Sunday, September 28, 2008

Big News and Stuff


So I'm done the first week of my second cycle and they started me on those injection things to boost my immune system yesterday. As of last Thursday I was officially done over half of my overall chemo sessions! Just 9 more to go! :D

As for how I'm feeling, I think I've actually felt better this week than I did for the first week of chemo. Maybe it's just not as big of a shock to my body or maybe I'm just eating right and all that fun stuff. *shrugs*

Anyways, on to some big news pieces:

1. After truly thinking over the recovery time I would get with only ONE month in between chemo and the day I would have to be in Thailand, I realized that it would be pretty far fetched. One month is definitely not enough time to recover from the chemo AND travel halfway around the world to live there. I got an email from a Rotarian who was in charge of the Asian exchanges (I believe he's the guy who's overall in charge next year) and he said that the head of the Thai Rotary district would only be able to accept me until November 30th AND my exchange would still be finished around early August '09. He said I could try and make that OR I could just wait until next year's batch of exchange students and be able to go on a full year! Obviously in my situation, I would rather have the full year experience as opposed to a little over half a year.

So, I accepted the offer to go on exchange for NEXT year and in the meantime, I just gained myself 6-7 months time of recovery and rejuvenation! Of course, since it's a new year, I might be sent to a different country....we'll have to wait and see.

2. The other piece of big news is that I found out from someone who works at the London Cancer Clinic that I still qualify for the Make A Wish Foundation! Yup, having a late birthday is pretty cool after all. I assume I still have to be referred to them and have to go through some paperwork but I could soon have "one wish granted" by the foundation! I really don't know what I would wish for. All I can think of is "Grahh give me lotsa money" but that's kinda boring. I need some wish ideas...

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers, I'll definitely power through this and this WILL become an exchange blog in due time one way or the other :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

1 Week Delay?

Alright so here's the deal:

I went ALL the way to London today for the start of my second cycle. Since it's the start of a new cycle, I have to get extra blood tests and a visit with my medical oncologist before doing any chemo. Well, it turns out the neutrophil count in my blood is at 0.6 when it should be at a minimum of 1.5! Don't worry it's not like I die or anything, it's a very common side effect to the (very high) doses of chemo they're giving me. Anyways, my doctor said that they have to delay this week's treatment to next week after they give me some sort of stimulant that raises the neutrophil count. Yup, they inject me with stuff that stimulates my bone marrow to produce more (sounds intense I know!).

So basically I have this week off now. It's kinda bittersweet since that gives me one less week to recover in time for Thailand to still be viable. Which reminds me, I sent an emial out to the head of the Thai district's youth exchange program. He sent me an email back saying that he would be able to accept me for this year of exchange up until the end of November! That means that once my chemo is done (which is now even closer to the end of October), I'll have one month to recover enough to go. Now I know I'm strong annd young so I can recover faster but I was still concerned. I asked my doctor and she said that it shouldn't be a problem at all. "Sure you won't be completely recovered but you should be ready by that point."

It's still possible :D

I know I mentioned in my last post about considering taking up an instrument. Well, a friend of my parents was kind enough to lend their guitar to me! That should occupy me for awhile!

I also want to quickly mention something kinda cool. There's this show I love to watch called "The Conventioneers" about two guys based out of Toronto who go to health conventions, outdoor conventions, comic conventions, you name it and they, to put it in their words, "try to fit in by sticking out." Anyways, I sent an email to one of the hosts and he sent me an email back. A couple days later, I get a package in the mail with a letter, a "Bite TV" touque, and three Conventioneer buttons (two autographed)! Awesome (haha, I can STILL get buttons for my Rotary blazer :P)!! If you want to check the show out, you can see all the episodes at their Youtube account:

As always, thank you all for your support and I'll continue posting about my chemo experience (and soon, Thai experience!)

Fun Fact: When they started the chemo, one of the blood tests they do is to determine how high a certain cancer marker is in my system (and thus the severity of the cancer). It started out at 175 and after only one cycle, it's down to 20!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Since chemo has started...

...I've been doing pretty good.

The first week was killer though. Monday through Friday with 3 1/2 hours connected to an IV plus driving time (about an hour and a half to London) and back makes for a chemo-centric day. By the end of the week, my mom said I wasn't looking so great and I was supposedly looking thin too. They have me on anti-nausea meds so I haven't run into that. Chemo makes me want to go to bed early though. Every night that week, I was in bed some where between 8 and 9 and waking up each morning around 7 ish.

Then I had the weekend off and BOY WAS I BORED. Since I didn't plan to still be in Canada right now, I didn't plan much in my life. I don't have school, work, anything. I've been keeping myself occupied with the computer, TV, and video games basically. Sometime around Monday it got a little better though. I no longer had the feeling of "everything bores me" but I REALLY don't want that again. Anybody have any suggestions? I'm considering learning another language (i.e. Thai) or brushing up on my Japanese. Maybe learn a new musical instrument? I dunno.

Last week I only had Tuesday and that was really easy. The treatment only lasted about an hour and it was only one type of chemo (as opposed to the long week where everyday consisted of at least two kinds). Since then I've felt great and my appetite has returned back to normal. It was really nice to have a week off. I go in tomorrow for another treatment like last weeks so it should have similar results. The only thing I've been worried about is some pain in my underarm area (which has lymph nodes in it). Hopefully it's nothing more than my body dealing with extra toxins :) EDIT: Turns out my worries were only worries. A doctor examined the area and said he found nothing except for the fact that the muscles in that area were tight

PS. Yesterday was the first day that I noticed some hair strands around where I've been. Yup, the hair loss has BEGUN MUHAHAHA

Also, thanks to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers :)