Friday, December 30, 2011

More Hospitally Adventures!

Well, in about 30-45 minutes I'll be back in the hospital. All my blood counts were low this week, and yesterday I kept getting dizzy. Thankfully my mom and husband had the foresight to make me call the doctor last night, because I wouldn't have on my own. They had me come in today to get my levels checked and they definitely want me to get a blood transfusion.

Thankfully, I will probably only be in there one night, maybe two, which is a far cry from the 7 days I was in last time. Also, the care I received in the Oncology ward was excellent, so I'm glad I'll be getting such great care again.

Sorry if there's typos here, I just downloaded the blogger app, and wrote this from my phone.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Although I've been feeling a little down about being ill, I always have to remember how lucky I am. I've had an amazing support group for me, I can't imagine going through this without the help and prayers of so many people. I have a wonderful husband who is patient and understanding. I'm lucky that I got this disease during a time when medicines are advanced enough to fight it, and possibly defeat it, and that I don't have to deal with nausea *that* often. I'm lucky that the disease was even caught, and that I feel so much better than I did months ago.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shannon's Adventures in Hospital Land

So... It's been an eventful two weeks.

Two Thursday's ago I woke up at 5am with a fever in the 100's. I called the doctor (they have someone on call 24 hrs). My doctor happened to be on call and told me to come in when they opened to get my white blood cell count checked.

That morning was extremely difficult. I couldn't stand up without being so dizzy I'd fall.

By the time I got to the doctor's I was a mess. The nurses said I was blue. They took me back to take my blood, and then sent me to see the doctor. When I was on my way back to the doctor I collapsed. They brought me back to the chemo room and started giving me fluids. Because of the fever I was extremely dehydrated. When my blood work came back they found out that both my white and red blood cells had dropped to drastically low numbers. I was going to have to go to the hospital.

The doctor called the hospital to get me a room, and I stayed there for a few hours while I waited for a room to be ready. I was neutropenic, which basically means that my white blood cells were so low they had to exercise a lot of caution, because I could catch things really easily and my body couldn't fight them off. I wasn't even allowed to eat fresh fruit or veggies. I had a private room because of it.

The Oncology unit of the hospital was closed when I got there, so I started in a different unit (I don't know which one)

In my first room.

I had to have a blood and platelet transfusion as well. I was supposed to have it on my first night, but it ended up happening my second day.

My IV, complete with saline, blood, and platelet bags.

Nicole came by for a visit!
 The second or third day (I don't remember) the oncology unit of the hospital opened up and they moved me up there. I had to wear a mask when they transferred me.

 I ended up staying in the hospital for 7 days before they released me. It was crazy, I'd never even spent the night in the hospital before. I was on antibiotics through an IV 24/7

My mom is sneaky and takes pictures of me while I sleep.

Another sleeping picture.

The food in the hospital was so awful. Near the end, someone made us a meal and it was delicious.

So that was my saga. I've been a lot better since I got home. My white and red blood cells have been in a good place. They pushed my chemo back a week to give me time to recover, which has been going nicely.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Am Iron Womannnnnnn

The past week has been up and down. I got to see a lot of my friends this weekend which was great. We hung out and I went around trying to be normal (I even won at duckpin bowling).

Unfortunately... my red blood cell count had been dropping the past couple weeks. This caused a lot of fatigue and dizziness. I found out Monday that I had to get an iron infusion because of this. (I'd been taking iron pills and they weren't helping). So I got it that done yesterday and it was a long day. We went in at 9 and stayed till 4:30. There was the initial test dose and then waiting an hour to make sure I didn't have an adverse reaction to them. Luckily I didn't. Next was the actual infusion which took about five hours (maybe a little more). It seemed brutal, but if it goes well it will keep me from getting a blood transfusion.

Unfortunately, I had woken up on the cranky side of the bed yesterday, and I really didn't want to be there. My mood improved as the day went on, which was good, and it really wasn't that bad. Josh came with me and was in it for the long haul. We tried to watch Once Upon A Time In The West, but I kept falling asleep, so we only got about 45 minutes in. We also played one of our favorite games, Gazillionaire. It was nice to spend time together, since he's been so busy with Black Friday/Post Thanksgiving Holiday hours at work.

It was such an exciting sight when the iron bag was almost empty, I took a picutre!

There was also a double rainbow we saw on the way home, which I thought needed it's picture taken! (You can only see the single here, it was a lot brighter and colorful in real life).

Today the chest pains have started from my Neulasta shot (the shot that makes me produce white blood cells). It kind of stinks, but I've got some good medicine to help with the pain, and a wonderful husband to make me lunch :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quiet Times

I haven't had a lot to post about. Everything's going steady, which is good. It's not all rosy, and I've gotten pretty sick from one of my chemo drugs (which will probably happen every time), but still, I'm plodding along. I'm also halfway to the halfway point which is exciting!

I've started getting pretty bald, but as much as my hair has fallen out I still have a ton of it. Here's a recent pic:

Friday, November 11, 2011


Last night Josh and I had our first "Why Me?" moment. I'm honestly surprised it didn't happen sooner and was good to get it all out.

We've both been styaing positive through all this for a lot of reasons. We're both positive people, everyon'es been saying that attitude is 80% of the cure, and honestly, I just don't see the point of being negative all the time. Man though, it still sucks to sit back and think about it. Especially the fact that I'm 2 months into my marriage, and instead of having a movie montage of setting up our apartment, cooking together and canoodling on dates, we've got chemo appintments, keeping medications in order, and dealing with sickness at random. It sucks.

