Light The Night 2015

Last night, my team and I participated in our first Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was a little hectic since it was everyone’s first time. There was probably 5 minutes of a good pouring of rain, but luckily, that was it. I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised by the amount of people who show up to support me. And I know that if my line sister’s bachelorette wasn’t the same weekend, I’d probably have 10 more people there. But, they even sent me a message and wore their team shirts while in Vegas. So sweet!

There were so many people at the walk. It was so beautiful seeing all of the lit lanterns when the sun went down. Survivors, like myself, walked with white lanterns. Those walking in support of someone, like my entire team, had red lanterns. Those walking in remembrance of someone held yellow lanterns.

The walk itself was a 2 mile loop around downtown Atlanta. I thought I could make it. But, I am so weak now. I got so tired and sick near the end. My nausea was acting up and I felt like I was going to pass out. So, we had to take a 5 minute break before actually crossing the finish line.

My team ended up raising $2,335! If you still want to donate, you can. Thank you to all of my donors and my team who was able to walk with me last night. It was amazing! I also finally got to meet Kristi, the survivor who has been my mentor throughout my entire treatment.

I really want to make this an annual event. I think it’s a great way to raise money for blood cancer research. It’s also a really touching way to actually visualize the impact that blood cancers have on everyone around you. Seeing all of those yellow lanterns light up in remembrance of someone who has lost their fight to cancer is very impactful.

Here are some pictures of my team. People were showing up at different times. So, we took 3 team pictures. Hopefully, I was able to catch everyone.

~SL

Round 11

So I have been slacking on the updates. I blame Scandal. I binge watched it all the way from the beginning. Anyway…

These past couple weeks, I’ve been really focusing on fundraising for the LLS Light the Night Walk. My team is doing pretty well. I’m only $80 away from reaching my own personal goal. There’s still time to donate! Any amount is much appreciated! Our team was just recently moved under the LLS Georgia Chapter’s team fundraising page. I’m that great of a volunteer that they wanted my team to be under the corporate team.

My home chapter in Athens had a percentage night in Athens to raise money for the walk. I think they raise over $200… through burritos! Thanks, Chipotle! I also had a sorority sister in New Jersey shave her head in my honor and to raise awareness for blood cancers. She is so brave because you know how much hair means to a woman! Now, she is a rocking a beautiful bald head for me. I feel bad because she lives in New Jersey/New York and it’s getting cold now. But, she’s awesome! Thanks, Sapphire!

I’ve also been keeping busy with all of these wedding festivities. We had a rehearsal for the Vietnamese ceremony for my friends next weekend. This is the second tea ceremony I’ll be part of. But, the first one was for my cousin so I didn’t really have to do anything. I think it should be fun. I love weddings with different cultural traditions. It’ll be the weekend after chemo though. Hopefully, I can find the strength to make it through the day.

My dad finally got his last drain out. So he is drain free. He’s starting to eat more and gain more weight. He was down to 90 pounds at one point! Now, he’s doing great. Thanks to everyone who has been checking in on him.

Chemo #11 was ok. My oncologist said I’m still doing well. The plan is to wait a month after my last chemo (October 15), do a PET scan, and see what our next step will be. So my PET scan will be the week before Thanksgiving. From what I’ve heard from other survivors, it seems likely that I’ll be starting radiation around Thanksgiving. I’m really hoping I don’t have to do anymore chemo. Recovery is getting worse and worse. I used to feel fine after 2-3 days. Now, it takes almost a whole week before I don’t feel sick anymore. But, I still feel really tired all the time. Food is gross too. Everything tastes weird. One day, I hardly ate anything because it all tasted gross and made me so nauseous.

My oncologist cleared me to travel after my last chemo. So, obviously, I went home and booked a flight. Can’t wait to go to Minnesota and see everyone again! And, of course, I’ll be going to New York for New Year’s. I usually go to New York about 4 times a year. I’ve only been once this year. I’ve been deprived! #firstworldproblems. I can’t wait to travel again!

I had lunch with one of my old bookstore co-workers yesterday. He gave me an awesome tervis tumbler with the HL ribbon on it. Thanks, Chad! I also had dinner with a sorority sister. Yummy tacos in Smyrna at Taqueria el Guero. You know a taco place is legit when they have beef tongue. Yum. Thanks, ECKO!

