Friday, February 20, 2009

I AM NOT MY HAIR!

Thanks to India Arie and Robin Roberts, I have a perfect soundtrack to one more transformational event in this journey. Two days ago my hair started to fall out. I didn't want to wait for it to fall out in clumps, so I called my stylist, Cece. I asked her to donate her time so I could donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. (they make real hair wigs and provide them for free to women with cancer) Cece was AMAZING...she not only offered her time, but couldn't have been more lovely and supportive. With my buddy Martha right there with me, documenting the fun occasion, Cece gave me perhaps the coolest cut ever! Instead of making it a sad day, they made me feel like a rock star!

So that y'all could feel like you were there with me, I put together this little diddy of the before, during and afters. It's my first whack at making a movie on my mac...Spielberg I ain't!

Yesterday I had another wonderful experience at the Wellness Community. They team up with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to teach women how to care for their skin, face and bald domes during chemo. In addition to a demo, we all got incredibly generous bags full of fancy-schmancy cosmetics donated by companies like Chanel, Lancome and Clinique! So, I put my new make-up to use this morning and put my face on in honor of my new buzz!

Tomorrow I'm going to try to play tennis for the first time. It'll be my first time exercising in over two months....I can't wait!

All's good, and I'm absolutely loving life.... And all of you who are reading this:)

kisses for everybody!!!!


video

Friday, February 13, 2009

I have limbs

Recently I found myself starting to focus on the things that I can't do ~ now, and in the coming months. Oh, I'm going to be bald, so I shouldn't submit myself for jobs.....or oh, I may not know how I'm going to feel after chemo, so I shouldn't make plans...whoa is me, whoa is me.... The 'big questions' started to rain down, and the answers either weren't coming, or I didn't like them much.

THEN, I remembered a brief video that was sent to me by my friend, Nik. The video is of a young Australian man, Nick Vujicic. Nick was born with no arms and no legs. He just has a little 'flipper', a sort of deformed foot. Other than that, he's a torso...and a handsome one at that!

I went back to YouTube and watched some videos of Nick again this week. The biggest lesson? Focus on everything that is right, and not on what is wrong. Ahhhh, the simple lesson. Here's why it hit home...When Nick was eight, he wanted to kill himself. He started to think of all the things that he wouldn't be able to do in his life. He couldn't dance, hold hands, get married, play sports, etc, etc. Then, he looked in the mirror and noticed that he had beautiful eyes. He focused on his eyes, and how handsome he was! From that moment on, he learned to focus exclusively on everything, no matter how small, that was right and good and special about him, and eliminate thoughts on what he couldn't do.

Now Nick is a motivational speaker around the world. He went to college, makes a shit ton of money and changes people's lives. Oh, he also swims, lives on his own, and is mean on the putting green.

This little guy has changed my week, and perhaps, hopefully, given me a gift of perspective that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. My life is great. I am blessed. Instead of focusing on who won't want me now, the auditions that I can't go out on, the fear of the future, I now focus on all of the wonderful qualities I've been blessed with. Today I woke up filled with Joy. Even before my diagnosis, I can't say that I remember the last time I felt pure Joy. Nothing has changed this week, other than perspective.

See for yourself the gift that made me write this post:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4uG2kSdd-4&feature=related

It's just one of about sixty videos on YouTube you can check out - from 4 mins to 30. Watch and I dare you to bitch about anything in your life!

I love you. Thanks for letting me share.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So ya say you want a notification?

I was under the impression, along with most of you who've signed on as 'followers' (how creepy is that word, anyway?!) of this blog that when I publish a new post, you'd get an email notification letting you know it's out there. Welllllll.....turns out, not so much.

I have learned how to make this work, but I just want to check in with you to see if you want that to happen, before I put you on 'the list'. Long story short, if you want to get an email letting you know a new post is here to read, lemme know....shoot a comment out here, send me an email, text, smoke signal...somethin'... and I'll make it happen :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All good!

Five days since chemo and four since Nulasta, and today I feel totally like myself again...physically and mentally. Yay! It was an action-packed week with visitors, chemo, and the dreaded shot. I think I may have underestimated the emotional toll of it all, as well as some of the side effects that I pushed through.

