.

When you have cancer, everything is overwhelming. Providence Cancer Center surrounds you with people who help you through it. My patient advocate helped me get financial assistance through Providence. My doctors created a state-of-the-art treatment plan, and my oncologist worked with fertility specialists to make sure children would still be an option for me in the future.

I’m a realist. I know that the rest of my treatment won’t be easy, but I want to make it through this, and I don’t want to forget who I was before. I was an English teacher. I am a wife. Someday, I want to be a mom.

Right now, I’m a patient at Providence Cancer Center. This isn’t who I want to be forever, but this is where I want to be right now.

– D, wife and daughter, Portland, Oregon"


Este anuncio, en el cual se destaca mi bellisimo ex-(y futuro) look, saldrá en el periódico el Oregonian este domingo. Es un anuncio que hice cuando hicieron el comercial para el hospital, y ya me escribieron y me pidieron permiso para publicarlo en el periódico...chidillo. Voy a comprar miles de periódicos y guardarlos para siempre :-)
Besos.

El texto dice:

"Un año después de mi primer diagnóstico de linfoma tipo Hodgkin, etapa cuatro, me sentía bien. Apenas se me empezó a crecer el cabello, y luego me enfermé de nuevo.

Cuando tienes cáncer, todo es muy abrumante. Providence Cancer Center te rodea de la gente que te ayuda a manejarlo. Mi asesor me ayudó a conseguir asistencia económica de Providence. Mis doctores crearon un plan de tratamiento de tecnología punta, y mi oncólogo trabajo con especialistas en fertilidad para asegurar que en el futuro tendría la posibilidad de tener hijos.

Soy realista. Sé que el tratamiento que me espera no va a ser fácil, pero quiero superarlo, y no quiero olvidar quien era antes. Fui maestra de inglés. Soy esposa. Algún día quiero ser mamá.

Ahora, soy paciente en Providence Cancer Center. No es lo que quiero ser para siempre, pero es en donde quiero estar por ahora.

- D, esposa e hija, Portland, Oregon"



My Pillow/Mi Almohada

2014-11-05T19:59:12.635-08:00

I'm home from the hospital, and things are going really well. I’m feeling pretty good, my blood counts are good, I’m eating better, I’m trying to get a little exercise everyday…overall things are good. I get tired really easily, which is very frustrating, because I’d really like to do things with all this spare time I have, but I have to sort of limit things to like one or two tasks per day….I swear after dishes and laundry I’m super exhausted and I have to sit and watch bad cable tv and rest. One day at a time I guess.After I got home, I got a call from the hospital to tell me I had left one of my pillows there – they said to just come by any time to pick it up. So on Monday when I went to see my oncologist for a check-up, I went over to the cancer center. I walked in, crossed the sky bridge, and stood by the elevators…waiting to push the button. The smell of hand sanitizer was overwhelming, and I turned around and walked back over the sky bridge to the exit…”can’t do it…I’ll go another day.” Then the price of gas came to mind, the exhaustion of coming again another day, and the fact that my pillow might get lost if I waited too long….and I went back over and pushed the button. The pillow pick up was uneventful, and I got out as fast as I could.I can’t describe how terrified I am of having to spend time there again...what it would mean to have one of those room numbers assigned to me again…pushing an IV pole down the halls in my pjs…waking up in the middle of the night desperately searching for the nurse button to call for pain medication or sedatives to go back to semi-sleep. I cried all the way home.I don’t know how I got through those days….but some thank yous are in order: first to Luis, who stayed with me almost every night and was always available for anything I needed, second to my mom who also spent many days and nights in room 718 with me, even when I was not in the most lovely or grateful of moods, to Anna, Megan, Julia, and Amy for always coming and hanging out like it was just cool to hang out at the hospital…I needed you and you totally came through for me, to Donna for the cookies and comfy clothes and taking care of my house, and everyone else who came to visit, sent cards, and so many e-mails...especially my peeps in Dolores Hidalgo and Guanajuato…muchos besotes. Thank you, thank you, thank you.Ya en casa, fuera del hospital, y todo va muy bien. Me siento bien, los análisis de sangre están bien, como bien, trato de hacer un poco de ejercicio todos los días, y pues en general todo está muy bien. Me canso muy fácilmente…y me frustra mucho porque quisiera aprovechar este tiempo que tengo para hacer muchas cosas, pero me tengo que limitar a hacer una o dos cosas al día porque me canso…ya después de lavar los trastes y la ropa estoy agotada y tengo que descansar y ver la tele como toda una güevona. Tengo que hacer las cosas bien, y recuperarme como se debe…poco a poco.Después de llegar a la casa del hospital, me llamaron del hospital para decirme que había dejado mi almohada en el cuarto. Así que el lunes que fui al doctor, pasé al centro de cáncer….entré, pasé el puente, y me paré frente a los elevadores…y ahí me quedé. El olor del gel limpiador de manos era insoportable y abrumador, y me di la media vuelta y me regresé por el puente rumbo al estacionamiento. Dije ‘no puedo….otro día la recojo’ – pero luego se me vino a le mente el precio de la gasolina, el cansancio de volver, y que a lo mejor se perdería si me esperara demasiado….y volví al elevador y piqué el botón. Fui por la almohada, no pasó nada, y salí lo más rápido posible.No puedo describir lo aterrorizada q[...]



