An Idea List and Other Things

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Not much has changed since my last post, but I felt like writing (aka avoiding my homework), so here we are!

I was recently asked what I would suggest a friend put in a chemo bag for someone she knew. I figured I would post my list here as well so others may find it helpful! I will say it definitely has a feminine influence (I mean I wrote it), but I am sure guys would like similar things!

Chemo Suggestion List (in no particular order):

1. Chapstick- my lips got SO chapped! I never experienced super dry skin, but my lips definitely got dry. I typically use Burt's Bees, but have found Blistex and Softlips to be good as well!

2. Some nice face wipes- When I was too tired to shower or take a bath, I liked to wipe down with some nice smelling face wipes. I also really liked to use them in the hospital to help freshen me up! Make sure they aren't makeup remover wipes...most brands have some that are more cleansing! I used the Say Yes to....brand. I like the blueberry! 

3. Evian Mineral Water facial spray- This was a new product I discovered! I know it sounds like a rip off, but it really made my face feel clean and soft! I also would use this as a body spray in the hospital or if I was too weak to shower. Anything that helps one feel clean in that situation is good! A little goes a long way too...I have had mine since the summer and it is still not empty! Also this could be useful to non chemo people is a nice little refresher and it won't mess up your makeup! I found mine at is what the bottle looks like: 

4. Mints, Jolly Ranchers, or other hard candies- Sometimes chemo can taste bad going in or leave a funny taste in your mouth. We learned quickly to keep some Jolly Ranchers on hand after Methotrexate! 

5. Some nice stuff for the bath- I took a lot of baths because I was too weak to stand and shower (also because of my leg surgery). I had purchased some bath bombs and bath bars from Lush that made the bath so much nicer! I do not love baths, so it helped to have some stuff to make me like them! I also got a bath pillow off Amazon that suctioned to the tub that helped make baths more comfortable. I always love Bath and Body Works body gel and use that to make the bath water smell good!

6. Some body spray- I mentioned before that I did not use my good perfume during treatment. I did not want to ruin my favorite ones with bad memories! I went to Bath and Body Works and bought a few little body sprays in random scents to use in the mean time. 

7. Some fun cups- you are supposed to stay SUPER hydrated so I always had a cup with me. I found several cute ones at Target that had a rubbery straw that was easier to use when I had mouth sores. I do not know the brand, but I would recommend them for sure! You can find cute cups of all kinds almost anywhere! 

8. Sleep mask- I got one of these for my birthday, but how I wish I had gotten one sooner! I like to sleep in the dark, and this would have been SO helpful, especially in the hospital. It would also have come in handy for sleep a lot during chemo and a mask would be helpful for all the naps during the day! 

9. Fuzzy blankets or nice sheets -I LOVE blankets..probably because my house is always cold. You typically spend a lot more time in bed than usual, so I loved to have fuzzy blankets to snuggle under and some clean sheets! There is nothing better than clean sheets. I got 2 new sets during chemo since I spent so much time in cheered me up (plus my other sheets were quite old). 

10. Tote bags- I received one that said "kicking cancer's @$$" and I LOVED it! I used it as my main chemo bag. Whether packing to go spend the day at the Cancer Center or to go to the hospital, you can never have too many bags!

11. Of course, magazines (maybe a subscription?), fuzzy socks, cute hair bands, hand sanitizer, nail polish, movies, candles, etc are always good options too!

I would love to hear if anyone else has any other suggestions! I hope my list can be helpful. If I can ever be of more help message me on FB or let me know somehow!

In other news, life is good! I have had a cough/sore throat thing all week, so I haven't felt 100% but hopefully I can kick it soon! It is nice to not be freaking out about fevers or going to the hospital! It doesn't get worse, but I may go to the doctor next week if it doesn't seem to go away!

I have been keeping busy at the school and with babysitting! I am enjoying this weekend with nothing to do (besides homework). It is extremely cold so I am just fine with staying inside!

In fun news, I got a new car this past Monday! We had kind of been talking about it for awhile and then last week we went to look. I loved my first car, but it was very basic and had some bad memories associated with it. I am so thankful my dad was able to get a GREAT deal on a new car and am ready to make new memories with it! I never got a good picture of it, but here is what my dad sent me when he got it. It is a Hyundai Elantra GT (another hatchback!) and it is so cute! Plus it has some really cool features (obsessed with SirusXM radio). 

I have eyebrows and eyelashes again!!! I am SO HAPPY to have my eyebrows back! I also started wearing mascara this past lashes are not full grown yet, but am SO glad to be able to wear mascara again (it is always my go to makeup product!). My had is still fuzzy and I actually had someone ask if I had cancer or if I cut my hair like that the other day (the person asking turned out to be another survivor). I don't think my hair looks on purpose, but it is cool other people may think so! It has allowed me to have some neat interactions with people when out, so that is a bright side. 

I don't have much else to report! I have some schoolwork to do, but my class ends this month so it will be nice to not have to worry about schoolwork for a little! 

I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays warm!

Life Post Chemo (One Month)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It has been awhile since I posted an update, so here we update about life a little over a month post chemo!

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for me! A good busy though, and I am thankful to once again be leaving the house and getting to go places!