I feel like everyone is going to Vegas this weekend. My line sister is having her bachelorette party. I wish I could join in on the fun. But, I hope everyone has a good time for me!

Tomorrow, I’ll be volunteering in the morning at TEA Walk. Then, the Light the Night Walk that night. It’ll be a busy day. I got the shirts for my team. They look great! Hopefully, it won’t rain though. Fingers crossed.

I’ve been slacking with taking pictures. My phone is filled with wedding dress pictures from dress shopping with my friend. But, here’s a shot of our rehearsal. Also, a picture of my cousin’s newborn, Lyra. She’s so cute! Everyone loves an Asian baby.

Vietnamese tea ceremony rehearsal. Everyone is confused…

Baby Lyra! Isn’t she adorable!?

~SL

Round 10

This round of chemo went smoothly. I took some anti-nausea meds before going into the office so I felt less sick this time. But, my anticipatory nausea is getting out of control. It sucks. Treatment seemed to go by really quickly. I sat next to this nice lady. Her port wasn’t working, so she was just chilling until it decided to cooperate. She was from up north too. We were talking about how everyone in the South has guns and that’s how they solve their problems. We both agreed that we don’t honk at people on the highway because you could get shot. She’s also a relief volunteer for the American Red Cross. So she spent a couple weeks in New York when Sandy hit. She offered me crackers and asked me to help her with her crossword puzzle.

It’s taking me a lot longer than usual to recover from chemo this time around. I still feel a little sick. Usually, I would have bounced back by now. I feel exhausted. But, I sleep so much. I forced myself to get up and get out this weekend even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. I’m not sure if that was a good idea. Sometimes I feel like I need to get out and stay active. But, then I’m not sure when I’m pushing myself too far and need to rest.

I nearly passed out at brunch with my line sister on Saturday. The wait was kind of long so we were standing in the shade outside. I just got really dizzy and my vision started getting blurry. It sucked. But, brunch was good and we ran into some other friends who joined us. Yum. We went to Buttermilk Kitchen. The four of us shared some pancakes and then we all ordered the chicken biscuit because that’s what they’re known for. So good! I spent the rest of the day in bed.

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I still didn’t feel well by Sunday. But, I got out to have lunch with my grandbig. We went to a place called Oy! They had pancakes the size of my whole body. It was ridiculous. You could go there with a family of 4, order 2 things, and still have leftovers. What?! It was a true embodiment of what America is really about. We went back to her place so I could hang out with her 2-year old son for a bit. He is getting so big! And he talks so much now. Adorable. And then I spent the rest of the day in bed.

Still not feeling 100% today. So I stayed home and backed up all of my files to my personal cloud storage. I’m cool like that. I think I like staying busy because then I don’t have any time to think and my mind doesn’t wander.

This week started off with bad news. Sometimes I wonder how fair it is that I am on the winning side of my battle, while others are suffering so much. Some people don’t even get a fighting chance. There are amazing people out there who get the short end of the stick. Then, there are some people that karma just decided to skip over. What’s so special about me that I got a 90% chance of survival, while someone else only has a couple months to live? I wish that we were all on the same page. Cancer is a monster. It’s so unfair. I wish the world was a little smaller so that we could be closer to all of our loved ones. But, we’re across the country. And, I can’t travel. And, this sucks. I know it’s all very vague right now. But, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around things.

My Light the Night fundraising is doing really well. I would really like to see my team reach $1,000. That would be awesome! My sorority sister made our team t-shirts. They look great! Let me know if you want to buy one!

I guess that’s all for now.

~SL

The Night Before Chemo

My off-chemo week has been pretty busy. Last Thursday, I went to the Pentatonix/Kelly Clarkson concert with one of my line sisters. We took MARTA down to Aaron’s amphitheater. I’m glad we used public transit because driving, traffic, and parking looked horrible. We got into the venue right as the rain started pouring down. We had to hide out in the bathroom until the rain subsided. The concert was delayed probably a half hour or so. We still sat in the rain for a bit, but it was ok. The rain had cleared up by the time Pentatonix came on so my hands were free to dance!