Still here/Aun estoy aquí

2008-06-08T20:38:56.977-07:00

Still here in the hospital, just kicking around being EXTREMELY bored but trying to get by. Tomorrow will be my reinfusion of stem cells, and my "re-birthday", and then we'll see how long it takes me to recover and get out of the hospital. I don't want to jinx it, so let's not even discuss dates.

Big hugs

Todavia estoy aquí en el hospital, aquí estando SUPER aburridisima, pero haciendo lo posible para pasar el tiempo. Mañana me van a regresar las células madre y será mi re-cumpleaños, y ya veremos cuanto me tardo en recuperarme y salir de aquí. Mejor ni quiero hablar de fechas y esperaremos que sea lo antes posible.

Abrazotes



The Sparrow and the Hawk/El gorrión y el halcón

2008-08-26T19:50:49.309-07:00

The Sparrow and the Hawkby LFD – aka momRunning errands this morning, the sun is shining and feels good.The price of gas made me actually plan the trip - fewest miles for what I needed.High above the hill that is Glisan west to Fred Meyer,A red-tailed hawk is being pursued by a tiny sparrow.The sparrow is pecking at the hawk's tail, then a wing.The hawk seems hardly aware that it is the prey, not the predator.The sparrow is fierce and unrelenting.I stopped to watch. Nature is so fascinating. I usually think of it as something to be observed,not something I am a part of.I was impressed with the little bird's courage. What would motivate the tiny sparrowto take on the hawk. Her nest, of course, her babies, tucked somewhere in the trees.I got all teary.I was no longer an observer, I was the sparrow attacking the hawk, that is cancer.Stay away from my nest, leave by baby alone. This is a fight you will not win.Unlike the sparrow, I am not alone.Doctors, nurses, researchers, a whole cast of players,lending their skills and knowledge, with compassion.Family and friends - the wind beneath my wings,to borrow a phrase.Wind that is love, that lifts me up and allows me to keep going,that allows me to focus on my Darcy, to do battle with thehawk.Cancer get away from my daughter, you cannot have her.I didn't bring her into this world for you.We are fierce and unrelenting.And so thankful for all the blessings that are ours.El gorrión y el halcónpor LFD – también conocida como ‘mamá’Haciendo el mandado esta mañana, el sol brilla y se siente rico.El precio de la gasolina me hizo planear el viaje – entre menos millas mejor para lo que necesitaba.En lo alto del cerro que es Glisan al oeste de Fred Meyer,Un halcón de cola roja está siendo perseguido por un pequeño gorrión.El gorrión está picoteando la cola del halcón, y luego una ala.El halcón parece apenas estar consciente de que sea la presa, no el depredador.El gorrión es feroz e implacable.Me detuve para mirarlo. La naturaleza es tan fascinante. Normalmente pienso que es algo que se observa, y no algo de lo que yo sea parte.Me impresionó la valentía de la pequeña ave. Qué le motivaría al pequeñito gorriónA enfrentarse con el halcón. Su nido, claro, sus bebés, escondidos en alguna parte de los árboles.Me empezaron a salir lágrimasYa no era yo un observador, yo era el gorrión atacando al halcón que es el cáncer.Aléjate de mi nido, deja a mi bebé en paz. Esta es una pelea que no ganarás.A diferencia del gorrión, yo no estoy sola.Doctores, enfermeras, investigadores, todo un elenco de actores,Prestando sus habilidades y conocimiento, y con compasión.La familia y los amigos – el viento debajo de mis alas,Para robar una frase.Viento que es amor, que me levanta y me permite seguir,Que me permite enfocarme en mi Darcy, para hacer batalla con el halcón.Cáncer, aléjate de mi hija, no la puedes tener.No la traje a este mundo para ti.Somos feroces e implacablesY tan agradecidas por todas las bendiciones que son nuestras.[...]



