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Chemo Round 12

So today was Chemo Round 12: the penultimate -- or second to last for those of you who weren’t wowed by vocab words in high school -- round. I thought I’d do this post a little differently, with a play-by-play of my day.

8:10am - Woke up, feeling not too tired and thus not regretting watching that last episode of Law & Order: SVU at about 1am. Jumped in the shower because I won’t be showering until Wednesday and would like to not look like a disaster by Tuesday afternoon. Danced like a crazy woman in the shower because I had my “Pump Up” playlist on -- lots of hip hop music and some David Guetta-inspired dance music. Downed some oatmeal for breakfast, jumped in the Beemer (my “oh yeah, I have my dream job so why not have my dream car” purchase), and was on my way to Norris.

8:45am - I roll into Norris, with “All the Above” on full blast (well, not quite full blast. Will is very against high volumes in the car, so we’re in a constant, silent battle of adjusting the volume up and adjusting the volume down and adjusting the volume up and so on). It’s 8:45am, and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for getting to Norris so early. Never mind that my appointment with Lenz was set for 8:30am. Fashionably late, as always, and thankfully, the good doctor never gives me grief about this. Your pal WunderGlo is a lot of things, but she is NOT a morning person.

8:50am - At Blood Draw, giving three vials of my Red Delicious. As I watched my blood leave my arm, I wondered when the next season of True Blood is set to start up. I got the rookie at the Blood Draw to take my blood, but she didn’t play like a rookie. The process was utterly painless. As in, if I wasn’t where I was with my arm stretched out and my fist clenched, I never would’ve known I was getting my blood taken. Definitely a great way to start my day at USC.

9:10am - Things continue to move swiftly and smoothly, as I’m called into the clinic room to await Dr. Lenz. I weighed in (at 132 pounds), had my blood pressure taken (121 over 71), and got my bi-weekly physical exam with Taline (no swelling anywhere, belly and lungs and heart sound tip-top). Minutes later, I spent some quality time with Dr. Lenz. We discussed my upcoming chemo and scan schedule and figuring out how it’ll all work with my upcoming trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii, and NYC. We also discussed the little procedure coming up in late June when I’ll get my port removed from my chest. The port doesn’t bother me too much, but I might get emotional upon knowing its out of my body. It’s a beautiful thought.

10:05am - The party continued, as I got called in from the large waiting room filled with cancer warriors to start chemo. My nurse was awesome, my bed was super comfy, and accessing the port (otherwise known as taking the big hooked needle and putting it in the ol’ port in my chest) was easy as pie. 

10:15am - By 10:15, it was Benadryl time, and I asked my nurse to push it through nice and slow and easy. She did, so the drowsiness, although hitting my like a pile of bricks, hit more like a very small pile of bricks. Getting knocked out by 50 milligrams of Benadryl is sometimes a little scary because I get so sleepy, so quickly. My hands start to feel sort of light, I start to feel a little dizzy, and my heart rate speeds up because I get a little weirded out by the process. But I remained pretty calm this time, curled up in some heated blankets, and chilled out.

11:30am - It took me a little while to fall asleep, but when I did, I slept soundly and peacefully.

1:00pm - I woke up with the overwhelming need to pee and eat. I took care of the first order of business, and, soon, was chowing down on some delicious food from Mendocino Farms delivered by Will. I ate a pretty decent amount of everything, mainly because it was truly delicious: curried orzo with cauliflower, potato salad, shells with avocado, and a peanut butter and banana wrap.

2:05pm -- As I realized that I wouldn’t be going back to sleep and was about half-way done with treatment, I decided that it was tea and cookie time. Had one of my mom’s delicious vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with some chamomile tea. Really trying to stay hydrated this time around for many reasons, least of which is trying to fend off the slow-down of my GI tract that seems to be happening during these last few rounds. Not being able to go number two as freely and fabulously as I usually do is a little annoying, but is really nothing to complain about, so I don’t. Instead, I’m going to try to give my body all the fluids it needs to make sure things run as close to clockwork as possible. I’m pretty sure nobody thinks about their bowel movements as much as I do.

4:45pm -- The lovely IV alarm goes off, indicating that I’m nearly done with my meds and ready to bounce.

4:56pm -- Chemo at Norris is officially finished. My nurse hooks me up to my bag o’ chemo, my mom throws on my shoes (hey, I only have another round of chemo left after this one -- why not milk it a little?), and I head out of the Day Hospital.

4:58pm -- I greet the day for the first time in several hours and patiently wait for the valet to bring us the car. Norris always makes me feel like a VIP -- the valet is a nice touch.

5:08pm -- I’m in the car, heading to my parents’ house. Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time at our loft downtown, but I like to have all three nurses with me during chemo weeks. This whole thing has been a group effort (although I prefer my parents’ and Will’s roles to mine), and it’s only right to spend these last couple of rounds together as a family and as a team. Plus, I like just bellowing, “Mom, Dad, Will, can one of you guys get me <insert food, drink, electronics, massage, TV remote here>” and knowing that I’ll be taken care of almost instantly. Yes, cancer treatment has turned me into a bit of a diva. I love them immensely and I’m fully appreciative, though! I told you I was a little spoiled.

6:05pm -- After a brief pit stop at Trader Joe's, I’m chillin’ on my parents couch, watching the NBA Playoffs. I’m watching these incredible athletes pour their heart and soul into the game and  dream of the day my port is out and I can play basketball the way I want to play, not the super-hesitant, “I don’t play defense or drive” way I’ve been playing with the port in my chest. It’s clearly a sound decision given the consequences of getting my port smacked or crushed during a rough play, but it doesn’t always sit well with me. I look forward to the day I can really play again. Until then, I’ll admire Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. And hope my Lakers come back better than ever next season.

7:15pm -- Dinner time! My appetite is still very much here, so I had some delicious Chinese food -- tofu and noodles and veggies. All vegan and containing no MSG, of course.

The rest of the night has been peaceful and relaxing. Just hanging out with my favorite three people (and Winston, too!), preserving my energy, and feeling so happy and grateful for my life.

I made it to Chemo Round 12. And how far I’ve come.

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