It was so great! I loooove Pentatonix. I had read some bad reviews about the acoustics in the amphitheater. But, I thought it was great. I thought sitting on the lawn would be awful. But, it wasn’t bad at all. Pentatonix was amazing! Kelly Clarkson is so amazing live! Another sorority sister snuck us up to her seats closer to the stage because a lot of people left right after Pentatonix. I’m glad we stayed for all of Kelly Clarkson’s set though. She was so pregnant though. She kept getting emotional and crying. it was adorable. She even performed one of her songs with Pentatonix. Atlanta was her last U.S. show before her doctor said she had to cancel the rest of her tour. So, we got really lucky. It was a great night!

The next night I went to the Braves game with some of my friends. I met up at my line sister’s apartment because her and her fiancee live pretty close to the stadium. She surprised me and asked me to be her maid of honor! I’m so excited to be able to help her plan and everything! But, I do have my other line sister’s wedding before that. Gotta stay focused. This is what happens when you have 12 line sisters! But, I love it! I love weddings!

The Braves game was fun. We had decent seats. I love going to baseball games. Probably because it’s one of the few sports I actually understand. It would have been better if we had won. It was only my second game of the season, so hopefully I’ll be able to go to more before the season ends.

Last Saturday, I spent the day on the lake with some more sorority sisters. I lost my hat to the water. I did feel a little bit nauseous on the water. I was also too scared to get into the water with my port. Even though it should be ok submerged in the water, it still freaks me out. But, I still had a good time with good food and good friends. Time passes really quickly when you’re out on the lake all day. It was a beautiful day out too! It was nice and relaxing.

My Light the Night team is really coming together. I had another sorority sister design my team shirts and they look great! Let me know if you want one!

I have my 10th chemo tomorrow morning. My anticipatory nausea is getting out of hand. Yes, it’s a real thing! I felt so sick today and I keep randomly gagging. It’s horrible. I know when I go into the office tomorrow, it’s just going to hit me and I’m immediately going to feel horrible. It’s getting worse and worse each time. I don’t know how people do years and years of chemo. I can barely make it through 6 months. And the smell of saline and heparin just kills me. I want to throw up when I see a syringe of saline. Ugh, so gross. I wish I could just do chemo at home, in my own bed.

Wish me luck!

~SL

Round 9

I don’t think treatments are getting any easier. My anticipatory nausea (yes, that’s a real thing!) is getting out of control. I’m usually able to just sit in my chair during chemo without a problem. But now, I start getting sick the day before and I feel so sick while I’m in the chair. The nurse said that if I didn’t drive to treatments myself, I’d be able to get stronger anti-nausea meds before chemo. My current anti-nausea meds aren’t really working for me anymore so she prescribed me something else. It’s supposed to make me drowsy, but it hasn’t yet.

I’ve had the usual side effects. I pretty much slept the rest of the day on Thursday. I had to push through for a job interview on Friday. But then I passed out for the rest of the day.

I went to a wedding on Saturday. It was so beautiful! Congrats to my friends, Yen and Oh-hyun! My friends and I met up early so we could watch the first half of the UGA game at a nearby restaurant. The wedding ceremony was at Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic Church in Riverdale. There was a bit of a break before the reception at an art gallery in Atlanta. It was a lot of fun. I just wish I wasn’t so tired so I could have danced a bit.

I wore a wig to the wedding. I think it surprised some people because they didn’t recognize who I was. My friends were so tipsy. They kept telling me they loved me and how they admired my strength. It was nice, but kind of awkward. Haha. I got out of going to an afterparty by playing the cancer card. They really backed off after I told them that. Yes!

I spent most of Sunday in bed recovering. My parents did force me out of bed to go out for dim sum and Sweet Hut.

Today, my little and I took a day trip to Chattanooga. We had lunch at this delicious Italian restaurant, Tony’s. We decided it was too hot outside, so we went to the Tennessee Aquarium. We both hadn’t been since our middle school field trips. I love aquariums! Otters and penguins! Afterwards, we went to get ice cream at Clumpies. Chattanooga is so pretty. We did a lot of walking around near the water. I really want to live somewhere near the water. The breeze is so nice and the grass is so green. It was a nice getaway for the day. Thanks to our soror, Crystal, for all of the suggestions!