One Week/Una Semana

2008-05-26T20:30:57.289-07:00

Long story short, the docs in Seattle agreed with my doc here, and we're good to go for June 2, 2008 to begin high dose chemo, and the Auto Stem Cell Transplant to follow. I feel pretty ok about it...there is still nothing in this world that I want to do less than go through this treatment, but I feel confident that it is the right step to take, and that I am doing what I need to do. The countdown begins...I'll be admitted next Monday.

Para no hacerles largo el cuento, les platico que los doctores en Seattle revisaron todo y estan de acuerdo con el doc de aquí, y estoy ya lista para el 2 de junio, 2008 para empezar la quimio de dosis alta, y el trasplante de células madre que sigue. Me siento más o menos bien con esto...aun no hay otra cosa que menos quiera hacer, pero me siento segura y ya sé definitivamente que esto es lo que necesito hacer. Y empieza el conteo...me internan de hoy en ocho días.



Caught/Atrapada

2008-05-21T08:52:09.748-07:00

My mom and I are heading up tonight to Seattle to Fred Hutchinson/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) for a second opinion appointment on Thursday. I decided that before I undergo this huge transplant treatment and procedure, I wanted to get a second opinion....just to be absolutely sure that this is what I need to be doing right now...that this is the absolute best thing to do for the best outcome. Though that’s such an odd thing to say…like what’s really the best outcome? Honestly, I can’t think of any outcome short of “100% cured forever” or “Cancer? Get outta here” (Seinfeld reference anyone?), that is really acceptable, let alone “the best”…I just can’t believe I have to do this. It’s so hard to imagine that this is really where I am in life…waiting, wishing these last few days were longer, to go through a grueling treatment that will really only give me a little over a 50% shot at living longer than 10 years without disease. That’s really fucked up. There’s no other way I know how to say it. But, if I don’t do it, there’s a 100% chance I’ll die. So, this is what I have to do. It’s like a have my foot caught in a trap, and to get out and have a shot of making it out of the woods for help, I have to cut it off. Would you cut it off? Probably. Certainly life must be worth that pain…it is. I’m just not all that excited about taking the saw to my skin, and limping out of the forest. But I will.My doctor here is very good, and is highly esteemed here in Portland, and he has consulted about my case with colleagues from other hospitals, but I just have to be totally sure. So, at SCCA they have all my medical records since the beginning of all of this, including the reports and slides from Mexico, and will look at everything and tell us what they think. As long as they are in agreement, June 2, 2008 is the admit day. Fuck.Mi mamá y yo nos vamos hoy en la tarde a Seattle al hospital y centro de cáncer de Fred Hutchinson/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) para una cita que tengo el jueves para una segunda opinión. Decidí hace como una semana que antes de hacer este horrible tratamiento quiero una segunda opinión, sólo para estar absolutamente segura de que esto es lo que debo hacer para tener el mejor resultado. Y aun cuando escribo eso no logro entenderlo….¿qué es el mejor resultado? Porque para ser honesta, no puedo pensar en otro resultado que ¨100% curada para siempre¨ que sería aceptable, mucho menos el ¨mejor.¨ No puedo creer que esto es lo que estoy haciendo de mi vida…no puedo creer que haya llegado hasta aquí – esperando, deseando que estos últimos días fueran más largos, para sufrir un terrible tratamiento que sólo me va a dar un 50% posibilidad de vivir más de 10 años más sin esta enfermedad. ¿Qué chingados? Pero, bien sé que si no lo hago, hay un 100% posibilidad de que simplemente me muera y ya. Así que esto, lo que estoy haciendo, definitivamente es lo que tengo que hacer. Es como si tuviera mi pie en una trampa, y para tener la posibilidad de salir del bosque, me lo tengo que cortar. ¿Te cortarías el pie? Yo creo que probablemente sí…sí creo que la vida vale ese gran dolor. Es sólo que no me emociona nada tomar la sierra hacia mi piel, y salir cojeando del bosque. Pero lo haré, lo prometo.Mi doctor aquí es muy bueno, me cae muy bien, y es muy estimado y respetado aquí en Portland, y además, ha consultado sobre mi caso con varios otros doctores de otros hospitales en otras ciudades para este plan…pero necesito estar totalmente segura. Así que en SCCA ya tienen todo mi[...]



