“Like a Baby”: My New Normal/FAQ

Hey kids! This is that one post where I asked for questions in a Facebook status, and then like two people actually asked questions. I get a lot of repeat questions, though, so I do have some other ones I can answer.

When are you coming back to school? Right now I’m on track to be back at school around the beginning of February. While I’m out I’ll be taking the last English course I need to graduate online, and when I’m back at school I can take the semester courses I need for graduation.

What can/do you eat? What are your top 5 foods? What I can eat depends on when I last had chemo. 2-3 days after chemo, my most exciting cuisine is maybe a bagel or something bland and simple. When I am out of chemo for around a week, though, my appetite is entirely normal. My taste buds have changed: where I previously loved red meat, soda, and chocolate, I can now only eat these things on occasion. I prefer sour candy and foods only children like, such as Easy Mac and pizza rolls. I really do eat like a third grader. I would say my top 5 favorite foods are, in no particular order: potato salad, ramen noodles, iced coffee (this absolutely counts), Ye Ole Fashioned peanut butter chocolate swirl ice cream, and pad see ew (it’s Thai).

What is chemotherapy like? Chemotherapy is like having life sucked out of you through a needle, to be completely honest with you. Receiving it is not that bad for me. The overall weakness and nausea are the real problem. For a few days after chemo, you feel like a zombie if you get out of bed at all. Walking long distances is not an option; stairs are the worst. However, it gets better each day and because I have to wait on my blood to be ready for chemo again, I often have a week or so of time where I feel entirely normal. Those weeks are the best weeks.

How can I help? I honestly feel conceited even answering this question, because you don’t need to do a thing. Your prayers are enough and they HAVE been working, so please do keep praying. I receive so many cards and gifts and I love them all, but don’t feel like you ever have to do something like that. I never feel like I can thank you properly.

Could you imagine going through this without your faith? No. If you don’t have faith, what do you have? I’ve always been very private about my faith, and my philosophy has always been very simple. Give your problems to God and don’t worry about them, and if you don’t love everybody you’re doing it wrong. I’m not angry, I’m not confused, I just keep moving forward.

I must think I’m something special, interviewing myself like that. I thought y’all were gonna ask weird questions like do I still have arm hair (I don’t), but I guess that’s only something I would do. I hope you got something out of this, and still ask questions if you have them! I’m an open book.

Where in the World is Hannah Sandiego?

Get it? Like Carmen Sandiego? No? Forget it. I’m not as funny as I think I am.

Since we last spoke, I had another fever and some more chemo. The fever was much the same as last time, but this time it was during Shark Week so I was more entertained. The chemo was also boring. I sleep the whole time, and I never remember any of it. YAWN. You came here for something interesting, and by golly I’m gonna give it to you.

This past Tuesday I had a day full of scans to assess my tumor situation for surgery. If you recall, the areas in question were my back tumor and an uncertain spot on my pelvis. Anyway, I got to the hospital at 8:30 a.m. and got home at 2:15 a.m. I’d like to thank the pumpkin spice latte I had that afternoon for this accomplishment. I had every scan under the sun that day: a bone scan, a PET/CT scan, an MRI. Not to mention a unit of platelets and two units of blood. Many tiny naps were taken.

So what became of all of this flim-flammery, you ask? Good things, friend. The tumor and pelvic mystery responded very well. Though radiation and chemotherapy are still to come, I will NOT have to have surgery to remove the tumor. This is incredible news, and the doctors were shocked at the response. I was not surprised. Prayer works. Let me take a moment to say, however, that I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have 22 weeks of chemo and plenty of radiation. The finish line is not in sight, but I like to think that I’m over the hill.

Take a second to pat yourself on the back, reader. Your prayers, your thoughts, your hope…it’s working. Keep praying, keep thinking, keep hoping.