But cancer sucks for anyone, and it happens to anyone. There's nothing I could have done to prevent this, it just happened to me. I believe it happened for a reason, I just don't know what it is yet.

Retrospect aside, I'm doing well. Josh and I had 2 date nights earlier this week which was great, we needed to spend some time together. My last round of chemo left me pretty wrecked, which was to be expected, but I know I'll bounce back in a few days.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Food & Stuffs

Chemo went well last week, the most eventful part of it was that I was super sleepy, so that's some good news!

Thanks to everyone for all the meals and groceries. Sorry I can't thank you all personally, we really appreciate having such an abundance of good stuff in our fridge/pantry! I've been in such an abundance of fruit lately, it's been awesome.

Vegan cheese has given me back nachos and pizza, so I'm pretty happy with that. Thank you vegans!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Thank you to one of my BFF's, Ash K for the solidarity!

You're lookin' fine, lady!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good News!!

I'm at chemo now with Josh, picking out which wedding pictures we want as prints. It is both daunting and fun!

Before chemo I had an apointment with my Oncologist this morning and he gave us some great news: My bone marrow is just fine. There are no problems with it and I wont need a transfusion or anything!! I know I had tons of people lined up willing to donate, which is just amazing! I'm super relieved that I don't have to go through all that!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nice Day

It's November and beautiful! I took a walk around my neighborhood and explored a little bit. Feeling pretty good today! I was glad to get outside and take in some sunshine, I've been cooped inside for a while!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


On Wednesday my wig came in! My mom and I went down to Claudia Mayer to pick it up.

It is a pretty snazzy hat.

 So here's my wig! It isn't purple (I gotta work after all), but it's still pretty funky!

It's been a pretty good week for me. I've felt like a person who wasn't sick this past week which is pretty nice. Chemo starts again Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'd Always Wanted to Do It...

Last Wednesday I had my wig apointment at the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. It's a great resource for people going through cancer. They had a bajillion books, free information handouts, and they gave me free hats!!

 Fillin' out forms!

Last week my hair had been falling out in abundance. My hoodie was starting to look like a... fur hoodie. I decided to cut my losses (no pun intened... ok a little intended) and shave it off now.

A really nice lady named Bonnie did it. She cut my ponytail off first, which I donated to a lady who makes "Halos" - little wigs with no tops, so women who can't afford wigs can still have something to wear under a hat that looks like they have hair.


It happened really fast!

 Starting to look punk rock here.

 A good half and half shot! Maybe I should have kept it like that!

Voila!! My wig comes in tomorrow, so expect more pictures, but this look is so cute, you might see it more often!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Slight Discomfort

My last round of chemo kicked my butt! Who would have thought chemotherapy would be uncomfortable? The chemo I took caused fevers, earaches, and pain in my gums. I'm starting to get it all under control.

The shot they give you to up your white blood cell count can be extremely painful, and I felt that in my chest. Thanks to some muscle relaxers I spent most of the weekend asleep (I haven't slept that much in 6 months).

I've also got no appetite now that I'm off steroids. Hoping that will change when the fever breaks.

On the plus side, I'm going back to work today. I've gotten so stir crazy I'm really excited to go!

I'll have an exciting update either tonight or tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Introduction!

Well, no one wants to be diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks after their wedding (what a way to end a honeymoon), but here we are. While the news was terribly upsetting, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma which is very treatable. Unlike other cancers, there aren't any tumors with Hodgkin's, you get little infected nodules and lymph nodes. Since the cancer was in stage 4 when we found it I am on a pretty aggressive treatment plan, which has put me out of commission for a lot of things. The worst of which is the food restrictions!! Just when I thought my wedding diet was over with! But if I have to go 6 months without caffene, chocolate, or aged cheese to be healthy then that's what I'm going to do!

If you don't know the whole story, I've had a chronic cough since March of 2010. It's been diagnosed as everything from a sinus infection, to asthma, to acid reflux, to stress, and back to a sinus infection. After countless doctors apointments and exams, my ENT, Dr. Shimoura found lymph nodes on my neck were extremely swollen, and ordered a CT Scan of them, as well as my sinuses (we were gearing up for the possibility of sinus surgery). He decided to throw in a CT Scan of my chest while I was getting everything done anyway.

Boy I'm glad he did, because they found lumps in my chest. Everything after that was a whirlwind. Dr Shimoura got me in to see an Oncologist he knew that day. We were in his office and he said "he'll see you in 20 minutes, go!" And before there was time to think about it, I had a lymph node removed, and was given my diagnoses.

The lymph node surgery was barely healed when I had my port installed. For those who don't know, a port is something they give to some chemo patients when they have to receive treatment often. It connects right to a vein and stays under my skin, below my collar bone so I don't have to put my veins under the stress of repeated needle usage.

Well, the day after my port was installed I had my first day of chemo. All of this was terrifying, but I had my parents and my husband by my side. 

The chemo hasn't been terrible so far. It has caused a huge amount of fatigue, and I usually end up napping after treatment. I've only had one bout of nausea (let's hope it's the last), and have been doing pretty well. This week was suppposed to be pretty rough, because it's such a system shock, and I'm feeling confident about going through this.

The treatment I'm receiving has been fantastic. Everyone at my oncologist's office is friendly and super helpful, and they already know who I am, which is good because we're going to be seeing a lot of each other in the future.