On TV/En la tele

2008-05-08T18:23:01.755-07:00

That's right...and I'm naked! Ok, not really naked, but for all you know I am. That's me on the massage table. Stupid cute curly short hair, I miss you.


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This starts running today here in the Portland area on the major network channels, as well as some select cable channels. It was really fun to be a part of this commercial...it's like 2 seconds or less of me in the commercial, but it was fun and they gave me a gift certificate for a free massage!


Oh, and this is me too: http://www.providence.org/centerofhope/patient_stories.html


It's not my favorite picture of me, but it's ok...the camera guy was making me laugh. That's a genuine laugh, no acting.


Sipi, estoy saliendo en un comercial del hospital Providence en la tele....desnuda! Bueno, en realidad no estoy desnuda, pero eso no lo sabes tú...jeje. Esa del masaje soy yo, ¿cómo la ven? Pinche cabello ya me estaba creciendo bien bonito, míralo no más...chale, lo extraño un chingo.


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Este comercial empezó a salir hoy en la tele en los canales principales y algunos de cable también. Fue súper divertido grabarlos....ya sé que son no más como 2 segundos, o hasta menos, pero estuvo bien chido. Y aparte, me dieron una cita para otro masaje gratis!

Ah, y también me pusieron en su página web: http://www.providence.org/centerofhope/patient_stories.html

Para esto, me entrevistaron y pusieron algo de mi historia ahí...no es mi foto favorita, se me hace que me veo medio rara, pero el fotógrafo me hacía reir...es risa de verdad eh!

Un beso a todos.



Thank you/Gracias

2008-05-03T23:48:01.117-07:00

Last Wednesday night was the benefit my super great friends organized for me, and it was not only a financial success, but also a rockin’ good time. As you can see from the photo, I had pink hair for the night, and decided that my drink of choice would be the cosmopolitan ‘cause they are pretty tasty and matched the hue perfectly. Unfortunately, I had such a good time that I had more cosmopolitans than I can remember, and suffered an unfortunately severe hangover that precluded my attendance at work the following day, and involved an absurd amount of puking of all liquids from my poor, undeserving body. A word to the wise (and to the unfortunate enough to need this advice): chemotherapy does not, contrary to what I thought was infallible logic, prepare your body to better process other poisons…I have learned my lesson, and in the future will employ ginger caution with the booze.The benefit was a huge success, and I’m so blown away by everyone’s generosity that I don’t really know what to say except: “Thank you.” It is so difficult, and so awkward to me to ask for and accept financial help…it’s just part of this whole awful situation that not only do I have to be sick and worry about dying, but I also have to endure a pathetic financial situation, and it’s just plain embarrassing to have to ask for money from friends, family, and strangers. Unfortunately, I just have to accept that I don’t have the money I need to pay the bills, and that I am super fortunate to know people who are willing to help out, and I just need to accept that help humbly and graciously. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Your generous gifts will help me get through the difficult months to come.El miércoles pasado fue el evento para recaudar fondos que organizaron mis amigos…que fue un concierto donde tocó mi esposo, Luis, y otros grupos locales en un bar aquí en Portland…y no sólo fue un éxito económico, sino que también nos la pasamos súper bien todos. Como pueden ver en la foto, traía una peluca rosita, y decidí que mi bebida de la noche sería el Cosmopolitan….que la neta no sé exactamente qué trae, pero es vodka con algo y sabe rico y también es rosita…y para hacer juego con mi cabello, pues perfecto. Lo que no fue tan perfecto fue que me la pasé tan bien que tomé tantos cocteles que perdí la cuenta, y sufrí una desafortunadamente grave cruda que impidió que fuera a trabajar al siguiente día, e incluyó un período absurdamente largo de vómito de todo líquido de mi pobre cuerpecito. Del nabo. Les dejo un consejo: la quimioterapia, al contrario de lo que yo creía que era una lógica infalible, NO te prepara el cuerpo para mejor procesar otros tipos de veneno como es el vodka…he aprendido mi lección, y en el futuro tomaré más precaución con el vino.El evento fue un súper éxito, y quedé sumamente impresionada por la generosidad de todos….tanto que no sé qué más decir que: “Gracias.” Me es muy difícil e incómodo pedir y aceptar ayuda monetaria…es que es parte de toda esta situación que simplemente está del nabo…no sólo tengo que estar enferma siempre y preocupándome por morir, pero también tengo que pensar en la lana y la situación económica patética de no saber cómo pagar las cuentas y mantenerte al mismo tiempo….y da pena pedir ayuda de la familia, los amigos, y hasta de gente que ni siquiera conozco. Desafortunadamente, tengo que aceptar el hecho de que no tenga la lana para pagar esas cuentas, y que tengo la fortuna de conocer a gente que me quiere[...]