I’ve also started gardening. I realized that I’m not good at it. But, it’s supposed to be relaxing and stress relieving. I’m not getting it though.

Don’t forget to register for my team to walk with me for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk! Hoping to have a big turnout for my first walk!

It’s my off chemo week, so I’m going to take advantage of it while I can. Here are some pictures from the past few days! Enjoy!

Ice cream break with the Little in Chattanooga.

By the river in Chattanooga.

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The lovely couple.

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Congrats to the newlyweds!

~SL

Round 8

Wow. It’s been a crazy couple weeks. I haven’t really had time to sit down and write. So, let’s see how much I can remember.

My sister was home for three weeks during her summer break from nursing school. It was nice because she was able to help out with my dad. There’s no way I could change his dressings from his drain. I would throw up. She basically spent the whole first week at the hospital with my dad. He was finally discharged on the Tuesday that my cousins came in to town.

They’re from New York, but they recently moved to Connecticut. April has been to Georgia before, but it was like 15 years ago. It was James’ first time in Georgia. They said they were cool with doing nothing and just spending time with the family. But, I wanted to do as much as we could before I had chemo that week. We took them to Mary Mac’s for some real Southern food. That was pretty much the only thing we did in Atlanta. Then, we took them to some good food places around here. They had Waffle House for the first time too.

On Thursday, my sister and my cousins dropped me off at chemo. They got to see my sweet set up. When they came back to pick me up, we went to Marietta Square for lunch. Then, we walked around and did a little shopping and got some ice cream. I was pretty tired so we cooked dinner at home and played BANG! I wish they could have stayed longer.

We all went to my aunt’s hair salon too. I shaved my hair off. Not completely. I’ve got a Charlize Theron buzz cut going on. It feels so weird. My hair is still falling out a lot. I wake up with a bunch of tiny hairs on my pillow. I feel everything when the wind blows. April, and my other cousin, Amy, got me a fun, purple wig to wear. I’m just not sure where I’d wear it. Maybe if I go out in midtown one night or something.

The rest of my sister’s time at home was spent cleaning out a lot of junk and clutter from our house. We took 3 and a half Jeeps full of crap to Goodwill. They thought we had robbed someone. But, if we robbed someone, wouldn’t we be selling everything and not donating it to charity? We had to sneak everything out of the house because my grandma would get so mad if she knew we were getting rid of all of her plates, cups, and bowls.

Last weekend was spent celebrating one of my closest friends and her upcoming marriage. The bridal party did a lot of arts and crafting on Saturday to get ready for the shower on Sunday. Everything turned out really nicely so it was worth the hard work. The bridal shower was at the Old Vinings Inn. It was the perfect venue. The games were fun. The food was good. The bride loved it. It was great! There were also 9 out of 13 Rhos there. Always a plus to see so many of my line sisters in one place.

After the shower, some of my line sisters took me wig shopping in Atlanta. I’ll post the montage below. I tried on a blonde wig and I looked exactly like my mother. It was crazy. I never thought I looked like her. But, I guess that’s because she dyes her hair blonde so I couldn’t picture it. I ended up buying a wig to wear for a wedding I have next weekend. I still want to get another wig for the November wedding I’m in.

My dad had a minor surgery this morning to have one of his drains replaced. There’s still a lot of fluid in his body and they needed a bigger tube to get everything out. Hopefully, this will be the last thing. Once everything is drained, he can get his drain removed and we’ll be all done with this whole ordeal. He really wants to get back to work. I think he’s getting sick of just being at home all day.

I have my 8th chemo treatment coming up this Thursday. I’m already dreading it. September is going to be a busy, busy month! I don’t even know how I’m so busy because I have no job.

Well, here are some pictures from all of the adventures over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

~SL

This wig was real, virgin hair. It cost $745. WTF?!

This wig was real, virgin hair. It cost $745. WTF?!

I really liked this one. Might go back to get it.

I really liked this one. Might go back to get it.