Those side effects, thankfully, were totally bearable! The Nulasta shot, rumored to hurt even when getting it, was painless. My favorite nurse, who I've nick-named "Barcode" gave me the shot. Barcode is a short, bald guy with tattoos all over who looks like a gang-banger. He has a barcode on the back of his neck, which I particularly like, hence his name. I think his real name is Marvin. Mean looking, but couldn't be sweeter. He spent several minutes warming the syringe with his hands so the injection would be comfortable. Awwww, how cute is that?!

Saturday and Sunday I had some lower back and hip pain that made me feel really old and crickety - but not in a fancy Benjamin Button kinda way. Equally uncomfortable was constipation and bloating that I could've really done with without. That said, if a few days of annoying side effects are all I have to deal with, then I consider myself awfully lucky and will remain grateful. Even the dreaded mouth sores that were supposed to show up didn't. I think that's a result of daily loading up on L-Lysine, which came not from a recommendation of Oncology, but from a patient of Pookie's, who just finished chemo.

Yesterday I had a follow up with my oncologist. She said I'm doing great, and that I shouldn't have any more issues til my next round. I can expect to lose my hair by the end of February. Supposedly my scalp will start to tingle or hurt when that happens.

On another happy note, I booked a small role in an indie film yesterday! It's the only audition that I went out for since my diagnosis. It's a funny, character role that'll be a lot of fun. When the producer called me, I had to tell her that by the shoot date on teh 28th, I may very well be bald, and have to wear a wig. She couldn't have been sweeter and more understanding...she said scarf, wig or bald, she's just glad to have me in the project! It's nice to have something to look forward to working on. Tomorrow I'll call to see if I can schedule my next round to be two days after the shoot date, not two days before.

The only other dr's appt that I have before the next round of chemo is with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Crisera. He's going to shoot my boob up with some more saline in the expander to better match the right side. Pump up the volume, doc!

I hope to be able to exercise by next week. So, if you are reading this, and you are in CA, give a call if you want to hit some tennis balls!

As always, I can't really tell you how much your support means to me. I am so lucky to be loved like this!

xoxoxoxoxoK


Thursday, February 5, 2009

One down, three to go...


Thanks so much for remembering that today was my first chemo. I appreciate all of the calls and emails!

Two of my most favorite people came with me to the session, Pookie and Martha. We had the most fun chemo cube in the joint! We played Scrabble and laughed. See the scrabble intensity on the two of them! ;)

Thankfully, the actual treatment didn't hurt. It was pretty interesting during the "pre-treatment" drug drip, when they gave me Benadryl and a bunch of other things. The Benadryl has a side effect of sleepiness. I could feel it affect my head, and my tongue felt like it was on a time delay long-distance call...about a second behind my thoughts. It was kinda funny.

After the first drip, which took a half hour, they started the Taxotere. After that, the Cytoxan. All said, we were there for four hours, and Pookie kicked our butts at Scrabble. He's king of the triple word score.

I ate popsicles and ice cubes throughout the session, and have been loading up on Lysine, in hopes to stave off mouth sores.

Tomorrow I go back to get a shot of Nulasta, a drug that strikes fear in people, cause it is supposed to make your bones hurt like a bitch. Of course, as with most side effects, this happens to some people, and not to others. I'm planning on being 'one of the others.' I have to get one of these shots the day following each chemo treatment.

Nulasta spurs growth in bone marrow, which stimulates rapid production of white blood cells. This altering of the rate of white cell creation causes the bone pain. Oh, and the shot itself is not supposed to be much fun, either. The reason for this is that chemo kills off a ton of white blood cells, and you need them to fight off infection during treatment. I'm going to load up on Advil and weed cookies to get me through the next few weeks. (and the 5 other drugs that they gave me, as needed)

Emotionally, this week has been a toughie. After giving it some thought, I think it might have something to do with some sort of confirmation that comes with each treament step along the way that I actually have cancer. Maybe it's some kind of delayed reality check. It's not that I'm any more scared of it, but some other demons have been creeping up. It's like a cauldron of ingredients that are swirling around. On an average day, you deal with each ingredient that goes bad. When everything else is weighing on you, and you feel vulnerable, it makes dealing more challenging.

That said, today was a really good day, and I feel back to my normal self. It was a happy day, and I feel terribly loved. And I thank you so much for that. Really.

More soon...

love love love love love K