9 million/9 millones

2008-04-27T18:42:22.539-07:00

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After just two days of stem cell collection I got a total of 9-point-something million stem cells that are now sitting in an American Red Cross freezer somewhere, just waiting for me to need them for my stem cell transplant. Yeah! 9 million is a lot – in fact, it’s almost enough for 2 transplants (I needed to get at least 5 million for mine), so we’re very happy to have gotten so many without any real troubles. It was a kind of boring and gross process, but I’m totally fine and feeling good now. Now I have until the first week of June to recover from ICE and relax, and get ready for the big nasty chemo and the transplant. I’ll be having a PET scan in May, but other than that I’ll be free from treatment and doctors for a bit….yeah.

Después de sólo dos días de colección de células madre, tengo un total de nueve-punto-algo millones de células madre que ahora están en algún congelador de la Cruz Roja Americana esperando que las necesite para mi trasplante. 9 millones son muchas – de hecho, hasta serían suficientes casi para hacer dos trasplantes (el mínimo que necesitaba para éste eran 5 millones), y por eso estamos muy felices que tenemos tantas y no tuvimos complicaciones. El proceso fue un poco aburrido, incómodo, y asqueroso, pero no fue nada comparado con lo que he pasado, y ahora me siento muy bien. Ahora tengo hasta la primera semana de junio para recuperarme de esta quimio, y prepararme para la super-gacha quimio y el trasplante que vienen. En mayo me van a hacer algunos estudios, pero aparte de eso, estaré libre de tratamientos y citas de doctores por un rato. Yeah!