Bridal shower games.

Bridal shower games.

Photo booth back drop at the bridal shower.

Photo booth back drop at the bridal shower.

Rho class bridal shower selfie.

Rho class bridal shower selfie.

My new look.

My new look.

Lunch at Mary Mac's

Lunch at Mary Mac’s

Round #4

 

It’s been over 2 weeks since I last wrote. I feel like a lot has happened. But, at the same time, I feel like nothing has happened. So, let’s recap.

My oncologist still says that I’m doing pretty well. I’m still losing a lot of hair. I’m debating if I should shave it all off and just get it over with. My nails have started to discolor. My skin and mouth are getting really dry. My body is almost always in pain. My nausea has been ok though. Food still tastes like food, too. I hope that doesn’t change anytime soon. Fatigue has been the same. I’m just tired all the time.

Chemo #4 went pretty smoothly. They still don’t allow visitors to sit with you anymore. So, it was pretty lonely. But, there was no trouble taking my blood. I wasn’t waiting around as long as I normally do. There was a little hiccup with my port when I had to get my doxorubicin, but it was quickly resolved with our usual game of Simon Says. That’s when the nurses make me move in different positions (arm over head, shoulders back, roll over to your side, etc.), make me cough, and take deep breaths to get my port to start working properly.

My chemo brain is getting really intense. I can’t remember anything. Even when I drive to places that I’m familiar with, I forget how to get there or where I’m going. That sounds really dangerous as I am writing about it. I forget what I’m going to say as it’s coming out of my mouth.

I went to yoga for cancer patients last week. It was me and 5 or 6 older ladies. Most of them were breast cancer survivors and one was an HL survivor (like me!). They were so sweet. And it was so relaxing. I think I fell asleep at one point.

In non-cancer news…

My two best friends came into town to visit. Our group of five hasn’t all been together since almost a year ago! So it was nice to see them and have the whole gang all together again. We had a nice lunch in Marietta Square. Then, 4 out of 5 of us went to the Braves game with a Boyz II Men concert afterwards. It was great! They’re so good even after all these years!

It was also Father’s Day. We went to the outlets and ate tacos! So really, it was like a day for me. My mom and I had a shopping spree in Kate Spade. But, at least my dad got some new shoes.

I went to the first annual Georgia Blood Cancer Conference. I dragged my awesome friend, Nick, with me. He didn’t even hesitate when I asked him to wake up early and sacrifice a Saturday. It was pretty informational. The first session was more focused on Leukemia, but it was still interesting. The most useful information I found was about nutrition and survivorship issues. Technically by definition, I am already considered a survivor. That’s pretty cool!

But then they also freaked me out by talking about the short term and long term side effects of chemo and radiation. And in addition to that, there’s also late effects that show up way after you’re done with treatment. The percentages aren’t high, but there’s a chance for a second cancer or relapse. If I have to do radiation, then the chances increase. I guess with my chemo drugs, I’m most susceptible to lung problems and heart failure.

Next year, they hope to have different tracks for the conference so there’s more relevant information. But, it was free! And the food was good. That’s all I need! I guess this should have been in the cancer news section.

My dad has been in the hospital since Saturday. He was throwing up all day on Friday, but decided to see if it would pass. We decided to go to the ER on Saturday because he started having some extreme abdomen pain. That was my first time in the ER. It was not pleasant… and probably not the best place for a cancer patient to be. We got there at 5 PM and they finally decided to admit him overnight around midnight. He was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction and inflamed pancreas. I’ve been going back and forth from home to the hospital everyday. My mom has been staying at the hospital mostly with my dad and she stays overnight. I stay at the hospital during most of the day, bring my mom whatever she needs from home, and then take care of my grandma at night and in the morning. It’s been tiring. Shout out to my bestie, Kelsey, for shuttling my mom back and forth from our house to the hospital so someone could stay with my dad at all times.

I feel kind of bad for my mom. She has my grandmother with dementia, me with cancer, and my dad in the hospital. Luckily, I’m home so I can help out. I feel bad for my dad. They’re just waiting for the blockage to clear by sucking everything out with an NG tube and he’s on a bunch of meds to reduce inflammation. But, he’s still in a lot of pain and he just wants to go home. It’s really hard watching your parents get older. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get out of here in the next couple of days.

