Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

I've never been one to shy away from birthdays. Turning 30 didn't freak me out, like it does for others I have heard of. I know for certain now that I will never, ever dread the rolling over of another year on my life's calendar. The day you stop getting older is the day you die and I'm certainly no fan of that option.

Today I turn 31. I'm turning 31 in a context that I did not expect at this time last year, that's for sure. Whether I knew it then or not, I still had cancer, so I'm glad to be the enlightened individual I am today. I'm also glad to say that this is the first birthday, in recent years anyway, where I am cancer free! Who knows how long Ethel had been lurking around but I'm glad to know she's been kicked to the curb. I'm also EXTREMELY glad to report that chemotherapy is no longer a thing I'm "doing". It is also in the past. Now, I can only hope that it will remain there for ever more. I have no desire to repeat that little diddy - let me tell you.

We had to make another trip to the hospital this round for some symptom management and I'm now one of those people who cries when they enter certain rooms. Those rooms are the chemo delivery rooms. I wasn't even there to get chemo, just shots to help me feel better and I was crying. And let me tell you, it was UGLY crying. Since I have no nose hairs, my nose was a faucet. Bless Paul, he had to actually catch snot with his hands. If that isn't love, that I just don't know what it. Why do I always talk about Paul and boogers? This is totally a theme, but hopefully one that will end when my nose hairs grow back.

In part, the crying was because they blew my viens again so it was a fairly uncomfortable experience (in addition to my already being fairly uncomfortable). It's also because I'm a straight-up baby! This time the nurse blew two veins in total. From what I can tell, this chemo is rough on my veins and they are starting to resent having needles put into them. I've got two nice sized bruises to show for my efforts though. Although I don't really speak Korean I'm pretty sure I understood the sentiment when I showed up at the injection room and my nurse semi-freaked out; she too remembered how hard it had been to find a vein the last time. In the end she wasn't all that successful in getting the meds into my vein but this isn't such a big deal. With chemo it is extremely important that the chemo not go anywhere but the vien - they mess that up and you can be looking at plastic surgery to reconstruct the tissue. So of the two sets of needles this week, I'm rather grateful that the chemo ended up in the right place!

Anyway, the whole point it, I'm glad to be turing another year older. I'm grateful to be doing it while on the road to recovery and during a time when a full recovery is indeed possible. Before chemo this week we met with my surgeon and my radio-oncologist. I will have 6 and a half weeks of radiation starting on January 4th, In between now and then I have some tests and some tattoos to get done. I also will start Tamoxifen, which I am anxious to get started. The sooner I start it, the sooner 5 years of it will be over. I promise a full report following my next meeting with the people in the know - which is December 29th.

So this year, I'll celebrate my birthday with Eggs Benedicts, a trip to the Dog Cafe and the hope that the new year will bring relatively side effect free radiation.


  1. I hope you had a relaxing day, Laura. Also, I kind of hope your hair grows back in curly, but not your nose hair. I hope that comes in blonde. Wouldn't that be a birthday miracle!!

  2. I hope the Dog Cafe was full of amazing puppies with nothing but birthday love for you!
    Also, the new year will bring me to KOREA for a visit. Did you guys get my christmas email?
    I will need to figure out when will be an appropriate time for a week visit to ensure you guys won't be travelling somewhere. that would be sad and funny but mostly sad