That girl/Esa chica

2008-04-15T23:03:32.098-07:00

I was released today from round #2 of ice…um, that really sucked. I won’t spend three paragraphs detailing the unfortunate series of events, but rather will give you the Reader’s Digest version. I was admitted on Thursday; started getting chemo; got really sick with a high fever Friday night and suffered only mildly lucidly through that until Sunday; Monday the fever broke and I got antibiotics; Tuesday they finally let me go home. I supercalifragiwhatever hate being in the hospital to the nth degree…June looks like it’s going to be a fun month. Hoy me dieron de alta de la segunda ronda de la quimio ICE, y dejenme decirles que estuvo del nabo. Pero decidi no durar tres párrafos detallando la muy desafortunadamente desagradable serie de eventos, sino darles la versión cortita pa’ que no se me aburren. Me internaron el jueves y me empezaron a dar la quimio; el viernes en la tarde me enfermé con una fiebre de más de cuarenta grados, la cual sufri con muy poca lucidez y cordura hasta el domingo; el lunes la fiebre se me bajó y me dieron antibióticos; y el martes por fin me dejaron salir. Aborrezco con toda mi alma estar en el hospital, y pues todo parece indicar el junio no va a ser mi mes favorito. The good news is that I had sort of a realization this weekend that I thought I would share with you. When Dr. Menashe was telling me Monday that I wasn’t leaving until maybe Tuesday, I was really pissed. I had had enough of lying in that bed, never sleeping more than four hours straight, smelling the same smells, etc, etc, etc. I kept wanting him to say, “Ok then, you can go home now.” But then I realized, he can’t…the circumstances simply weren’t such that I could go home. I realized that I keep expecting my doctors to save me from this thing…not to cure me and leave me to restart my life weakened, bald, scarred, and in fear of it coming back…but to take this away and give me back my old life. Lo que sí les puedo contar bien es que tuve un momento de claridad y entendí algo muy importante. El lunes que me decía el Dr. Menashe que no me iba a poder dar de alta hasta ‘tal vez’ el martes pues estaba super encabronada. Ya me había hartado de estar acostada en la pinche cama, y sin dormir bien porque a cada rato entran para checar algo en la noche, y uuuuy de los olores a alcohol y limpiador, etc, etc, etc. Yo quería que me dijera, “Bueno, entonces te puedes ir hoy.” Pero luego me cayó el veinte de que no podía…que simplemente la circunstancias no permitían que me fuera todavía. Me di cuenta de que del mismo modo, sigo queriendo que mis doctores me salven de esto…no de curarme y dejarme para reiniciar mi vida débil, pelona, cicatrizada, y con el miedo de que regrese….sino de quitarme esto y regresarme mi vida de antes. That’s what I really want is my old life back without the worry, fear, and all the ugliness of cancer. Dr. Menashe can’t do that any more than he can turn water into wine (which would also be cool), but that has been my impossible expectation ever since this started. I need to figure out some way to come to terms with that, I guess, because it’s not going to happen. I’ll figure it out, because I just want more than anything to be as happy, smiley, and lovely as this girl again: Eso es lo que realmente quiero – mi vida de antes…la recuerdo con un chingo de felicidad. En esa vida no conocía la preocupación, el miedo, y la fealdad del cáncer. El Dr. Menashe no puede darme eso tal [...]



After the shave/Después de la rapada

2008-04-06T22:50:32.649-07:00

When I read other peoples' blogs, I'm always looking for pictures of them, I love it when people post pictures 'cause then you have a face to put with the words. So, here are some photos...

Cuando yo leo los blog de otras personas, siempre estoy buscando fotos porque me encanta que la gente ponga fotos....asi puedes imaginar a la persona mientras leas sus palabras. Así que ahí les van unas fotos mias...

Before the shave during my first treatment of ICE - with a pillow that a lovely friend made especially for me./Esto es antes de la rapada durante mi primer tratamiento de ICE - con una almohada que hizo una muy buena amiga especialmente para mi:

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After the shave, with my removeable hair #1 and the cutest puppy in the world/Después de la rapada, con mi pelo removible #1 y el cachorro más lindo del planeta:

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After the shave, with my removeable hair #2 and a weird look on my face/Después de la rapada, con mi pelo removible #2 y una jeta extraña:

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After the shave, with a fab green scarf that my lovely friend Mel gifted me/Después de la rapada, con una bufanda hermosa que me regaló mi amiga Mel:

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Hugs & Kisses/Abrazotes y Besotes
D



The Hair Fairy/El Hada del Cabello

2008-04-04T11:55:32.987-07:00

The hair fairy visited me, stole a bunch of hair, and left a big mess on my pillow, in the shower, all over my clothes, on the carpet, etc. It’s so gross…there’s hair everywhere. I’m shaving the rest of it tonight…damned mediocre fairy can’t even finish the job properly. I really thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal to me this time….but it totally is.

It’s not much hair, but it was growing out all wavy and super cute, and I was finally starting to feel like it didn’t look like a cancer grow out…finally starting to think I looked pretty in my new skin. It happened a lot faster this time, in a couple of days really - I noticed a few hairs on Monday, and today, Friday, it’s coming out in clumps. I feel like what’s left is sort of just sitting there on the top of my head, and if I move too fast it’ll fall off. So, tonight we’ll just get rid of it, and by tomorrow I’ll either be sporting the scarf look or the blonde bob. It seems like since I’ve already done this once, it should be easier, but it’s such a huge blow to the ego to be ugly and sick; so incredibly difficult to look at myself in the mirror without hair without crying. Damnit.

Fuck you, hair fairy. And fuck you, cancer.