My plans for the 4th of July have fallen through now that I’m staying home to help out my family. 4th of July is my favorite holiday! I wish I still lived in New York and I could just sit on my front lawn to watch the fireworks. Hope you all have something fun planned for the 4th!

Oh! And in historical news, gay marriage was finally legalized nationwide! Now, it’s just plain ol’ marriage. If I can’t find a husband, I can just look for a wife! So many more opportunities. But, it’s about time. It’s 2015. America is so behind the times.

Here are some pictures from the past two weeks. Until next time!

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Reunited! <3

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Rho Class dinner with a view of Atlanta.

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Braves game!

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Boyz II Men

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Chemo #4

~SL

Round 1

I had my first chemotherapy treatment last Wednesday. So it’s been about 4 days. It was… surreal. Actually, everything about this experience has been surreal. I constantly find myself thinking, “Whoa. I have cancer.” Anyway… back to my story…

I was so prepared to have chemo on Tuesday. But, apparently they changed my appointment without telling me. I called the office and they said that when I went into the office for my Lupron shot on Friday, they gave me a sheet with the updated appointment time on it. But, when I checked out, they said I was good to go and I wasn’t given any papers. The receptionist tried to blame me. She said, “You should do a better job of keeping up with your paperwork.” Wow! Thanks for making my first chemotherapy session less traumatic. So, my sister changed her flight back to New York and still wasn’t able to stay for my first treatment.

So I went into my first chemo session on Wednesday with my grandlittle. It was the first time using my port. It was so weird! When you go into the office, the phlebotomist has to take your vitals and blood work. So, she’s always the first person to access my port and get it ready for treatment. We both have to wear masks when she initially accesses it with the needle so nothing gets infected. I was so tense when she poked my chest with the needle. She was like, “Um… can you sit back a little bit?” Haha. So she took my blood… from my chest! Weird! She also said that my surgeon placed my port pretty low. She basically had to violate me and get all up in my space to do what she needed to do. Oops.

My grandlittle and I went into the chemo room and sat there for a while. They have to wait for the blood work results before they give you any drugs. They also had to run a pregnancy test since it was my first treatment. They’re very adamant about me not having babies on chemo.

Once I was cleared, they ran some fluids in me… through my chest! Gross. Then, they ran 3 pre-chemo drugs through me. Two were for nausea and one was an anti-inflammatory medication. Since it was my first treatment, they had to do a test run and wait an hour to see if I had a reaction. After that, they started with the ABVD, my chemo regimen for Hodgkins Lymphoma. It took forever! We were there for 6 hours! We left when the office was closed. Of course, my next treatment should be shorter since they won’t have to do all of those extra tests.

I’m so thankful my grandlittle stayed with me the entire time. She even left to grab me lunch. I don’t even know how the time passed. I know I fell asleep for a little bit. But, the nurses said my reactions were funny because I was just so grossed out by all the medicine and stuff running through my chest.

My friends and family got together to make me a First Day of Chemo video. It was great! I cried and laughed. I got messages from my friends in different states and even other countries! It was the best.

Chemo is tiring even though you just sit there for hours. I went home and luckily I had a friend come over to keep me company. I just felt really tired. The nausea and fatigue got worse as the days passed. But, I actually felt good today. I haven’t been able to eat much because I’ve been so nauseous. I’ve been sleeping a lot!

The day after chemo, I was still able to get around and run errands. But, I had hiccups all day. I would get rid of them and they would come back. I googled it and it’s a thing! Chemo hiccups. What?! It’s on the list of things to ask my oncologist about when I see him this week. I’m surprised I haven’t thrown up yet. But, I do feel nauseous all the time.

I almost passed out in the shower on Friday. Everything just got dark and I was like, “Ok wash all the soap off and get out!” I just plopped down on my bed until I felt better. Apparently, the water overheated my body. So, I’ve been scared to shower since then. But, I did ok today. I guess I’ll just be taking cold showers from now on.

