I know you all have been patiently waiting for another session of Frank pictures. Well wait no more! It’s a Christmas miracle! Frank has his own little gingerbread house!
He wasn’t that cooperative with the Gingerbread house, and my photo session, so I only got one okay picture. I guess I will have to make up for it with the next pictures. My amazing mom, cut out the house and sketched on all the wonderful candies and decor! When I was feeling better, I painted it, while watching afternoon shows. Thanks again Mom, you never seize to amaze me!
I have not updated the blog in a while, so get ready for a lengthy blog post! Since the holiday season is upon us, I have been busy making and baking gifts. It has kept me busy, and a little too busy this week. Sometimes I forget my own strength, and get worn down, forgetting that I have chemo drugs running through my veins inhibiting me from doing all the things. I will post more recipes next time.
Since my taste buds are a bit messed up, I haven’t been able to test many recipes, but I’m still working on ideas! Here are some shots from things I veganized this past month: Guinness Gingerbread and Chocolate Crinkle cookies.
Today, my Mom and Dad will be flying in to spend Christmas with us. I’m sad not to be able to see more family at Christmas, but I shouldn’t be traveling, even though my counts are back up. I will have my 5th treatment the day after Christmas. With the risk of catching something(which could delay my treatment)and having to get back that soon, it was just easier to have my parents come for a visit.
There is something fascinating to me about tracking the cycle that my body goes through with the chemo. Every time that I go to the doctor, whether or not I see her, they check my vitals and I get blood drawn from my port. I put a little lidocaine( a numbing agent)over my port, with a piece of plastic wrap over it so it doesn’t rub off. I usually don’t feel the needle, and I’m so happy to have a port, rather than using my hands/arms for an IV, like many of the people I see in the infusion room. The arms in your veins are much weaker, and the chemo can damage them, where as a port implanted in the chest, goes directly to your main jugular.
They use the information from my blood draw to track my blood counts and full metabolic counts, like kidney and liver function. They usually print out a copy for me, so I understand how my body is functioning. During my most recent low week, my white blood counts were at an all time low of 1.2. The normal range is between 4-10. This is why I’m a hermit for a week, because If I were to catch anything, my body wouldn’t have any way to defend itself. Last week, my WBC were back up to 6.5, which I find incredible, that within a week I was back to the normal range. This is why I’m on the 21-day chemo cycle, which is the amount of time it takes for my body to return to a somewhat normal state, to get hit again with the chemo.
I haven’t really had any crazy things happen during this treatment cycle. One interesting thing I noticed is that my nails have lines going across them. And there are 3, as if my nails are mimicking the rings on a tree, marking the number of treatment cycles I have been through (I haven’t finished the forth one yet, so I’m sure that ring will appear in a few weeks. I’m just hoping my nails don’t fall off!
I have kinda grown to love not having any hair. I don’t always appreciate the long stares(My protector, Charlie, is excellent at staring people back down, until they awkwardly smile), but I’m kinda over it, and it doesn’t bother me as much. I do like that it’s one less thing I have to worry about everyday. And If it’s too cold out to go bald, I just through on my hair hat, run a comb through it and we are off. A one-minute hair prep time!
For some reason, I remember thinking to myself earlier this year, how much I would hate not having hair. It’s like the universe said, “Let’s teach her a lesson.” I was always good at doing different styles to my hair, and It was one thing that I consistently liked about myself. I had just learned all these new braids a few months before my diagnosis. As a teenager, and even a young twenty something, I struggled with my body image. At one point, I was exercising for 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, trying to achieve perfection, which by the way, was never attainable in my eyes. I was never enough for myself. And my hair, was a part of my identity, something people complimented me on, and to some extent envied. It is so liberating for me to not have that part of my identity, and be bald. And with my diagnosis, I felt guilty for ever complaining about how I looked, because I was finally enough. It all seems to matter a lot less when your faced with a life and death situation. I am just glad to be alive, and as long as I continue to treat my body well and stay healthy(probably even more healthy now than I was before) it will be enough.
When I was at the grocery store the other day, I was checking out in line, and this lady asked me where I got my hair cut. She proceeded to tell me that she was a mom, that didn’t have a lot of time for herself so she wanted an easy hair style. She said she just loved the cut and color. I tried to dodge her question, but then just whispered, “It’s a wig”. But I told her the great place I did get my hair cut before it all happened. I’m glad my wig looks real! And I love the color of it!
My friend made me this awesome certificate! That’s an official Griffindor stamp of approval on there!
When I’m feeling up for it, Charles and I will take walks around our neighborhood. Here are some pictures I took from our most recent walk. I enjoy taking walks with my camera. I can practice different photography and appreciate the beauty in simple things around me. We thought this shack looked really safe!
This plant looked like it was photo-bombing this shot!
Nothing like a 65 degree December day in Texas!
Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!