We had a little snowstorm last almost two weeks ago. We got ice and some snow, which was fun. I love snow days and I totally embraced them! I stayed inside and baked. I took Stanley out in the snow and he LOVED it! Not surprising, as the dog seems to love everything, but it was so cute! It is gonna be 67 tomorrow, so we will see if we get anymore winter weather this year!

I have been keeping busy!! I have been doing tons of errands. I am happy to say that I have reestablished my presence at Target. I have cleaned my room and gotten it back to how it "should" be. I did have to go get a new comforter as we had taken mine off and when I went to put it back on, it did not look nice. I know it is risky to have a white comforter, but I love it! I like my new one even better so all is well. It is nice to feel like my room is mine again and not my sick room!

I have been spending LOTS of time in the 2nd grade class! I love it and it makes me so excited for the future. I am not getting credit for school, but I do have to complete a project for my children's lit class. I forgot how exhausting it is to wake up early and jump into action! I love having a reason to get up and get dressed though. Plus, I am done by 2 so I still have a day once I finish. It is so much fun to be around kids again! I was worried about how they would react to my hair, but the kids have been so sweet. Everyone has really. I am thankful to have the opportunity to do this! It is such good experience and will definitely look good, even if I do not get credit for completing a practicum.

Speaking of my hair, it is coming in! I put on my shorts for PT the other day and it occurred to me that I should probably shave my legs..I haven't shaved since my surgery in August. I hate it, but it is one of those normal things I am happy to have back. My head is super fuzzy and you can definitely see it. I am waiting for coverage and cannot wait till you cannot see my scalp! I also have baby eyebrows and eye lashes!! PRAISE! I cannot WAIT till they are back full time. It is exciting to see it all come in! I have even started using conditioner in the shower!

I apologize for the super awkward pictures, but I wanted to illustrate haha! 

I also babysat for the first time since the summer last night! It is exciting to be at the point where not only can I take care of myself, I can now also take care of other people! I have missed it. I remember wondering if I would ever get back to that, and I am so happy to say I have.

I am still doing PT 2 to 3 times a week. I can see the improvements. I am walking so much better! Not 100%, but we are getting there. My leg hurts if I am on it all day, which I have been lately, but it is not gonna get better without some pain! I do look forward to the day my leg feels "normal" again. I know it will happen eventually!

Other than PT, I have stayed out of doctors offices! It is so weird, but nice, to not being at the doctors once a week. I did get my port flushed and my lupron injection last week. I do not think I will be back 
at the Cancer Center till the end of the month for my next flush and shot! 

I had an awesome 21st! My mom and I went out to brunch on Friday, where I had my first legal drink (a mimosa!). We did some shopping, then my family and I went to a fancy dinner that night. We splurged and ate and it was SO good! I tried wine and a cordial, but was not a fan of either. I may be the lamest 21 year old ever! I do plan to keep trying things though, I will acquire the taste!

Saturday, I knew one of my best friends was picking me up for dinner. She and I had made plans like earlier that week. What I did not know was that two of my other best friends had come home from Columbia to surprise me!! I walked into the restaurant and they were already at the booth! I am not often surprised (I am nosy), but I literally almost cried. We missed my other best friend who is in Scotland studying abroad. It was a lovely night and I was SOOOOOOOOO happy to get to celebrate with my friends. I had been so bummed about not seeing them and it meant the world that they drove up to celebrate! We enjoyed dinner then went to the Melting Pot for dessert. I am so unbelievably thankful for my friends! 

I believe I mentioned the drama with my license on my last post. Well, it turns out they cannot renew it because my eye exam is out of date. When we mailed the paperwork to renew it in the first time (back in December!), it was not. My chemo doctor told me not to get an eye exam until later this spring because chemo can mess with your eye site (it relaxes muscles or something). Problem is, insurance only covers one eye exam a year, so needless to say, this is quite an ordeal. We are hoping the eye doctor can do something that is not a full exam, just to satisfy the DMV. I personally find this ridiculous. I cannot be the only person who has had an issue like this! Nothing can ever just be easy! I am thankful, however, that this is now my biggest problem!

So, all in all, things are good. I feel great and am going and doing. I do get tired a bit more easily, so I sleep really well at night. I love bedtime! 

Life is resuming a version of normal and I am so thankful. Sometimes I read over old posts and am amazed at how far I have managed to come. I am so thankful! Life is not perfect, but it is good and I will never take it for granted again! I will say it is frustrating to feel so good, because I feel like I may overdo it some days. I want to go and do so much, but I have to pull back and remember that I still have recovering to do. It is all about balance and I am working to find what that means for me. 

The boys!

New bedding! No longer a "sick" bed

Birthday Pictures 2016!

first legal drink with friends!

Stanley and I took a trip to Petsmart to get him some low-fat food! The vet was not happy with his weight gain...I think he is perfect :). He loved the pet store, he was just mad I made him stay in the cart!

First legal drink!

I do not think this is a gross picture, but I thought I would post a picture of my scar, for documentation sake. I have shown people and they are surprised by how long it is! I do not love it and it will be interesting to see how it affects me once shorts are back in, but it could be so much worse so I will take it! It really doesn't look bad considering what was done!