Other than that, I feel like I’ve been pretty good. I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. And I know it’s just going to get worse. I want it to be over already. Six months seems like such a long time. It looks like I’m doing treatments every 2 weeks.

Emotionally, I think I’m holding up alright. I’m looking into seeing a therapist who specializes in working with people who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. I’m realizing that I have a lot of fears. A lot of good things are still happening in my life, but I’m just very cautious because I don’t know what’s going to happen with my cancer and how much worse things will get. I’m scared that when the signs of my sickness start to really show that I won’t be as active and won’t want to be out and about as much. I don’t want my cancer to take all of my freedom away. I still want to be able to do things on my own and take care of myself. I just know that at some point, that won’t be possible. I don’t like people worrying about me. That’s what I do for other people. I take care of other people. That’s what I do. Now, the tables are turned and I don’t like it. I’m usually a pretty bubbly and bright person. I don’t want that to change, but I feel like it may. There’s just a lot of things to think about.

It’s nice that bumming around all day is now acceptable. When people ask me what I have planned for the day, instead of saying, “Nothing,” I can say, “Just fighting cancer.” Haha.

People have told me you will bounce back from treatments quicker in the beginning. Then, the side effects just start to pile up on top of each other and it’ll take longer to feel better again. So, I feel like I should be okay until my next treatment. We’ll see. Hopefully, those hiccups don’t come back. That was annoying.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

~SL

I found this while perusing PostSecret. It's very true.

I found this while perusing PostSecret. It’s very true.

The Beginning of the End

This past week was my last spring break ever! Unless I go back to school, I suppose. I’m not a big party, spring break person so I just went to New York for a week to spend time with my sister, friends, and family. Of course, everyone still had work so it wasn’t really an action packed week or anything. The highlights of my week were going to NYC on Sunday. I made the usual stops at Muji and Uniqlo. I had to skip David’s Tea because I knew I would just spend all my money. I got to spend some time with my little. Then, we had my sister’s Tumorversary brunch at this restaurant called Mother’s Ruin. We also had my cousin’s son’s 6th birthday get together that night. He said it was a waste of his time because he could have been at home watching his Apple TV. Kids these days…

I spent all day Monday in New Jersey visiting my best friend, Shital. She showed me the best of New Jersey… If you’re a New Yorker like I am, you know what I mean. But, we had a good time shopping and catching up. Later that night, we did Escape the Room in NYC. There were 4 people in our group, so we were trapped in the apartment with 6 strangers. It was a mess because we had no plan and the other people were very intense. We had 60 minutes to find all of the clues unlock all of the locks. We did not make it. I think it would be more fun with people you knew. Strangers suck. And they smelled like cigarette smoke. Gross.

Other than that, I just hung out with family all week. My sister and I binge watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which everyone should watch! It’s so funny!

The end of this week marks the beginning of the end of my graduate school journey. Our integrative memo case will be released this Friday. It’s what we call our comprehensive exit exam. Basically, if you fail, you don’t graduate. We have two weeks to complete it so I will most likely be MIA for the next two weeks (March 20-April 3). After that we have a capstone paper due in another two weeks. All that on top of all the papers and finals I have for class. It’s the home stretch and I can feel the struggle already. Wish me luck!

My birthday fundraiser will still be going on. This year I’m raising money for the American Red Cross. I’m already over half of the way to $260 for my 26th birthday. You have until my 26th birthday on April 2 to help me reach my goal! Thanks to everyone who has already contributed!

See you after finals!

~SL

1 Down. 3 To Go.

This past weekend, I went to my cousin, Amy’s, wedding. I’m excited to announce that I have a new cousin in the family, Chris! The entire weekend was amazing, filled with lots of family and fun. My favorites.

My parents and I took the long drive up to New York last Thursday. We left around 6:00 AM and got to my aunt’s house in Yonkers at about 8:30 PM. The first thing I did? Stepped in a pile of snow… while I was wearing just my Vans… no socks. I couldn’t even run into the house because there are so many stairs! I don’t know how I used to live in New York. The South has changed me. But I still love snow! I think everything about it is magical and it makes everything look beautiful. Atlantans probably don’t think that after these past couple days though.