El hada del cabello

El hada del cabello me visitó…me robó un chingo de cabello, y me dejó un desmadre de pelos en la almohada, en el baño, en la ropa, en la alfombra, etc, etc, etc. Es súper asqueroso, pues todas mis pertenencias portan una capa gruesa de cabello caído. Me voy a rapar ahora en la tarde que salga de trabajar…pinche hada mediocre ni siquiera puede hacer el trabajo bien. La neta, pensaba que esta vez no me iba a afectar tanto, pero si me está afectando mucho aunque no quiera.

No es muy largo mi cabello, pues no más tiene como cinco meses de crecimiento, pero estaba creciendo bien – hasta un poco chinito - y me empezaba a gustar…empezaba a pensar que hasta me veía bonita con este nuevo look, pero pues llegó a su fin. Esta vez fue mucho más rápido que la primera vez, de hecho apenas empezó esta semana – el lunes noté unos que cabellitos se me caían, y hoy viernes se está cayendo por manojos. Es tanto que siento que si me muevo rápido, o si viene una brisa o un vientecito, se me va a caer todo y ahí voy a estar, prácticamente desnuda. Entonces pues no me queda otra opción que quitármelo todo…y ya para mañana tendré el súper sexy look del trapito en la cabeza, o igual me pongo la peluca güera y finjo ser normal. Es interesante, porque tal vez creerán que como ya pasé por esto una vez, pues debería ser más fácil esta vez…pero la neta que es un súper fuerte golpe al ego estar enferma y fea; y es increíblemente difícil enfrentarte en el espejo y verte sin cabello sin llorar.

Chinga tu madre, pinche hada, y tu también, cáncer.



Reporting Back/Reportándome

2008-03-30T19:05:44.691-07:00

This is a little overdue...I'm reporting back now that I'm on the other side of the first round of ICE. I'm ok, in fact, ever since about Monday I feel almost back to normal....which makes me just really super happy. I remember this feeling from last year when I was in treatment...it's a feeling that just makes you so happy you want to cry all the time and smile from ear to ear and celebrate every single second that you're not sick....and enjoy every second because you know the sick is coming back. Last week was pretty awful...just really terrible. I had underestimated the impact chemo was going to have on me...underestimated its persistent, tough fight, and overestimated my ability to fight back. Instead, and not the slightest bit slowed by my defense, it rolled over me and won round one. Everything thing went reasonably well in the hospital, there were a few problems, but the nice thing about being in the hospital is that they get on that stuff fast, and correct problems and ease pain pretty quickly. I definitely started getting sick by the third day, and by the fourth day when we were discharged, I was one sick puppy. I got home and laid down Tuesday, and didn't get up, except to the bathroom, until Saturday. I don't know if the sun came out at all, or if it rained all week. The side effects are the usual....nausea, loss of appetite, etc. The worst part, though, is the exhaustion....which doesn't sound as bad as it is...like, we all say "man, I'm tired" or "I'm exhausted"....and you are, I believe you. We all get tired...living is tiring. But this is something else, it's extreme, incapacitating exhaustion that drains your soul and steals your spirit. I felt crushed, defeated, worthless....really, like I was just existing there for several days - needing help from others to perform even the simplest of human function...not being able to focus enough to watch a full movie, only half caring what was on the television that I was only half watching. It feels like you are going to feel and look terrible forever, and it feels impossible to see the end though you know it will come. It's awful, it's just really awful.But then it broke, and I slowly morphed over the weekend back into a functioning person, and come Monday I even got dressed in real clothes and went into the world and did things on my own. Monday was a really good day, I felt amazing. I ate and ate and ate, and smiled all the time...even just while I was alone, driving, getting ready for bed, petting the dog. It feels so good to feel good.As far as treatment planning goes, we are expecting to have the next treatment the second week of April, and stem cell collection after that....Thank you to everyone for your kind words, thoughts, and well wishes, and thank you to everyone who helped me through this last week. An especially big thank you to my mom and husband without whom I would have been completely unable to deal.---------------------------Ya les debía un reporte, perdón que me tardé tanto....ya terminé el primer tratamiento de quimio ICE, y vengo a reportar desde el otro lado de ese cañón.Ya estoy bien, de hecho, desde el lunes me siento ya casi normal....lo cual me da una enorme felicidad. Recuerdo esta sensación del año pasado cuando estaba en tratamiento....es una sensación o como un ánimo que me hace tan feliz, realmente eufórico, quiero llorar de felicidad, sonreír hasta que [...]