Friday morning, I was summoned to the city for brunch with my Amy, Chris, my sister, and the bridal party. I wasn’t in the bridal party, but I seemed to follow them around a lot… It was a long trip to get to the city and a short time actually spent in the city. But, I couldn’t go to New York without going to the city at least once. I love the train. We ate at Friedman’s. It was delicious. Breakfast noms. Amy and Chris’ friends rented a giant Yukon. We all piled in after brunch to head back to Nanuet.

The rest of Friday was spent hanging out with family and watching my Uncle cut down pine branches from trees for wedding decorations. Then, we headed out for the rehearsal dinner at the Hudson House in Nyack. It was awesome, aside from the fact that I was wearing a dress and heels in the snow. The restaurant was beautiful and we had the whole top floor to ourselves. Chris’ mom read a poem about how great sons can be and it was so cute! Then, Grandma Donna (my foster grandma) made a speech about how the Nghe family came to America and how she got the opportunity to sponsor my family. I cryyyy.

Saturday, the day of the wedding, went by so fast! Especially since my sister and I stayed up later than expected preparing our “speech” for the reception. We woke up a little earlier to tweak the speech some more. Then, we were headed out on some crazy pre-wedding errands. Somehow, we ended up at the Palisades Mall running around looking for a Payless to buy flats for the bride and then stopping at Fairway for flowers for the wedding decorations. We stopped by my uncle’s house to eat some lunch before heading out to the venue, The View, to start decorating. We decorated as much as we could, took some family photos with the bride and then headed over to our hotel to check in.

Again, being in such a rush and having a malfunctioning elevator, we ended up missing the last shuttle back to the View. Luckily, the power went out at the View because it was snowing so that slowed things down a bit. We scrambled to try to find a ride back. Again, luckily, as we were panicking in the lobby, my aunt and uncle came down and we managed to get a ride with them. We arrived just when the lights came back on and they began seating. Perfect timing!

Amy is very creative. She had her bridesmaids carry instruments with flowers on them. They played their little tambourines and shakers while dancing down the isle to the sound of an acapella group singing “Rhythm of Love.” It was so fun! My sister did a reading of the children’s book “The Wonderful Happens.” I think the best part was when Chris’ best man didn’t have the ring. Everyone looked around like OMG! WTF?! And then Chris’ nieces and nephews came up with Amy’s childhood teddy bear (who was spiffed up in a tux) who was holding the ring. It was adorable!

After a cocktail hour, that seemed like dinner because there was so much food, we moved to the reception. It was so much fun! Might have had something to do with the open. But, still fun nonetheless! Of course, if you know Amy, you would expect nothing less than great food! I haven’t been to many weddings, but at any large dinner event, you never really have high expectations. Of course, the food was hot and delicious! Nom nom nom. Amy and Chris’ first dance quickly transitioned into a choreographed dance with the entire bridal party. Even Amy’s father-daughter dance with my uncle transitioned into an amazing choreographed dance. I didn’t know my uncle had moves like that!

Now, I may be a little biased, but I think the highlight of the night was me and my sister’s speech. They said we wouldn’t do it! But, oh, we did and we did it well. My sister and I like to express ourselves in song. So, naturally, we rewrote the lyrics to the Fresh Prince theme song to tell the story of Amy and Chris’ love. I’m still waiting for a video to surface because I still haven’t seen myself perform it. I was very intoxicated at that point of the night, but from the response, I think it was pretty good. I think my body is still sore from dancing all night.

Sunday morning, we headed to my aunt’s house for brunch. My parents and I took Amy and Chris over from the hotel early in the morning so we could start cooking and preparing for the guests. The best part of my trips to New York is being in a house filled with family. It is the best feeling in the world. It’s the best part of my childhood from New York and something that I really miss when I’m in Georgia. Sadly, it had to end. Amy and Chris’ friends who rented the Yukon kindly took me to the airport with them since our flights were at the same time. By the way, Amy and Chris have the nicest friends!

It was a great weekend! I’m sad to be back in Georgia… so far from my family. But, I’ll be seeing them soon. Wedding #2 in June! Can’t wait!

Congratulations, Amy and Chris!

Click here for a compilation video of events from the weekend. Enjoy!

~SL